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Knitting Toe-Up, Ribbed for Fit, Short-Row Heel Socks

Ruth Hiebert

Here's a pattern for quick, last-minute Holiday gifts. They knit up very easy, very thick, very quick, and make wonderful boot socks or slippers.

I even knit up the ankle on one sock in the dark, on a long drive back from a library conference/romantic weekend with the Roketman!

I sent a beta version to those who nagged. My thanks to Lisa Boone who knitted it up pronto! She said to knit it to fit snugly, and used Joyce Williams' technique of two circular needles instead of dpns. (Half of the stitches are on each needle, *Knit stitches 1-16 with needle one, stitches 17-32 with needle two, repeat from *.)

These are an evolutionary version of Joan's Socks, the pattern for which is on Emily Way's Woolworks at


2 Balls worsted-weight Wool-Ease yarn
Size 8 double-pointed needles (5 needles needed)

Knit with two strands throughout.

Gauge: 4 stitches=1", but don't worry about it since you're knitting to fit.

Short, Pithy Version:

Cast on 4 stitches, knit a small square.
Pick up 4 stitches on each side of this square.
Increase 1 stitch each end of each needle, every other row, until you have 8 stitches on each needle.
Knit for one inch.
Start 1x1 ribbing over half the stitches (space them so they center over the toe).
Knit until it's long enough to start the heel. Do short rows for heel over ¼ of the heel stitches, then pick them up again.
Continue in established pattern for one inch.
Start 1x1 ribbing for all stitches, continue until ankle part is long enough.
Use a sewn bind off, loosely.

Longer, More Explanatory Version:


Cast on 4 stitches.
*Row 1: knit.
Row 2: purl.* Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 6 rows, counting the cast-on row (you're ending on a knit row). Call this needle one.

Pick up 4 stitches in each side of this square, using a new needle for each side. You now have 16 stitches, or 4 stitches on each of 4 needles.

*Round 1: Knit.
Round 2: For each needle, knit 1, increase 1, knit to next-to-last stitch, increase 1, knit 1. *

You now have 6 stitches on each of 4 needles, 24 total. Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until you have 8 stitches on each needle, 32 total.

Knit around until you have 1 inch from the end of the increases, about 4 rows.

[First fitting: Try it on. If it's too tight, rip back and do more increases, if it's too loose, rip and do less increases. Don't worry, it's only an inch.]


On either needle 2 or 4, work this way:
Knit 4, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1, knit 1.
Continue this 1x1 ribbing over the next needle, and the first 4 stitches of the needle after that. Knit around, continuing ribbing.

Continue in pattern until ready to start heel.

[Second fitting: Try it on again. You're ready to start the heel when the sock is long enough that the ribbing barely touches where your ankle turns into your shin.]


Work short rows on the knit stitches. *Knit across to last knit stitch. Bring yarn forward as if to purl, slip last stitch, turn work. Slip the stitch again, so that the yarn has wrapped around it. Purl to last stitch, bring yarn to back as if to knit, slip last stitch, turn. Repeat from * , turning one stitch before the turning stitch of the previous turn.

Repeat until you have 4 turning stitches on each side of the heel. Then reverse the process, picking up the stitches this way: *Knit to first turning stitch. Knit into the stitch and the yarn that wraps around it, turn. Slip this stitch, then purl to next turning stitch. Purl into the stitch and the yarn that wraps around it, turn. Repeat from * until you have picked up all the short rows. Knit around to ribbing stitches, and continue in pattern.

Helpful hint: if you have a gap in the stitches between the knitting and the ribbing, pick up an extra stitch in that gap. In the next round, decrease one stitch at that same point.

Continue in knitting and ribbing until you are 1 inch above the heel.

[Next fitting: Try it on for foot length. Redo heel if necessary.]


Do 1x1 ribbing all around. Continue until the sock is long enough.

Bind off loosely, using sewn bind off.

Permission granted to re-post this pattern, with proper credit given to Joan Hamer ( for the original sock pattern, and to KnitListMom Ruth Hiebert ( for this version.

Click here to print.

See abbreviations if you need help.

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