Elizabeth’s Socks

adapted by my mother from a 1950s pattern for Boys’ Socks, with reinforced heel. These fit feet size 40 or 6-7.



two 50g balls sock wool for one pair of socks; but from 3 balls you can get two pairs, and from 5 balls, three pairs; one set of four double-pointed needles, size 2.75 mm


16 st and 20 rows to 5cm, stocking stitch

Cast on 68 st, 20 on each of first two needles and 28 on the third needle.  (68 stitches) Cast on evenly, not too tightly.  (Do not knit into backs of stitches on first row).

Work in k1p1 rib for one and a half inches or 4 cm. (12 rows)

Continue in stocking stitch and knit twelve to sixteen rounds, depending on the length of leg you want.


Shape leg as follows:

next round, work 2 together, knit to last three stitches of round, work 2 tog through back loop (tbl), k1.

Work 5 rounds without shaping.

Repeat this sequence three more times. (60 stitches)


Continue without further shaping for another twelve to sixteen rounds.

Divide stitches for heel as follows: knit 14 stitches off first needle, slip the last 15 stitches of the third needle on to the same needle; these 29 stitches are for heel.  Divide remaining stitches on to two needles and leave for instep.


Start heel as follows:

1strow – slip 1 purlways, purl to end.

2ndrow – sl 1 knitways, *k1, keeping yarn at back of work slip 1 purlways; repeat from * to last 2 st., k2

Repeat these two rows 17 times, then 1strow once.

Turn heel as follows:

1st row – k 19 slip 1, k1, pass slipped stitch over ( psso), turn.

2nd row – p 10, p 2 tog, turn.

3rd row – k 10, sl 1, k1, psso, turn.

Repeat 2nd and 3rd rows 7 times more, then 2nd row once. (11 sts)

Next row – k6, thus completing heel; 5 st remain unworked on left-hand needle.  Slip all instep stitches on to one needle.

Using spare needle, k 5 heel stitches, knit up 19 stitches along side of heel; using 2nd needle, knit across 31 instep stitches; using 3rdneedle, knit up 19 stitches along other side of heel and knit 6 heel stitches. (80 st)


Work instep as follows:

1st row, knit.

2nd row; 1st needle; k to last 3 st, k 2 tog., k1;  2nd needle, k.; 3rd needle, k 1, k 2 tog. tbl, k to end.

Repeat these 2 rounds until 60 stitches remain (14, 31, 15).


Continue on these 60 stitches in stocking stitch until from picked-up stitches at side of heel, foot measures approx 6 and a half inches (when halfway across instep needle, four needles in use, try sock on foot. When sock reaches and almost covers joint of big toe, start shaping for toes, which will measure another two inches or so)

Next round –

1stneedle, k;  2ndneedle, k1, k2 tbl, k to last 3 st., k 2 tog., k1;  3rdneedle, k.

Knit one more round with no decrease. (58 st)


Shape toe as follows_

1st round: 1st needle; k to last 3 st., k 2 tog., k1;  2nd needle; k1, k 2 tog tbl, k to last 3 st, k 2 tog., k1;  3rd needle, k1, k 2 tog tbl, k to end.

2ndround: k

Repeat these two rounds until 26 stitches remain.


Knit stitches from 1st needle on to end of third needle.  Graft or cast off stitches from two needles together.

Grafting (Kitchener stitch):

Hold the two needles together, yarn to right hand side, heel at the back, the front of the sock towards you. Thread yarn on a needle and sew as follows:

  1. knitwise (L to R) into 1ststitch on front needle, and discard the stitch
  2. purlwise (R to L) into next stitch on front needle, and retain the stitch
  3. purlwise into 1ststitch on back needle, and discard
  4. knitwise into next stitch on back needle, and retain


Work another sock in same manner.  Darn in loose ends.  Press socks lightly under a dry cloth using a cool iron.