Top-Down Knee High Socks Pattern

img_20200819_070428Well, it finally happened. My first pair of knee-high socks is officially in the books! The inspiration came from a yarn club set up by my local yarn shop, the yarn reminded me of winter hiking and the need to keep warm. The tricky thing, it turns out, is finding a sock pattern that is top down. Admittedly, this is probably because knitting toe up gives you the ability to use half your yarn on the first sock and the other half on your second sock — in other words, you can be confident that you’re going to have two finished socks and you’re not going to run out of yarn. Knowing this going into this project, I still opted to write a top down pattern. My toe up socks never hang quite right no matter how I bind them off (I either have too loose or too tight of a bind off).

img_20200819_070457I came so close to using only one skein of yarn (463 yards) when making these socks and needed less than a yard to finish the toe on the second sock. This means that if your foot is smaller than mine (I’m an 8.5 or 39) and you don’t need to make any modifications, then you should be able to get away with one skein. If your foot is the same size as mine or bigger, or if you want to make your socks longer, I recommend grabbing a second skein or using some scrap yarn to knit the Cuff, Heel and/or Toe.

This pattern is meant to be more of a recipe, so please feel free to use the Cuff, Heel and Toe of your choosing. I enjoy the Fish Kiss Lips Heel (FKLH), but think an afterthought heel would be a fun way to add a pop of color (which you could totally do with the FKLH). Another thing that’s great about this pattern (but requires more yarn) is that you can extend the length/width of the leg by increasing the number of decreases you have to do. For reference, my:

  • Calf = 14.5 inches
  • Leg = 13 inches
  • Foot = 8 inches before toe decreases

If your leg/calf is larger, you can modify the pattern by adding 10 rows + a decrease row for every inch. Keep in mind, this means adding 4 stitches for every inch you need to add to the 84 that fit me. You can also remove a decrease row for every inch you need to subtract from the 13 that work best for me.

Knee high socksTop Down Knee High Socks:

  • Gauge: 32 stitches and 40 rows = 4 inches
  • Suggested Needle size: US 2 (2.75 mm)
  • Yarn requirments: 264 (more if your foot is larger, less if your foot is smaller)

CO 84

[r1: k2, p1 across
r2: k1, p2 across] repeat until cuff measures 2 inches

[k2tog, k19] 4x (80 sts left)

K40 rows
Decrease row: [k2tog, k18] 4x (76 sts left)

Decrease row: [k2tog, k17] 4x (72 sts left)

Decrease row: [k2tog, k16] 4x (68 sts left)

Decrease row: [k2tog, k15] 4x (64 sts left)

Decrease row: [k2tog, k14] 4x (60 sts left)

K35 rows


Foot 8 in or 1.5 inches short of desired length

Toe decreases until there are 12 sts per needle (24 total)

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