Oh, toe up is not so scary. Well, I guess anything can be scary until you try it, but it's not hard, really.
Anyway, a very popular pattern, esp for variegated or self-striping yarn, is the jaywalkers pattern. http://www.magknits.com/Sept05/patterns/jaywalker.htm
It's not too hard, the colors don't take away from the patterning, and it looks cool. The only thing is there are some sizing issues. for example, I made the larger sock, requiring 84 sts, and it fits. I normally make a sock with 60 sts.