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This is my standard top down sock … and with the left overs from a 100g ball of wool, I can make a pair of children’s socks (toe up) and a square or two (each takes only 3 or 4g wool!) …

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These are quite small … 2.5mm needles and 30 stitches across at the midpoint. I’ve no idea what I shall do with them, but if they do end up simply as a blanket, it will certainly be durable because of the wool/synthetic mix! Most of the sock wools machine wash, and many tumble dry, too. I don’t bother to try and remember which is which – I simply wait until I have a bundle of socks to wash, use the wool programme on my washing machine, then hang them to dry.

Top Down sock, size 5-6 foot

Using 3mm needles, and 4 ply sock yarn, cast on 64 stitches and knit k2p2 rib in the round (I use a long round needle and a ‘magic loop’, but the pattern adapts well to any method). Mark the end of a row with a short length of different coloured wool.  Continue for 2 inches, then change to 2.25mm needles. Next row, knit all stitches … k14, k2 tog four times (60 stitches)

Knit until work measures 7 1/2 inches.

Divide for heel stitch

Knit 15 stitches. Turn. With yarn at front of work, slip 1k, p29. Turn. Leave remaining 30 stitches (top of foot) on another needle/stitch holder, and continue on these 30 stitches for the heel.

Row 1 – s1k1, repeat to end.
Row 2 – s1k, p to end.

Repeat 14 times, then knit row 1 again. Turn.

Turn the heel

Row 1 – s1k, p16, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 2 – s1k, k5, k2togtbl, k1, turn.

On the following rows, slip the first stitch of each row knitwise, p/k to one short of the gap (you’ll see what I mean!), p2tog/k2togtbl across the gap, p/k1, turn. Each row will pick up two more stitches until you have worked the full width of the heel. You should finish with a knit row.

Gusset

Pick up 15 down the side of the heel, place a marker, knit across 30 stitches on the spare needle, place a marker, pick up 15 stitches up the side of the heel.

Knit round all stitches to second marker. This is now the beginning of your row.

Row 1 – k1, k2togtbl, k to last 3 stitches before marker, k2tog, k1 (to marker), k30.
Row 2 – k all stitches.

Repeat until you once again have a total of 60 stitches. Leave markers in place. Continue to knit until work measures 7 1/2 inches from heel shaping.

Toe shaping

Row 1 – at the first marker – k1, k2togtbl, k to last three stitches, k2 tog, k1, repeat across remaining stitches (4 decreases in all).
Row 2 – knit all stitches.

Repeat these two rows until 20 stitches remain. Now repeat row 1 until 8 stitches remain. Break yarn. Using a bodkin, thread yarn tail through remaining 8 stitches. Pull tight and insert through centre to the inside of the sock. Fasten off.

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For the children’s socks, knitted toe up (I use Judy’s magic cast on), I have a pattern for sizes from infant to adult … click on the link below. I do like starting toe first, but I prefer the tighter fit of the top down heel stitch for my own socks! The expert on toe up socks is Wendy Johnson, and this pattern is an adaptation of one of hers – toe up gussett socks all sizes (download).

For an alternative heel knitted either toe up or toe down, see Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel … I don’t like the loose fit on an adult sock, but it’s ideal for children as the heel is rounded and fits a growing foot without becoming tight.

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