Free Knitting Pattern: Toe Up Ginkgo Socks


Many years ago, I designed these Gingko Socks to keep my feet warm and comfy.  The original pattern was tailor-made to fit my tiny, narrow feet, but this year I decided to update the pattern and offer it in two larger sizes.

And now, I’m giving my beloved updated Gingko Socks design away as a FREE PATTERN at the foot of this page! It’s a little Thank You to everyone who follows my blog and enjoys knitting my Cotton & Cloud original designs!


As the name suggests, my Gingko Socks were inspired by the beautiful sweeps of vivid, yellow leaves that collect under Japanese gingko trees in autumn. I used to love collecting them as a child in Japan, because I was fascinated by their unusual shape. Later, as young pharmacist, I was also interested in the gingko plant for its medicinal properties. And finally, as an avid knitter and knitwear designer, I just had to design something that featured the patterns and colours of this amazing plant!


The updated pattern uses gorgeous Socka yarn, from Sparkle Duck. It’s wonderfully squishy and beautifully hand-dyed to a semi-solid, warm yellow. This shade is called Honey, but you can find lots of other amazing colours here.


The socks are knitted from the toe-up and I used Judy’s Magic Cast-on Method, for a seamless start.  It’s a fast, enjoyable knit and perfect for using up an odd ball of sock yarn from your knitting box. You’ll love how soft and warm these socks feel on your feet!


Please note that this pattern is a free pattern so it has not gone through rigorous technical editing process. If you think there is an error, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

S (M, L)
Foot length of 22 (25, 27) cm.
Circumference 19 (20, 21.5) cm

Sparkelduck Socka (80% superwash merino wool, 20% nylon; 365m [400yds]/100g skein)
1 x 100g skein of Honey
Please note that the yarn quantity is calculated based on the actual foot length of 22 (25, 27) cm.

33 sts and 45 rows to 10 cm over stocking stitch using 2.5mm needles.

Needles & Accessories
1 set of 2.5mm (UK 13-12/US 1-2) double-pointed-needles (DPNs)
Yarn needle to weave in ends

DPNs – double-pointed needles
K – knit
kwise – knit wise
m – marker
M1L – Make 1 left slanting: Bring the tip of left-hand needle under the strand between sts, from front to back. Knit into the back of this loop.
M1R – Make 1 right slanting: Bring the tip of left-hand needle under the strand between stitches, from back to front. Knit this loop.
P – purl
pwise – purl wise
pm – place marker
rnd / rnds – round / rounds
sl – slip
slm – slip marker
SSK – Slip, slip, knit: (Slip 1 kwise) twice, knit the 2 slipped sts tog
st / sts – stitch / stitches
tog – together
wyb – with yarn (in) back

Cast on 24 (28, 28) sts using Judy’s Magic Cast On method.
Rnd 1: Pm, K13 (15, 15), pm, knit to end. 13 (15, 15) sts for the first half and 11 (13, 13) sts for the second half.
Inc rnd: K1, M1L, K to 1 st before m, M1R, K1, slm, M1L, K to 1 st before m, M1R, slm – 4 sts inc’d.
Note: Instead of using M1L and M1R for either side of the heel gusset, you could use yb then yf and work these yarn overs through the back of loop on the following round to twist the stitch to close the hole. The direction of the twist would be towards the left and the right, respectively to make a neat gusset.
Rep the Inc rnd every rnd once more. 32 (36, 36) sts.
Rep the Inc rnd every other rnd 7 (7, 8) times in total. 60 (64, 68) sts.
Last Inc rnd: K to m, slm, M1R, knit to end. 61 (65, 69) sts, 31 (33, 35) sts for the first half and 30 (32, 34) sts for the second half.
Work 1 rnd straight.

Work chart 1 (2, 2) for the first 31 (33, 35) sts of the sock. Work in stocking stitch for the second half of the rnd.


Cont in patt until the length of the sock measures 12 (13.5, 14.5) cm from cast on or 10.5 (11.5, 12.5) cm less than your intended length of the socks.

Shape Heel Gusset
Next rnd: *Patt to m, slm, M1L, knit to m, M1R, slm.
Next rnd: Knit.
Rep all from * 12 (14, 15) times more. 87 (95, 101) sts – there should be 31 (33, 35) sts for the first half and 56 (62, 66) sts for the second half.

Heel Flap
Next row (RS): Patt to m, slm, K13 (15, 16), (sl1 pwise wyib, K1) 14 (15, 16) times in total, sl1 pwise wyib, SSK, turn.
Next row (WS): Sl1 pwise, P28 (30, 32), P2tog, turn.

You will now be working these 30 (32, 34) sts as heel flap in flat knitting.
Next row: §Sl1 pwise wyib, K1; rep from * 13 (14, 15) times more, sl1 pwise wyib, SSK, turn.
Next row: Sl pwise, P28 (30, 32), P2tog, turn.

Rep all from § 11 (13, 14) times more – there should be 30 (32, 34) sts left between the 2 markers for the second half.

Next row (RS): K to m, M1R, slm.
62 (66, 70) sts – 31 (33, 35) sts for both front and back. You will now be working in the rnd.
Cont in patt as chart 1 (2, 2) for both the front and back of the sock.
Note: Although the charts 1 (2) show rows from 1 to 14 (12) rows, respectively, continue from the row you have left on the first front of the socks to ensure the pattern continues throughout the piece.

Work until the piece measures 12 cm from the end of the heel flap.
Inc rnd: K31 (33, 35), M1; rep from * to end. 64 (68, 72) sts.

Next rnd: *K2, P2; rep from * to end.
The above rnd form 2×2 rib.
Cont in rib for 4cm. Cast off all sts loosely.

Weave in ends and block the socks to measurement.

Responses to “Free Knitting Pattern: Toe Up Ginkgo Socks”

  1. Kate/Massachusetts

    Thank you for sharing the pattern! It is lovely! I have a tiny ginko tree growing in my yard. The leaf is beautiful. From what I have read online, my little ginko tree won’t be little for long!

  2. whistlepeaknits

    They’re super duper pretty!


    Oh what a beautiful pattern!!! Thanks so much for sharing, I’ll be linking to this post.

  4. Pili

    Thank you for sharing the pattern! They’re gorgeous!! I love knitted socks!

  5. R a i n

    Oh they’re so pretty! Thanks so much.

  6. Knit and Sew City Girl

    Thanks for the free tutorial…I’ll attempt this once I learn how to knit socks.


  7. Tracy

    Thank you for the tutorial, Kyoko! These socks are just sooo pretty! I wish I could say I’m making good progress with the sock knitting…*sigh*…working with so many needles at once is still giving me grief. I am working on knitting a new baby cardigan for my baby niece…so some progress ;o) Happy week, my friend ((HUGS))

  8. two hippos

    Fabulous socks in such wondreful colours.

  9. my7kids

    Beautiful socks! Too bad we have to join Scribd to get the pattern,

  10. honeyanddaisy

    I love socks, and these are right up my alley!!

  11. lisette

    Now I have to learn to make socks.. So beautiful! And the yarn is great!

  12. Helen

    Thanks so much for sharing your pattern. These are so beautiful. I’ve never knitted a toe-up sock before, but I’m really keen to try these. Are you over on ravelry? I’ll add this to my queue if so!

  13. It’s so refreshing to find articles like the ones you post on your site. Very informative reading. I will keep you bookmarked. Thanks!

    • kyoko

      Thank you so much!

  14. wow … was für ein tolles Muster – leider finde ich die Anleitung nicht. Der Link führt zu ravelry und dort führt der Link hier her. Leider sind meine englisch-Kenntnisse zu klein :( Aber ich finde die Socken wirklich wunderschön !!!

    Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland von Mari(anne)

    wow … what a great pattern – unfortunately I can not find the instructions. The link leads to ravelry and there, the link to come here. Unfortunately, my English skills are too small: (But I think the socks really beautiful!

    Greetings from Germany by Mari (anne)

  15. Just finished my fourth pair from this pattern, I love it – thank you!

    • Kyoko

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment!

  16. Christina

    Hi kyoko,

    I’m knitting your pattern, and had fun so far.
    But it occured to me that of the S size, row 7
    of the pattern section has 6 decreases ans only
    4 increases, so i’m missing 2 stitches at the end.
    I don’t know if i’m overlooking something, but I
    really can’t go any further:( I hope you could shed
    some light on this.



    • Kyoko

      Hi Christina,

      Thank you for the message. You are absolutely right! I have updated the chart. :)


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  19. Meg

    I know you posted this gorgeous pattern a long time ago, but I’ve tried to start it about 10 times now and failed completely. I’m hopeful you’ll answer some questions I have about the pattern :(

    1. For the cast-on, do you use circular needles and then transfer them to the DPNs? And if so, when?

    2. When you say “K to 1st stc before m,” does that mean I should or should not knit that very last stitch before the marker?

    3. It seems like no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get that initial 15/13 distribution in the very first step of the cast on; it always turns out 14/14. Does this matter for the pattern?

    I would be overjoyed if you responded! :) Thank you!!

    • Kyoko

      Hi Meg,
      Thank you for your comment and I am sorry that you had to restart knitting the pattern many times. Here are the answers to your questions:
      1) You can use either circular or DPNs. Nowadays I like using circular needles to work the socks but you can also use DPNs. If you work on DPNs, you can cast on straight onto each DPN but alternatively you could cast onto one needle or onto a circular needle and transfer stitches before you join.
      2) When the pattern states ‘knit to 1 st before marker’ then please don’t knit the last stitch before the marker.
      3) When you cast on using Magic Cast On method, you would have 14/14 distribution but you just modify this distribution to 15/13. So you are not doing anything wrong! :)
      Hope these helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me again!

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