by Jeanne Hoffman

This is a basic pattern which can be used with any yarn. All you need to do is make a gauge swatch first of the yarn you want to use. Ideally for handknit socks, you want the fabric to be very dense, which means you will use a smaller needle than the size recommended on the yarn band, and get more stitches to the inch. Using double-pointed needles, make a 4” square swatch.

Gauge swatch: ______sts = 1” in stockinette

______rows = 1”


Needle size: ______________________


Unless the socks will be worn over other socks, measure a bare foot.

Measure around the widest part of the foot (where ball of foot is) for circumference: ____________

Have your future sockwearer stand on an unbreakable ruler. Place another straight edge vertically at the back of the heel. The straight edge should be at “0” on the ruler. Measure from the back of the heel to the end of the toes for length:______”

            Circumference X stitch gauge = ___________sts.

            Note: Number of sts divisible by 4 is convenient, because of the ribbing and toe shaping.


Loosely cast on the number of sts as calculated immediately above. Join and work in K2, P2 ribbing for _______”. (6” to 7” relaxed for women; 8” to 9” relaxed for men.)

Shape heel:

Knit ½ of total sts onto 1 needle: ______sts. Divide the remaining sts for the instep evenly on 2 needles, but do not knit them. Work the heel flap back and forth in St st for desired length (3” to 3 ½”) ____,slipping the first st on each row.

Elizabeth Zimmermann’s braided edging for heel flap         (This technique facilitates counting rows.)

            RS: Sl 1 kw, K to end of row.

            WS: Sl 1 pw, K 2, P to last 3 sts, K2, end P1.

End with a purl row, ready to knit the next row.


Turn heel:

RS (Row 1): Sl first st pw, then knit halfway across row, SSK, K1. Stop and turn, ready to purl.

WS (Row 2): Sl first st pw, P1, P2 tog, P1. Stop and turn, ready to knit.

RS (Row 3): Sl 1 pw, K3, SSK, K1.

WS (Row 4): Sl 1 pw, P5, P2 tog, P1

Continue as established, increasing by 2 sts on each row the number of sts knit on RS, and purled on WS. End with a purl row.

If the number of sts on the heel flap is not divisible by 3:

            -for 2 sts left, make one more circuit back and forth

            -for 1 st left, add K1 at end of RS row, and P1 at end of WS row.

When done, the number of sts remaining should be 2/3 of the original number of sts for heel flap. ______sts remaining.

Instep Gusset:

Knit across the heel flap sts, then pick up 1 st for each slipped st along the edge of the flap plus 1 st in the gap, inserting your needle or crochet hook back to front so that it twists the “gap”. This will prevent a hole. Usually, the number of sts picked up is 2 more sts than the number of ridges in the braided edging of the heel flap. ______sts picked up along heel flap.

Knit instep sts onto one needle.

Using another needle, pick up the same number of sts on the other edge of the heel flap, and knit half of the heel sts onto the same needle. Slide the remaining half of the heel sts onto needle #1. Rounds will now begin and end in the middle of the heel/bottom of the foot.

Knit one round even.

Gusset Decreases:

Round 1: Needle #1 - K to last 3 sts, then K2 tog, K1

              Needle #2 -  K across

              Needle #3 -  K1, SSK, K across.

Round 2: K around.

Repeat these two rounds until the number of sts is down to the original number cast on.


            Needle #1: ______sts Needle #2: ______sts Needle #3: ______sts

Note: At this point, I start knitting with a 5th dpn, having the stitches evenly distributed on 4 dpn’s. I’ve found this to minimize the “ladder effect”. When I start the toe shaping, I go back to knitting on only 4 dpn’s again.

Knit 1 ½”, then check row gauge: ______rows = 1”.

Calculate how many rounds you will need to knit to decrease 4 sts every other round, down to 1/3 of the sts.

Using a ruler, measure the sock flat from the back of the heel about ½” to 1” above the bottom, to determine how many rounds to knit before beginning toe decreases.

Length of sock: ______” minus length for toe decreases ______” = length to begin decreases _____”

Toe Decreases:

Round 1: Needle #1 = ¼ of total sts. Knit to last 3 sts, K2 tog, K1

               Needle #2 = instep sts, ½ of total sts. K1, SSK,K to last 3 sts, K2 tog, K1

               Needle #3 = ¼ of total sts. K1, SSK, knit across.

Round 2: Knit around even.

Repeat these 2 rounds, until the number of sts is down to 1/3 of the original number. ______sts. Knit needle #1 sts onto needle #3.

Graft (Kitchener stitch, weave) toe end together. Weave in yarn ends.

Weave in yarn end from cast-on.

Wear proudly!