Basic Knee High Toe Up Sock Pattern

View/Print Pattern: Basic Knee High Toe Up Sock Pattern

I’ve been working on this pattern for awhile trying to get just the right fit for knee high socks.  I wanted this to be a very basic pattern so I could concentrate on the fit and not any details or stylistic elements.  Beginner sock knitting books will have very similar patterns to what I’m basing my sock on.

As I said I’m keeping this pattern basic.  I’m using the same increases in the same positions for the toe, heel, and leg.  The heel is a modification of fleegle’s heel.  I added a slip stitch pattern to the heel and I also modified the stitch counts a bit to better fit my own heel.  Then finally the large ribbed section at the cuff creates a better and more forgiving fit to help keep the socks up.

The pattern was tweaked until I got the perfect fit for me (or as close as I think I can get).  I wear a US 7 1/2 shoe size and have a 15″ calf at the widest part.  Knowing that knee high socks are especially tricky to fit I’ve added some fitting tips to the pattern and more expanded fitting tips below.  Hopefully this will help anyone fit the pattern to their own feet.

Sock Fitting Tips

Knitting a properly fitted sock is all about getting the right ease at each section of the sock.  A sock needs to have negative ease or it will not fit well.  Even zero ease will make a sock that is too big.  I often have a problem with this as I think my socks are way too small even as they end up too big.

A chart is available at the end of these tips for some important stitch counts if you have to modify the pattern.

Warning – All of these tips are assuming a wool or wool blend sock yarn.  Other fibers do not have the same characteristics and some of these tips may not be appropriate.

Fitting Tip 1 – Toe Shape:

The number of cast on stitches determine the shape of the toe.  Fewer stitches at cast on will give a pointed toe  and require more increase rounds.  More stitches at cast on will give a square toe and require less increase rounds.  Regardless of toe shape the final number of stitches should remain the same in order to get the proper fit at the foot.

Fitting Tip 2 – Foot Width Fit:

Toe increases should stop as soon as the first four toes are covered width wise. The “pinky” toe should be left out of the sock when the toe increases are complete. Err on the side of too narrow vs. too wide.  I think even leaving out the “pinky” toe is a bit too wide.  The socks will stretch as you wear them and by the end of the day I’ve had my socks be too loose even though the first time I tried them on I thought they were a little snug.

Fitting Tip 3 – Foot Length Fit:

The foot portion of the sock is completed once you hit the front of your leg/ankle.  The bottom of your heel will be completed in the foot gusset section.  Do not just slip on the sock to see if it reaches your ankle.  You need to lightly tug on the sock to see if it pulls up enough to reach your leg.  If you just slip the sock on it will be too big as it will have zero ease instead of the negative ease needed to fit properly.

If you made a mistake on the toe increases this is a good chance to fix it.  If you had too few toe increases you can add a few rounds to make the foot longer or if you added too many toe increases you can make the foot shorter by knitting a few less rounds.  Knitting can stretch both ways and adding or removing rounds in the length can help compensate for the width being wrong.

Fitting Tip 4 – Foot Gusset Fit:

The foot gusset knits the bottom of the heel and up the front of the leg/ankle.  The increases in the gusset are the setup for the back of the heel.  I’ve reduced the number of increases asked for in fleegle’s heel because the heel was always the first place I started to lose my negative ease and the socks would start bagging.  Reducing the increases here also reduces the number of heel stitches.  If the heel feels too tight or too short then I would look back to the original stitch counts in fleegle’s heel.

Fitting Tip 5 – Heel Fit:

As mentioned above I’ve modified my heel to be a few rows shorter.  This gives me a better fit but I also like the look of it better.  I though fleegle’s heel was a bit too pointy with sock weight yarn for what I wanted.  The general pattern will work the same if you have to go back to the original counts.

If you think you’ve gotten off somehow on the heel you can try to keep going with these ideas in mind.

  1. The slip stitch pattern is centered on the place marker in the center of the heel and not the edge stitches.
  2. All decreases are worked towards both ends of the heel stitches and not the center.  Each decrease on each side of the heel should take you one stitch closer to either edge.
  3. When you are done with the heel you should have the same number of heel stitches as after you completed the toe increases

If you keep this in mind you can usually improvise the heel without anyone knowing the difference.

Fitting Tip 6 – Leg & Calf Fit:

This area is why I had to knit three pairs of socks before I got a fit I was really happy with.  Keeping knee high socks from sagging and falling down is very difficult.  It’s tricky because the sock may be too tight or too loose and it’s not always obvious which one it is.  If you can slip your sock on without any stretching all the way up to your knee then it is too big around the leg and you need to do less increases.  It’s also probably too big everywhere else too.

Other than that too loose or too tight is a guessing game to some degree.  What worked for me was trying to pinch any extra stitches at different areas of my sock.  Any pinches that easily came away with extra stitches was too loose. If you have enough sock to feel like you could fold a section over then it’s too big. If I couldn’t get any give at all with a pinch then it was probably too tight (I’ve only had one section of one sock that was too tight).

Remember not to get discouraged if your first sock is not fitting as well as you’d hoped.  I needed three attempts and some weird math that I swore made sense before I got the pair I liked.  Sewing a band of elastic in the cuff can help you salvage any socks that won’t stay up but fit well enough to keep otherwise.  If you use heavy yarn you may have to do this regardless.

Stitch Count Chart – Use to Modify Pattern for Fit

The chart below shows key stitch counts if your original stitch count after the toe increases does not match the pattern.  This could happen if you are not using the same gauge or are knitting for a different foot size. At the end of the heel you should be back to the foot stitch count.

  Foot Stitch Count Heel Stitch Count Heel Stitch Count End Gusset  Row 1 Heel # Heel Rows
80 40 74 K37, PM, K4, SSK, K 31
76 38 70 K35, PM, K4, SSK, K 29
72 36 66 K33, PM, K4, SSK, K 27
68 34 62 K31, PM, K4, SSK, K 25
64 32 58 K29, PM, K4, SSK, K 23
60 30 54 K27, PM, K4, SSK, K 21
56 28 50 K25, PM, K4, SSK, K 19
52 26 46 K23, PM, K4, SSK, K 17
48 24 42 K21, PM, K4, SSK, K 15
44 22 38 K19, PM, K4, SSK, K 13
40 20 34 K17, PM, K4, SSK, K 11
36 18 30 K15, PM, K4, SSK, K 9
32 16 26 K13, PM, K4, SSK, K 7


  1. Debbie Bowers says:

    QUESTION: You knit 18 rows of heel, back and forth, then 19th row is joined with instep. Doesn’t this leave a hole on each side??


  1. […] Basic Knee High Toe Up Socks […]

  2. […] Basic Knee High Toe Up Socks (Free) […]

  3. […] Basic Knee High Toe Up Socks (Free) […]

  4. […] my socks I used a pattern from Leslie of Single Stitch. I didn’t do knee high socks but the pattern helped me along. This is my first sock! I love […]

  5. […]  Basic Knee High Sock (modified to […]

Leave a Reply