I have been making socks from Simple Socks; Plain & Fancy for the past 3 years. It takes a lot for me to try another sock. I enjoy that the book gives you the tools to make a sock by remembering a couple of numbers & knitting a tube. I don't have any issues with Heel Flaps, but it's a lot to remember for me. The toe & heels are worked the same way. Once I've figured my gauge and pulled out the calculator, I'm ready to start knitting perfect fitting socks.
I knit alone. When I started my first PGR socks, I had a ton of issues. I didn't understand the YO method for the purl side. I had no clue where to knit to and or when to stop. I couldn't find a good web tutorial. A couple weeks ago, Ava called with some of my same concerns. I thought I'd try to photograph a couple of the stumbling blocks. I'll won't be giving numbers because that'd be wrong, but here are some tips in working the PGR method.
Since there are lots of yarnovers, this is an important tip to decrease holes along the side of your toe. Knit side YOs are done the regular way, yarn in front of the needle. PGR recommends that you do you a YO on the purl side differently. This really screwed up the first time since I thought that I was doing a purl YO correctly. She says to start with the yarn in back and make a purl stitch. I only found out later that you make a YO for a purl stitch by wrapping the yarn around the needle, yarn in front of needle, and make the purl stitch. Like I said before, I knit alone.
There are 2 parts of a PGR toe/heel. The first part creates the short-row triangle. The second part will create the pocket. OK, let's learn the most important player. Find the Stitch/YOs Combo & learn to tell the difference between it & a plain stitch. The first part of the Combo is the stitch. The second part is the YO it leans, but recognize both as the Combo. Spread the fabric apart if you are having a hard time noticing a regular stitch from the stitch/YO Combo. The picture below features 5 Combos.
During the first part of creating the toe/heel, you will knit to the Combo. Refer to the picture, I will purl the next stitch and then turn the work. During the first part, never knit from the Combo.
Continue in this manner, knitting/purling to the stitch before the Combo. The book will tell you the exact time to move onto the Second step of the toe. 14 stitches is what I need to move to the the Second part of the toe.
This is where you will begin to separate the Combos. If you CO an even number of stitches, the side to begin the pocket will start with the Knit side. The Combos are circled. YO and knit a couple of stitches, count the stitch from the Combo & all the stitches between. 14.
On this side only, you will only knit the stitch of the Combo then flip your work. You've broken up a stitch Combo. YO, purl up and consume the stitch from the Combo. The next stitch will be the YO from the combo. Work the next step according to the directions in the book. Turn, YO & knit. Knit the stitch from the Combo. You will now have 2 YOs.
In the above picture, the first two loops are YOs and the 3rd stitch is the first stitch of a Combo. On the second part of the sock, after you knit/purl the stitch from the Combo, you will always work the following 2 YOs and the stitch from the next Combo; 3 stitches are always consumed from this point.
Do the same on the Purl side. Continue YO-ing & flipping until all Combos have been eaten up and you have a cute little toe pocket. The very last turn of the work will be a knit side and the pocket is finished. Rip the waste yarn, and get knitting!
Obviously, there are lots of steps in between what I've described; I guess I didn't give you a tutorial as much as a post full of tips. I wanted to provide an a reference of the things that I found difficult to understand. I was used to wrapping short-row stitches, and the PGR method just wasn't making sense the first couple times I read it. If you like making socks, I strongly encourage everyone to purchase this book. It is my most worn & used knitting book. Yesterday, Jen left in the comments that in the newest IK there is going to be a PGR tutorial. That should help with anything that I've left out or didn't explain properly.
Hope it helps. Any questions, please let me know.