Knitting Socks


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I have been knitting a bit more regularly than I have in the past several years. Last month I decided to knit some socks as a gift for my sister-in-law and after finishing that pair, I made another and I'm now on my third pair. So far all the socks have been gifted, but eventually I will make myself a pair!

I think socks are pretty simple to make and go rather quickly, as long as you keep your knitting out at all times so you can continue working on them whenever you have a few spare moments!  Socks are pretty easy, but it may take knitting a pair before you start to visualize how they go together. I have referenced several patterns and compiled instructions using what I have gathered. I will try to include as much information as I can and will also link to the patterns I have used at the bottom of the page. 

Are you a loose knitter?

I am a bit of a loose knitter, so I tend to go down one to two needle sizes. Since I was taught the continental (link to video) method of knitting (holding the yarn with my left hand and "scooping" the yarn to make a stitch with the needle in my right hand) tension can, at times, be tricky for me. I'm getting much better at the tension now that I have been knitting more regularly, but it definitely helps to knit up a small swatch before starting a new project. 

Compile your materials.

If you don't know how your tension is, you might want to get several double point needles between the sizes of 0 to 2. I used size 1 for the socks shown in this post, but I have noticed most sock patterns will tell you to use size 2. You also have the option of using a small 9"-12" circular needle, but you would have to have a matching pair of double point needles to work the heel and foot portion of the socks. I tried the 9" circular needle in size 0 and it made my hands cramp up pretty badly, so that didn't work well for me. Perhaps I would have done better with the 12" circular than the 9". I'd love to learn to knit a pair of socks at once ("magic loop" method) with a long circular needle, but for now I'm quite happy sticking with my double points. I also like using double point needles because they automatically divide your work so you don't (at least I don't) find it necessary to use stitch markers, making things less complicated. 

A note about yarn:

Don't forget to find a nice sock (fingering weight) yarn. Remember if you plan to wash your knitted socks in a washing machine and use a dryer, be sure to check the yarn's laundering instructions before purchasing. Many sock yarns will be made with a blend of fibers so they are easy to launder and also wear better. Right now my particular favorite yarn is called "Hawthorne Sock Yarn" by Knit Picks. I also used Knit Picks' "Stroll" yarn, but I really love the feel of Hawthorne much better. 

How many stitches to cast on?

Next you want to figure out how big to make your socks. Most women's sock patterns will have you cast on between 60-64 stitches for sizes 7-9. I usually wear size 8.5 shoes or between 38-39 European shoe size, and the 60 cast on stitches fit me very well. It makes for a tighter fit, but I think it's nice to have a snug pair of socks rather than making them too big. If you have wider feet, you may want to cast on a few more stitches, but make sure they are an even number. I haven't made a men's pair yet, but I believe casting on 72 stitches would fit a men's size 10 or larger. As far as the length of your foot goes, you can measure how long your foot is and then subtract 2" for the toe. This is how long you will knit the foot portion (measuring from the heel) before beginning the toe decreases. We will get into that more later on.

Basic Sock Pattern


  • 4-5 double point needles in either size 0, 1 or size 2, depending on your gauge.
  • 100 grams of sock yarn (more or less)
  • Tapestry needle  


I used size 1 double point knitting needles to make the socks pictured here and my stitches were about 8-9 stitches per inch. 


Women's Small/Medium (60 sts cast on) or Women's Medium/Large (64 sts cast on)

Cast On

Cast on 60 (64) stitches onto a slightly larger needle or two double point needles. Divide the stitches, scooping them (purlwise) off of the larger needle and onto your double point needles, using three double point needles and dividing stitches as follows: 20-20-20 (22-20-22) and join your work to begin working knitting the rib pattern in the round (being careful not to "twist" your stitches). You can use either of the following rib knit pattern:


*K2, P2* - knitting this pattern continuously around and around until you have a 2" cuff. 


*K1, P1* - knitting this pattern continuously around and around until you have a 2" cuff. 


Begin knitting around and around until you reach your leg's desired length (6.5" is a nice length). 

Heel Flap

You want to divide your stitches in half and work the heel flap on half of the stitches. 

First row: (Right side) *Slip 1, K1* continue to slip 1, knit 1 until all 30 (32) stitches are on your needle. Remember when slipping the stitch, slip it PURLwise. (Disregard the other 30 (32) stitches for now, concentrating only on the heel flap stitches.) 

Now you will turn your work and knit on the wrong side:

Second row: (Wrong side) *Slip 1, P29 (P31)*

Repeat these two rows until the heel flap measures approximately 2 inches. If you want to be exact, count how many rows you knit and write down the number somewhere so you know how many rows to knit for your matching sock.

Turn Heel

Row 1: Sl1, P16 (P17), P2tog, P1, turn
Row 2: Sl1, K5, SSK, K1, turn
Row 3: Sl1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 4: Sl1, K7, SSK, K1, turn

Continue this pattern increasing one stitch (K or P) until all your stitches are used. You will hopefully eventually start to see what you are doing without counting, and will get faster at this. 

Shape Gusset

Knit across heel stitches if you aren't already on the left hand side of the heel. At this point you will start picking up the stitches that you had slipped (Sl1) when working the heel flap. Depending on how long of the heel flap you made, you will have more or less stitches to pick up (anywhere from 16-19 stitches). Make a note how many stitches you picked on on the left side of the heel flap. Now using a different needle, knit across all 30 (32) stitches that were waiting for you. I like to call these stitches the "top-of-the-foot sts". I like to keep them together on one needle, but feel free to divide the stitches on two needles if you find that necessary. Now you will come to the other side of the heel flap and remember to pick up the same number of stitches as you picked up for the left side. Continue knitting the remaining heel stitches until you reach the center/back of the heel, essentially dividing the heel and gusset stitches between two needles. So you should have one needle containing half of the foot ("top-of-the-foot sts") and two needles dividing the remaining stitches. 

The gusset is basically worked so that you are decreasing each gusset by 1 stitch (2 stitches total) every other row. Follow the pattern below until you reach your original number of stitches 60 (64).

Round 1
  • Needle #1: Knit to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
  • Needle #2 (remember these are the 30 (32) top-of-the-foot stitches): Knit all stitches
  • Needle #3: K1, SSK, knit to end (2 sts decreased)
Round 2:
  • Needle #1, #2, #3: Knit all stitches
Repeat Round 1 and Round 2 until 60 (64) stitches remain. 


Knit around and around until you reach desired length of foot, minus 2". 

Here is a guide for most common women's sizes and how long to knit the foot measuring from the heel and before you start to decrease for the toe (the toe decreases will add on approximately 2" to the total length):

US7 (EU38) = 7 1/4"
US8 (EU39) = 7 5/8"
US9 (EU40) = 8"


Round 1:
  • Needle #1: Knit to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
  • Needle #2: K1, SSK, Knit to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1
  • Needle #3: K1, SSK, Knit to end (4 sts decreased)
Round 2: Knit all stitches

Repeat Round 1 and Round 2 until you have 28 stitches left. Knit stitches so they are equally divided between two needles, 14 stitches on each needle. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail approximately 20" to work the kitchener stitch (link to video). Weave in ends (link to video) and start your second sock right away!

Sources and Instruction Videos

Sock Patterns
I have looked through many sock patterns, but the ones I have found the most helpful is the Striped Crew Socks pattern by Purl Soho and the Basic 4ply Sock Pattern by Winwick Mum. She has a handy PDF pattern that you can download here
I used Knit Picks Hawthorne sock yarn in the color "Nob Hill" as well as Stroll sock yarn in the color "Shale". Both are lovely, but Hawthorne is definitely my favorite!

Instruction Videos:
Basic video on weaving in ends.
How to weave in ends in ribbing.
Knitting the kitchener stitch.

Note: If you find any errors in my instructions, please do let me know. Thank you! 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of sales if you make a purchase using these links. However, the items featured in this post were purchased by me and I was not paid to write this review/tutorial. All opinions are my own.  


  1. Thank you for the lovely tutorial. The socks you made look beautiful! I really enjoy knitting socks as well, although I haven't made any recently. Have you ever knit toe up? I haven't yet, but it's on my to-do list! The tonal yarns you used are very pretty!

    1. I hope this tutorial is helpful. Thank you for your comment! :) I haven't tried toe-up socks yet, but it would be interesting to see how different they would be. :)

  2. These socks are so beautiful, the light blue-grey color especially is just gorgeous!!

  3. I'm doing a pair at a time. Two sets of dpn and two balls of yarn.

    I can also just use two circular needles and do one sock on each.

    Same idea. Work a few rows on sock one, a few rows on sock two and both are finished at about the same time. Works for me.