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crosspatchsock monkeyklein bottleswelljuliemanresaalletelilies
universal toe-up sock formula

This toe-up short-row sock worksheet uses gauge plus a basic series of measurements to provide a custom fit.

Don't limit yourself to stockinette! Instead, select a textured rib or stitch pattern for the top of the foot and the ankle.

Just make sure that your adjusted number of stitches works with your chosen pattern.

models: Dana Codding, Nancy Jo Cullen and Morgan Hawkins photos: Amy Swenson




Note: Exact yarn quantities will depend on your stitch pattern, foot size, and sock length. Quantities given below are for a pair of socks that will fit a Women's size 9 foot, with a leg that is 8 inches from upper edge to top of foot.

Yarns used in photo above, L to R:
Diakeito Diamusee Fine, color 113
Art Yarns Handpaint Stripes, color 127
Koigu PPPM, color unknown
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Bittersweet
Painted Yarns Merino, color unknown
Art Yarns Ultramerino 4, color 104

Sock-weight yarn: Approx. 350yd/320m, knit at 7-8 sts/inch
Sport-weight yarn: Approx. 300yd/275m, knit at 6.5-7 sts/inch
DK-weight yarn: Approx. 250yd/229m, knit at 5.5-6.5 sts/inch
Worsted-weight yarn: Approx. 200yd/183m, knit at 5-6 sts/inch

A set of five double-point needles, or two circular needles, in a smaller size than recommended on the ball band. Remember, socks are best knit tightly.
Waste yarn for provisional cast on; use a smooth yarn, such a mercerized cotton
Crochet hook for provisional cast on; use a hook approx. 1 size larger than needle size
Stitch marker
Tapestry needle

Gauge matters for socks! You can use the worksheet for any gauge; however, make sure your gauge is tighter than you'd want for a sweater or other drapey garment. Work a gauge swatch in your desired stitch pattern and measure the gauge accurately before proceeding.

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

Crochet Cast On
Using waste yarn, work a crochet chain several sts longer than the number of sts to be cast on. Starting 1 or 2 sts in from end of chain and using working yarn, pick up and k 1 st in the back loop of each st until the required number of sts have been worked. Later, the chain will be unraveled and the resulting live sts picked up.

Wrap & Turn [W&T]
Note: The directions that follow are written for short rows worked in stockinette stitch.

To wrap and turn on a RS row, knit to point specified in pattern, bring yarn to front of work between needles, slip next stitch to right-hand needle, bring yarn around this stitch to back of work, slip stitch back to left-hand needle, turn work to begin purling back in the other direction.

To wrap and turn on a WS row, purl to point specified in pattern, bring yarn to back of work between needles, slip next stitch to right-hand needle, bring yarn around this stitch to front of work, slip stitch back to left-hand needle, turn work to begin knitting back in the other direction.

Working Wraps Together with Wrapped Stitches:
When working rows which follow short rows, work the "wraps" at the turning points of the short rows, together with the stitches they wrap, as follows:

When working a RS row: Knit to wrapped stitch. Slip next stitch from left needle to right needle, use tip of left needle to pick up "wrap" and place it on right needle, insert left needle into both wrap and stitch, and knit them together.

When working a WS row: Purl to wrapped stitch. Slip next stitch from left needle to right needle, use tip of left needle to pick up "wrap" and place it on right needle, slip both wrap and stitch back to left needle, purl together through back loops.


To use this worksheet, begin by taking a few measurements:


Foot circumference (measured at the ball of the foot): _______ inches

Multiply foot circumference by 0.9 to determine Sock Circumference (for a snug fit):
Sock Circumference: _______ inches

Determine distance between tip of short-row toe and beginning of short-row heel:
Measure along sole of foot, from tip of toe to back of heel. Length of Foot: _______ inches

Subtract 1.5 inches from Length of Foot: _______ inches (A)

Desired length of sock leg, from top of foot: _______ inches (B)

Gauge: _______ stitches per inch

The Rest of the Math:
Multiply Sock Circumference by Gauge: _______ stitches

Adjust this number of stitches as desired to work with chosen stitch pattern. Obtaining a multiple of 4 makes working on 4 dpns easiest. If working on 2 circulars, only a multiple of 2 is necessary. This adjusted number will be the "Key Number" for this pattern; it is the number of stitches on which most of the sock will be worked, and the other numbers which follow will be calculated from this number.

Key Number: _______ (C)

Determine number of stitches for Toe and Heel Short Rows: Divide C by 2: _______ (D)

Determine number of sts at end of Toe and Heel: Multiply D by 0.4.
If D is odd, round to nearest odd number;
if D is even, round to nearest even number: _______ (E)

Cheat Sheet:






Now we're ready to begin!

Using Crochet Cast On, CO (D) sts.

Row 1 [WS]: P all sts.

*Row 2 [RS]: K to last st, W&T.

Row 3 [WS]: P to last st, W&T.

Row 4 [RS]: K to st before last wrapped st, W&T.

Row 5 [WS]: P to st before last wrapped st, W&T.

Repeat Rows 4 and 5 until (E) sts remain unwrapped between wrapped sts on either side of work. You will be ready to start a RS row.

Note: Before proceeding, see note in "Pattern Notes" above re. working wraps together with wrapped stitches.

When wrapping stitches at turning points of short rows which follow, note that stitches will now have two wraps; these stitches will be referred to as double-wrapped stitches. When working a double-wrapped stitch on a subsequent row, pick up both wraps and work them together with the stitch which had been wrapped.

Row 6 [RS]: K to first wrapped st, k wrapped st, W&T.

Row 7 [WS]: Sl 1, p to first wrapped st, p wrapped st, W&T.

Row 8 [RS]: Sl 1, k to first double-wrapped st, k double-wrapped st, W&T.

Row 9 [WS]: Sl 1, p to first double-wrapped st, p double-wrapped st, W&T.

Repeat Rows 8 and 9 until one double-wrapped stitch remains at each end of work.

Row 10 [RS]: Sl 1, k to double-wrapped st, k double-wrapped st. Do not turn work.* (Work wraps of remaining double-wrapped st together with st when working first round of foot.)

Carefully remove crochet chain from CO edge of work, and place the (D) resulting live sts on two double-point needles, or one circular needle. There should now be (C) sts on the needles.
Foot of sock will now be worked in the round.

Hint: When you begin to work in the round, you may want to pick up a st or two in the space at either end of the newly picked-up sts to close up the small gap that can form at this point. If you do this, remember to decrease these sts when working the next round, so that you will once again have C sts.

Work in stockinette st or chosen stitch pattern, until work measures (A) inches from end of toe.

Next Round: Decide which side of your sock you wish to be the top of the foot, and which side will form the sole. Work to the end of the stitches which form the top of the foot; the heel will be worked back and forth over the stitches which form the sole.

To form heel, work from * to * as for toe.

Resume working in the round over all sts. Work in stockinette st or chosen stitch pattern until work measures (B) inches from top of foot. BO all sts loosely in pattern.



Weave in ends, and make your second sock in the same way.


Amy Swenson is lucky to live a yarn-filled life in Calgary. She runs Make One Yarn Studio, indiKnits Designs and writes patterns and books.

Her first book, "Not Your Mama's Crochet", will be released September 19.