Crochet 101: Toe Up Socks

Now that you know more than you EVER wanted to know about crochet socks, let’s actually make a pair or two!

Over the next two posts, I’m going to cover two methods of making socks so that you’ll have a basic pattern to fall back on no matter what you end up preferring for style. I am also going to do these patterns a little different than a traditional crochet pattern. I will tell you how to measure your sock rather than exactly how many stitches you will need (though I will share with you the amount I have for my socks) so that you can easily adjust this pattern to whatever size your foot is and you’re not stuck making a ladies 9-10 (which is the size I’ll be making).  I’ll also include the “short version” at the end of the post, so those of you who just need the pattern can skip my verbose instructions.

For this pattern, you will need:

crochet socks you will need

  • 1 Skein Sport weight (3) yarn any brand, fiber, and color (about 275 yards)**
  • 1 size US F-5 (3.75 mm) hook**
  • Split ring markers, locking stitch markers, OR safety pins (at LEAST 2)
  • A measuring tape

**GAUGE NOTE: Because this pattern is using measurements rather than stitches, it doesn’t matter what weight yarn you use or what hook you use as long as you are matching the measurements. I have listed here what I am using for this project.

Toe Up Socks

Before you pick up your hook, grab your tape measure. Measure across the tips of your toe from your big toe to your little toe (my toes measured about 4 inches). Divide that measurement in half (mine is 2 inches) and make a chain that is about the same length as the divided measurement (ch 10) and then chain 2 more, this will count as your first single crochet.

Now, flip the chain over so you can see the “bumps” that are the back of the chain (pardon my poor drawing).

work the bumps

Single crochet across the back of the chain, working in the “bumps.” You should have the same amount of single crochets as you had chains before you added 2 more (10 sc). Ch 1 to turn the round and place a marker (or safety pin) in your chain 1 to mark the side of your sock.

sc across place marker toe

Work single crochets across the tops of your chain (10 sc), remember your first sc in this set will effectively be worked in the same space as your LAST sc from the previous set. Don’t forget to work your single crochets OVER the tail of your slip knot so you don’t have to worry about tucking that tail later. Ch 1 and slip stitch into the top of the ch 2. Place a marker in the ch 1 you just made (it may help to use a different color marker here so you know where the round begins).

sc tops place marker 2

Pull out that measure tape again, and measure from the tip of your big toe to the top of the big joint (about where the ball of your foot begins). This will be how long you need to make the toe on your sock.

Increase round: ch 2 (counts as 1st sc) sc across all scs. In ch 1 sp work sc, ch1, sc. Sc across all scs, in ch 1 sp work sc, ch 1, sc, sc in remaining sc(s), sl st into ch 2 to join.

For child and adult socks, alternate the increase round and ch 2,  sc across, ch1, sc across ch 1, sc in remaining sc(s), sl st into ch 2 to join round. STOP when the rounds measure the same as your toe measurement from the foundation chain to the edge of work (about 2 inches or 10 rows in my case).

The toe will curl up as you work, don’t worry. It’s supposed to do that. As you work, don’t forget to move your markers every time you do an increase round to keep them in the ch 1 space.

Time to grab the measuring tape again. This time measure from the top of the ball of your foot (where the last measurement ended) to the end of the arch. It may help to imagine your heel as a circle right about the top of that circle is where you’ll want to stop. For most adults, this will leave about 2.5 inches of heel left over.

Now that we’re measured, work the foot even (sc in each st around join with a sl st) for the length of your measurement (40 sc and about 5 inches or 25 rows for me). It is best at this point to leave one marker where it is (so you can measure your work) and move one along with you as you work. You can just work even without moving your markers, but we WILL need to move them later. If you get impatient, or don’t want to pull the measuring tape during this part, you should now be able to slip the sock onto your foot to measure how close to done you are. Remember to stop when you’re 2.5 inches from the back of your heel like so (due to the shallow angle of the shot, it looks like my heel is closer to 3 inches, but I promise, it’s 2.5):

finished foot

Once you’re there, you should be ready to start the heel of your sock. There are several methods to making a heel, I’m going to show you a mildly structured version here so that you have the experience with it. If you get frustrated, or don’t like it, you can just continue working the sock even from here and make a tube sock (which conveniently make great sock puppets as well).

To start, we’re going to move our markers. ch 2, Place one marker in the second chain of your chain 2 and sc halfway around (20 sc) then stop.  You won’t need the second marker for a bit, so you can either leave it in the toe or just take it out till we need it again.

Measure the height of your heel, from the flat of your foot to where it starts to curve at your Achilles tendon or just below the Medial Malleolus (the bone that sticks out on the outside of some ankles), usually this will be about 2 inches for adults. Picking back up the crochet part, ch 2 and work even across the short row until the short rows measure the same as the height of your heel (2 inches or 10 rows).

Now it’s time to start shaping the heel. Ch 2 and work across to the last inch (5 sts) of the row [short row 1].

one inch'

Ch 2 turn and work back across to the last inch (5 sts) of the row [short row 2], leaving the ends of both of these unworked. It will be VERY important that you have the SAME number of stitches on both sides of these rows, so if you need to fudge a little and do a single crochet decrease (sc 2 tog), please do.

If you don’t know how to do a single crochet decrease (it occurs to me, I haven’t actually covered that yet), here’s how:

Ok, we’re ready to start picking up stitches and properly turning the heel now. We’re also ready to get to the weird stitches. We’ll be doing a version of the decrease I just showed you, but rather than picking up loops through two scs, we’ll be picking up a loop from the last sc on the row we’re working, the SIDE of that same stitch, and a sc on short row 1 or 2 depending on which direction you’re going. I’m going to abbreviate this sc 3 tog for this pattern,  but it’s not a TRUE sc 3 tog.

So, ch 2 and work across the short row you just made, stopping at the last stitch in the row. Sc 3 tog as described above and shown here:

ch 2, turn your row and work across to the last stitch, sc 3 tog and repeat that until you have picked up all the stitches on short rows 1 and 2. When you’re done, you should have a nicely shaped heel and most of a sock.

heel done

Now it’s time to grab the markers again and start picking up the gusset stitches. Ch 2 and do NOT turn. You’re going to be working in the side of your heel flap rows now. Notice the edge of the rows alternate in “highs” and “lows?”

highs and lows

You’ll work one sc in each high and each low across the heel flap. When you get to the corner where the foot and gusset meet, you may need to do a sc 2 tog or add an extra sc to help cross the gap and keep holes from forming (13 sc). Once you get to the foot, work 1 sc in each sc across. When you get to the corner, you may need to do another sc 2 tog to close the corner gap. Place a marker in the first and last stitch you work on the foot. Working the other side of the heel flap, pick up the same amount of stitches as you did before (13 sc). Work even across the back of the heel and join the round with a sl st and you have the beginning of your gusset.

The rest of the gusset is easy, work the next round even until you get to two stitches before the first marker, sc 2 tog, work even across the foot, after the next marker, sc 2 tog, work even to the end of the round and join. Then, work one round even. Keep repeating those two rounds until you have the same amount of stitches as you had for working the foot (40 sc). Don’t forget to move your markers as you decrease so you don’t lose your place.

When you’re done with the gusset, you should have a sock that looks something like this:

gusset done

On to the grand finale! Working the cuff. You can make the cuff as long or as short as you would like. I would advise doing at least an inch or so to help level out the sock and keep it from falling down when you wear it. One final note as we finish up here, if you don’t have the person in front of you to measure, or if you’re having difficulty measuring your own feet (I feel you, pregnant momma does not may for easy measuring), you may want to take a look at the Craft Yarn Council’s Foot Size Chart to help get a general idea for measurements.

I only did about an inch of cuff on mine, but my finished sock looks like this:

finished sock

The Short Version

Materials:

  • 1 Skein Sport weight (3) yarn any brand and color (about 275 yards)**
  • 1 size US F-5 (3.75 mm) hook**
  • Split ring markers, locking stitch markers, OR safety pins (at LEAST 2)
  • A measuring tape

Gauge:

5 sc x 5 rows =1 in x 1 in

**GAUGE NOTE: Because this pattern is using measurements rather that stitches, it doesn’t matter what weight yarn you use or what hook you use as long as you are matching the measurements. I have listed here what I am using for this project.

Take Measurements:

  1. Across top of toes
  2. Big Toe Length from tip to joint
  3. From your big toe joint to the start of your heel
  4. Heel height from bottom of foot to base of Achilles tendon or just below the Medial Malleolus (the bone that sticks out on the outside of some ankles)
  5. Desired cuff length

TOE

Make a chain half the length of measurement 1. Ch 2 more (counts as 1st sc)

Round 1:  Working the back of the chain, sc across. Ch 1 to turn, place marker in ch 1. Working the top of the chain, sc across. Ch 1 to turn, place marker in ch 1 join round with sl st.

Increase round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1st sc) sc across all scs. In ch 1 sp work sc, ch1, sc. Sc across all scs, in ch 1 sp work sc, ch 1, sc, sc in remaining sc(s), sl st into ch 2 to join.

Increase round 2: Ch 2,  sc across, ch1, sc across ch 1, sc in remaining sc(s), sl st into ch 2 to join round

For older child and adult socks:

Repeat increase round 1 and 2 until measurement 2 is reached, adjusting markers to remain in ch 1 sp as you work.

For younger child and infant socks:

Repeat increase round 1 until measurement 2 is reached, adjusting markers to remain in ch 1 sp as you work.

FOOT

Round 1: sc around, join round with sl st.

Repeat round 1 until measurement 3 is reached. Count the number of stitches you have and mark it down somewhere.

HEEL FLAP

Short Row 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1st sc), place marker in second chain. Sc across half of the FOOT stitches.

Short Row 2: Turn, ch 2, sc to across

Repeat Short Row 2 until measurement 4 is reached.

HEEL SHAPING

Row 1: Ch 2, sc across to last 1 inch of Short Row

Row 2: Turn, repeat Row 1

Count the unworked stitches at the end of both short rows. Make sure they have the same number of stitches. If necessary, use an sc 2 tog decrease to even the unworked stitches.

Row 3: turn, ch 2, sc across to last stitch. In last stitch work sc 3 tog with sc from working row, side of sc from working row and sc from row 1.

Row 4: Turn, ch 2, sc across to last stitch. In last stitch work sc 3 tog with sc from working row, side of sc from working row and sc from row 2.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all unworked stitches from row 1 and 2 have been picked up.

GUSSET

Round 1: DO NOT TURN. Ch 2, working side of heel flap rows, evenly pick up stitches in the side of each row. Pause before turning the round to the FOOT, count the picked up stitches and make a note of the number. Sc in each sc across the FOOT, place a marker in the first and last stitches of the FOOT. Working the other side of the HEEL FLAP, evenly pick up the same amount of stitches as the previous side. Sc in each sc across the top of the heel flap join round with a sl st.

NOTE: You may need to sc 2 tog to turn to the corner from the HEEL FLAP to the FOOT.

Decrease Round 1: Ch 2, sc to two stitches before marker, sc 2 tog, sc to marker, after marker sc 2 tog, sc to end of round, join with sl st.

Decrease Round 2: Sc around, join with sl st.

For older child and adult socks:

Repeat decrease round 1 and 2 until the GUSSET stitch count is the same as the FOOT stitch count noted, adjusting markers to remain in the first and last stitch of the FOOT as you work.

For younger child and infant socks:

Repeat increase round 1 until the GUSSET stitch count is the same as the FOOT stitch count noted, adjusting markers to remain in the first and last stitch of the FOOT as you work.

CUFF

Round 1: Sc in each sc around, join with sl st

Repeat round 1 until measurement 5 is reached.

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