Socknitters Directory Tips & Tricks

Toe Up, Afterthought Heel Socks
By: Jill L. Schaefer

Level: Intermediate/Advanced Beginner
Materials: Sport Weight Yarn and Needles appropriate for Sport Weight Yarn
24” Scrap Length of Contrast Yarn (In same weight as main yarn)
Stitch Markers
Yarn Needle
Optional: Row Counter
Crochet Hook For Picking Up Stitches
Pattern instructions are for a child's sock.
For clarity and economics (yours!) the photos are in black & white

STEP 1: Cast On ½ the total number of stitches for toe.
Example: A top down sock using 32 stitches normally is decreased to 12 stitches for the toe. This sock starts at the toe: ½ of 12 is 6, Cast On 6 sts.

STEP 2: K one row, flip sock so Cast On edge is on top and the right side of sock is facing you. Bring working yarn to top of sock.

Step 2

STEP 3: Pick up and knit the same number of stitches along Cast On edge that you have on first needle. This will be the start of working in ROUNDS instead of ROWS.

Step 3
Step 3 continued

Step 3 completed

STEP 4: Flip sock. Knit ½ of stitches from first needle. Your stitches are now divided on 3 needles. Mark this as beginning of round.

Step 4
Step 4 Completed, beginning of round is in center now.
(Indicated by arrow)


NOTE: M1 = Knit into both front and back of stitch.
Needle 1: K to last 2 sts, M1, K1.
Needle 2: K1, M1, K to last 2 sts, M1, K1.
Needle 3: K1, M1, K to end.
STEP 6: K around.

REPEAT steps 5 & 6 until you have desired number of stitches, in this case, 32.

Steps 5 & 6 Completed

CONTINUE to knit foot until sock is 1 ½” to 2” shorter than the foot length desired. Your “foot length” is the length from the back of your heel to the tip of longest toe.

STEP 7: Your heel is worked on ½ the total number of stitches, in this case, half of 32, or 16. On the round that you are placing your scrap yarn, knit the stitches on needle 1. Drop Main Yarn. With scrap yarn, knit across needle 2. Tuck ends of scrap yarn into your sock to keep them out of the way. Go back to the beginning of needle 2 and pick up your main yarn, and knit across needle 2 a second time. The scrap yarn is where you will pick up the stitches for your heel. Finish round with Main Yarn.

Step 7
Step 7 Cont

Step 7-Scrap yarn in place

STEP 8: You are now knitting on the LEG of your sock, with Main Yarn. Knit until the sock leg is 1 ½” to 2” shorter than desired length. When you get to that point, switch to working your desired ribbing (sample sock used K2 P2 ribbing). Work ribbing for 1 ½” to 2”, and then bind off LOOSELY, or you won’t be able to pull your sock on! You can even use a needle one or two sizes larger than you’ve been knitting with to help make the bind off looser.

Step 8


You’ve made it this far, and in a short time you’ll have a completed sock! The afterthought heel is worked like a toe on a top down sock, the trickiest part is getting started, just like everything else in life! Once you have picked up your stitches and started knitting around, you decrease just like you would for a toe in a top down sock, and then you kitchener stitch the heel closed.

STEP 9: Hold your sock with the top to the left and the scrap yarn facing you. Using a double pointed needle, pull the end of the scrap yarn out from the inside of the sock. Begin pulling the scrap yarn out of the stitches. Before you pull the scrap yarn out of a stitch, place that stitch on to a double point, that way you won’t risk dropping it when you pull the scrap yarn out. Place the stitches on to 2 double points, while using a third to pull the scrap yarn.

Step 9
Step 9 Cont.

NOTE: One needle on one side of the heel “hole” will have an extra stitch. DON”T PANIC!!! This stitch will be dealt with soon enough!

Step 9 Completed

STEP 10: Starting in one corner, K across the first needle. When you get to the end, pick up stitches in the side of the hole to insure you won’t have holes in the sides of the heel. Pick up however many it takes, usually 3 or so. These stitches go on this first needle. With another double point, knit across the second needle, and at the end, pick up the same number of stitches in the side of the hole as you did for the first side.

Step 10
Step 10 Cont.
Step 10 Cont.
Step 10 Completed

Mark this point as the beginning of your round, this is actually the side of your heel. On your first needle: K1, SSK, K to center of needle. Using another double point needle, K to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1. With another double point, work across second needle as follows: K1, SSK, K to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1.

Step 11

STEP 12: You now have 3 needles, one with an extra stitch. Now you will deal with that pesky extra stitch! On this round, you will just knit. BUT, on the needle with the extra stitch, work a decrease. For example, if you have your stitches divided 8-8-17, knit across your first 2 needles, and on the third needle K across to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1. You now have a stitch placement of 8-8-16.

Step 12

STEP 13: The rest is all down “heel” so to speak. Just repeat the following 2 rounds until you have the desired shape to your heel. The sample sock’s heel is decreased to 12 stitches.

Step 13

RND 1:
Needle 1: K1, SSK, K to end.
Needle 2: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1.
Needle 3: K1, SSK, K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1.
RND 2: K around

STEP 14: Slip stitches from needle 1 on to needle 2, so the stitches are equally divided on 2 needles. Cut yarn, work kitchener stitch to weave heel closed, just as you would a toe on a top down sock. Weave in loose ends.

Step 14
The Finished Sock!


Copyright 2003, Jill L. Schaefer. All rights reserved. This material may be used by individuals for personal use only. It can be distributed to and shared with others as long as it remains fully intact, including this copyright notice. It may not be sold, used to produce items for sale, or used on a web page or in a compilation or archive without written permission from the author.


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