Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,
After years of knitting socks using various techniques / patterns / types of needles, I think I've finally assembled a combination of elements into a basic pattern that I will refer to as my "Winner." These techniques are probably familiar to most sock knitters who are experienced knitting socks from the toe up; I am just publishing this combination of techniques in this post so that I can refer to it in the future (row counts, number of stitches to cast on to fit my foot, etc), and in case it might be helpful to any of you. This is rough, and does not include every single detail, but hopefully you get the idea of my standard cobbled together sock pattern from it. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have questions regarding any additional details.
These socks are knit using the "magic loop" technique. Note that I actually prefer using double pointed needles (dpn's) to knit socks, though practically speaking, socks are the easiest thing for me to "take-along" to my kids' activities and warrant preventive strategies such as using one really long circular needle instead of five tiny little pointy sticks... (We're *all* familiar with bleachers at a baseball diamond, right? -- No good can come from dropping a dpn while sitting in the bleachers!)
Using a size one 47" circular needle, begin with a Turkish cast-on as given in this excellent tutorial - cast on 36 stitches (there will be 18 stitches on each needle). (Note that the tutorial shows one bamboo needle and one metal needle; for these socks, just hold both ends of the long circular needle together as the yarn is wrapped around the needles to cast on the stitches...)
Row 1: Knit one round.
Row 2: *K1, M1B (by performing M1 by picking up stitch from back to front), knit to one stitch before end of first needle, M1F (by performing M1 by picking up stitch by inserting needle from front to back), K1*; repeat once.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until there are 72 stitches total (36 stitches on each needle).
Foot section pattern: Knit 36 stitches (all of the stitches on the first needle); on second needle K3, P2, *K2 P2* seven times, K3. This completes one round.
Repeat "Foot section pattern" until 75 rounds have been completed, or until foot of sock is desired length minus 2.25 inches.
Work short row heel using yarn-over method, as given in Interweave Knits Summer 2007 magazine. If you don't have access to this magazine, there are some online tutorials which don't spell things out quite as nicely, but which utilize the YO technique for doing short rows and may suffice. I like this tutorial in particular, though there are several out there (search on "yarn over short row heel"). Work the first half of the heel (increasing section) until there are 14 unpaired stitches on the middle of the needle. If everything has worked out properly, there will be 14 unpaired stitches after working a right side row; after working this row, do *not* turn work. Begin working second half of heel (decreasing section) as given in directions for YO short row technique...
After the heel is worked, return to working "Foot section pattern" for 14 rows. On next row, switch to standard 2x2 ribbing for the rest of the sock. Work 75 rows total of 2x2 ribbing, or until desired length has been achieved. Bind off using Russian Bind-off.
Make second sock to match.