Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™
Become a Knitting Superstar™

Ch. 12 Project – Top-Down socks, Two-at-a-Time

My Classes » Knitting Superstar » Part IV: Top-Down Socks » Ch. 12 Project – Top-Down socks, Two-at-a-Time

Ch. 12 Project – Top-Down socks, Two-at-a-Time

Choose Your Materials

Yarn: You’ll need two skeins of fingering (sock) weight wool – about 150 yards for a pair of crew- length socks.

I recommend that you choose a machine-washable yarn in a light color (so you can see what you’re doing).

Here are two of my favorite yarns to pick for this project. They are durable, machine-washable, soft, and come in cool color combinations.

Ask the yarn shop employee to wind the yarn into two separate balls.

Needles: The gauge for this project is 7 sts/in in St st (knitted in the round). Choose a 47-inch-long circular needle with pointy tips, such as Addi Lace, in a size that will cause you to achieve the right gauge.

Start with a size 2 and check to make sure you are getting the right gauge. Just make a round tube, like we did for the Intro to Magic Loop, block it, and then check your gauge.

You could skip this step and just start, if you are careful to check a couple inches into your sock and are okay with starting over. Up to you.

Next, choose which size you are going to make. This pattern comes in three sizes:

  • Women’s Small-Medium – fits a foot that measures 7 inches around the ball of the foot
  • Women’s Medium-Large – fits a foot measuring 8 inches around
  • Men’s Small-Medium – fits a foot measuring 9 inches around.

If your (or the sock recipient’s) foot measures less than 7 or more than 9 inches around, go down or up a needle size to compensate.

Following The Pattern Easily

You may want to go through the pattern and circle with pencil all the numbers that correspond with your size. If you were making the Medium-Large, you would circle the number in red: 48(56,64).

Pattern Walk-Through

This first video will walk you through how the sock is constructed, so you have a sense of context when we begin.

Two-at-a-Time Cast-On

The first tricky bit for doing two-at-a-time socks top-down is casting on for the cuff.

Following along with the pattern, watch the video to learn how to cast on.

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ARVE Error: Mode: lazyload not available (ARVE Pro not active?), switching to normal mode

Ribbed Cuff

After you’ve done the cast-on, work in ribbing according to the pattern for at least 1 inch – or you may work in 1×1 or 2×2 rib all the way down the cuff of the sock, if you like.

Optional Lace Pattern for Front of Socks

If you want to add a little excitement to your socks (especially if you are using a solid color), add this easy 3-stitch lace pattern. It gives you something to do each row and looks like a little zipper running down the front of your socks. Here’s a video showing how to work the lace pattern. Starting right after you finish the ribbing, work as follows on instep side of the sock:

  • Row 1: K 10(12,14), K2tog, YO, K1tbl, K 11(13,15).
  • Row 2: K 10(12,14), K1tbl, YO, K2tog, K 11(13,15).

Repeat rows 1 and 2 on instep side of each sock until you begin to decrease for the toe, at which time you will resume knitting all sts in St st.

When you switch to St st for the toe, knit the YO of the previous lace round through the back loop, blending it in to the St st of the toe.

Socks Not Joined On One Side

Sometimes people are concentrating so hard that they forget to come back to ready position, and consequently get turned around. Here’s what to do.

Knit the Cuff

Work in Stockinette stitch for the specified length from your cast-on edge. Of course, you don’t have to knit a crew sock. If you want to knit an ankle sock, just knit one or two inches past your ribbing.

Heel Flap

It’s now time to make the heel flap of your first sock. To create a textured heel flap like a slip-stitch heel or the Eye-of-the-Partridge heel, see Advanced Top-Down Socks: Heel-Flap Pattern Stitches.

Turn Heel

Immediately after working the heel flap of the first sock, we turn the heel. Here’s how to do it.

Pick Up And Knit For The Gusset

Now, pick up and knit the specified number of stitches along the left side of your heel flap. Learning to do this technique correctly will definitely help your knitting in all areas improve – sweaters and other advanced patterns call for you to do this often. Knowing how to do it right is fun.

Repeat On Second Sock

When working two-at-a-time top-down, the order in which you knit each part of the sock is very important.

Since we can’t go any further on the first sock, it’s now time to return to the heel flap instructions, and repeat them, back to the same point in your pattern, for the second sock – except this time, consider the following challenge:

Bonus – How To Knit (Well, Purl, Really) Backwards

This technique is optional, but take a look and see if you feel comfortable trying it.

It will save you a lot of time because if you know how to do it, you don’t have to turn your work back and forth every row.

This technique is very useful in Entrelac knitting, where you constantly have to turn your work after only a few stitches, and, of course, in turning any sock heels or doing any kind of short-rows.

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Finish Picking Up All Stitches

Continuing to follow your pattern, pick up and knit the stitches along the left side of your second heel flap.

Next knit across both insteps, and, when you return to ready position, it’s time to pick up and knit along the right sides of your heel flaps.

Shape Gusset

I showed you the triangular gusset in our walk-through video. Now it’s time to add a gusset to these top-down socks.

We now have a lot of stitches on the heel needle, and we’ll decrease this number gradually, decreasing on stitch each time we reach the heel, until the original number of stitches remains.

The video above shows you how to tighten your picked-up stitches and knit your gusset without having to continually look back at your pattern. Yay!

Once you are finished with the gussets (and be patient, they take longer than you might think), you’ve rounded the corner and are headed for the finish line.

Knit Foot

Continue to work in Stockinette stitch until the foot of the sock, measured from the end of the heel flap, measures 2 inches less than the length of your foot.

An easy way to measure your foot is to stand on a piece of paper and draw a line behind your heel and in front of your toe. Add ½ inch, and that is your foot measurement.

Decrease For Toe

Following the pattern, decrease on each side of the sock on each needle, every other round, until the specified number of stitches remain.

Bind Off In Kitchener Stitch

This is an advanced sewn bind-off that is completely flat and invisible. It is slow but it gets faster as you get better at it.

Not only is this a fabulous way to invisibly join two pieces of knitting, this technique is used in a lot of other advanced bind-offs, making it an investment in your future knitting happiness.

I would consider it “required reading” for intermediate knitters.

This is the amazing bind-off that the invisible ribbed bind-off is based on, and it’s a little easier, too. Download Kitchener Stitch Illustration here.

Cut your yarn, leaving a foot and a half of tail. Thread a tapestry needle and follow the steps in the illustration and the video below to bind off your socks.

Weave In Ends

Here’s how to weave in your ends on ribbing and inside the toe.


The final touch for most knitting projects is blocking.

Soaking your project in warm water with a little soap and then laying it out to dry is all it takes to make your edges and stitches more even and to cover up any inconsistencies in your tension.

You may want to block your socks – here’s a photo comparison to show how much nicer a blocked sock looks and fits.

Especially if you are giving these socks as a gift, blocking adds the final touch by letting the sock relax into its new shape as it dries.

If you’d like to watch a video to see how to block your socks, here’s how to block your knitting.

You can buy sock blockers at your local yarn store; they are made of plastic or wood and shaped like a foot.

If worse comes to worst, you can always put them on your own feet and order your family around for a few hours. “Honey, can you get that? I can’t get up, my socks are blocking.”

You’re done! Congratulations – you’ve just created a pair of socks in almost the same amount of time it would have taken you to knit just one.

I know this way isn’t as easy or straightforward as toe-up socks, but you’ve learned many new techniques along the way. I hope you are delighted with the color patterns your socks reveal.

Enjoy your new socks – you’ve done a fabulous job.

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