How to Knit Socks (for the first time)

When you want to knit your first pair of socks, start here.

Skill Level | Intermediate
Finished Size | Custom fit based on measurements

You don’t have to have a ton of experience to knit a pair of socks, especially this pair. If you’re comfortable knitting a hat, you can knit these socks.


About this Pattern

If you’re comfortable knitting a hat and you want try your hand at sock knitting, you’re in the right place. This pattern was created especially for first time sock knitters.

With this pattern you’ll learn essential sock knitting skills like taking measurements for a custom fit, a versatile cast on and increases, after thought heel placement and the kitchener stitch. When you’re finished, you’ll be able to use the same basic steps to create a variety of socks by changing only the stitch pattern.

Before you begin, review this page entirely so you understand the full scope of the project. We have a list of recommended supplies and abbreviations here on this page as well as written instructions and a tutorial to walk you through these beginner-friendly knit socks from start to finish.

getting started

Recommended Supplies

  • Approx 250 yds; medium weight yarn; 100% wool, wool/nylon or cotton/wool/nylon blend; (Cloudborn Superwash Merino Worsted Twist Yarn, Petal pictured)
  • Approx 5 yds of waste yarn; any smooth, contrast color medium weight yarn
  • US 3 (3.25 mm) 32″ or longer circulars (or size needed to obtain gauge)
  • Locking Stitch Marker
  • Yarn Needle
  • Scissors

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pattern details


  • K Knit
  • K2tog Knit Two Together
  • KFB Knit Front Back
  • P Purl
  • SSK Slip Slip Knit
  • St(s) Stitches
Summer Sock Knitting KAL
Finished Size
  • Small Foot circumference: 7-8″; foot length: 8-9″
  • Medium Foot circumference: 8.5-9.5″; foot length: 9.5-10.5″
  • Large Foot circumference: 10-10.5″; foot length: 11-11.5″

7 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch

You may knit a gauge swatch prior to starting the sock knitting KAL, however, it isn’t necessary. Steps will be provided in pattern section 1 to check and measure gauge. This will ensure the most accurate results although it may require you to knit the toe a second time if you need to make a needle size adjustment. It may be useful to have a US 2.5 and US 4 knitting needle circular on hand just in case.

Rather than use double pointed needles (which may be too “fiddly” for new sock knitters) you will be instructed to use the magic loop method. One benefit to magic loop sock knitting is the ability to try them on as you go. Perfect for a custom fit!

Additional Notes: Instructions for sizes are given as follows:

Small (Medium, Large)

Need to Print this Pattern?

You’ll find the full pattern for free here on this page. However, if you’d like a PDF version of this pattern to print or save for offline use, you can purchase it from our PDF shop.

the pattern

Written Instructions

Toe Instructions

Use Judy’s Magic Cast On to cast on 12 (16, 20) sts on each of the two needles.

Round 1 (needles 1 and 2): K all sts.

Round 2 (needles 1 and 2): K1, KFB. K to last two sts. KFB, K1.

Round 3 (needles 1 and 2): K all sts.

Repeat: Rep rounds 2 and 3 until you have:

Foot Circumference (in)Total sts Each Needle

Stop to measure gauge. Pull needles through stitches so the toe is resting on the cord. Lay the toe on a flat and count how many stitches are in a 1” section. If you count 7 stitches, continue with the foot.

Note: If you count more stitches in 1”, you will need to rework the toe with a larger needle. If you count fewer stitches in 1”, you will need to rework the toe with a smaller needle. Going up or down one needle size usually does the trick. If you proceed with the sock and the incorrect gauge, the sock may not fit properly.

Foot Instructions

Next Round (needles 1 and 2): K all sts.

Repeat: Rep last round until sock measures:

Foot Length (in)Sock Length (in)
Measure from cast on edge of toe.
see how it’s done

Tutorial 1: Cast on, Toe & Foot

Watch on YouTube

Placing the Afterthought Heel

Knit all sts on needle 1.

Note: The stitches on needle two are heel stitches and will be worked on waste yarn to hold them until you’re finished knitting the leg. Choose a waste yarn that’s smooth and of similar weight in a contrast color to your sock yarn. Leave working yarn attached to sock.

Row 1 (needle 2): K all sts with waste yarn. Turn.

Row 2 (needle 2): P all sts with waste yarn. Turn.

Row 3 (needle 2): K all sts with waste yarn. Turn.

Slip the heel stitches on to the left needle. Pick up the working yarn and K all sts on needle 2.

Leg of Sock

Rounds 1-4  (needles 1 and 2): K all sts.

Round 5 (needles 1 and 2): K3. P1.

Rep last round until leg measures 5( 5.5, 6)” from first row of heel.

Stretchy bind off  in pattern (see tutorial).

see how it’s done

Tutorial 2: Placing heel, leg and bind off

Watch on YouTube

Afterthought Heel

With waste yarn facing up and toe closest to you, insert needle 1 through the right leg of all heel stitches in the row directly above waste yarn stitches, from right to left.

Insert needle 2 through the right leg of all heel stitches in the row directly below waste yarn stitches, from right to left.

Working from left to right, on the top row of waste yarn, pick out each stitch of the waste yarn. Pull and unravel the waste yarn to the stitches being held on needle two.

You should now have live stitches on needle 1 and needle 2.

Starting with needle 2, you will need to pick up additional stitches between the needles to close the gap. You may have to play around with the placement to get the best results. In the space between the needles PUAK 4 sts.

Round 1 (needle 2): K all sts.

Like before, pick up 4 stitches between the needles to close the gap.

Round 1 (needle 1): K all sts.

Decrease rounds for picked up stitches:

Round 2 (needle 1): K2tog, K to end of needle.

Round 2 (needle 2): K2tog, K to end of needle.

Round 3 (needle 1): K2tog, K to end of needle.

Round 3 (needle 2): K2tog, K to end of needle.

Next 3 Rounds (needles 1 and 2): K all sts

Heel Decrease Repeat:

Round 1 (needle 1 and 2): K1. SSK. K to the last 3 sts. K2tog. K1)

Round 2 (needle 1 and 2): K all sts.

You will decrease stitch count by four each heel decrease repeat. Rep rounds 1 and 2 of the heel decrease pattern until you have 12 (16, 20) sts remaining on each needle.

Cut the yarn leaving an 8” tail. Thread the tail on a yarn needle. Hold the two needles parallel with thte yarn end coming from the right side and from the first stitch on the

back needle. Graft the stitches together with the Kitchener stitch (see tutorial).


Weave in all the tails on the wrong side of the sock. Use the tail to close any remaining gap in the heel. Use the tail to correct the jog at top of sock.

see how it’s done

Tutorial 3: Knitting the Heel & Finishing

Watch on YouTube


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