So here we go. I'm going to start with my favourite ways to cast on loosely.
I have to admit I take a departure from Brenda on the number of needles used. I like using 4 needles and knitting with the 5th needle. So I would work my cast-on stitches onto 4 needles and join in a circle. Now I would work my ribbing for as long as I like.
You can pick up Need A Sock from http://www.cabinfever.ca/ or http://www.patternfish.com/ or http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/need-a-sock .