Basic 6ply boot socks – free pattern and tutorial
One of the things about owning a dog is that you’re out every day, whatever the weather. I learned early on that walking in anything other than wellies or walking boots was a mistake (you try hurtling into the bushes after a mischievous hound wearing sandals!) and as the weather gets colder, you need thicker socks.
I’m quite fussy about my socks; I like thicker socks generally which is why I started making my own in the first place. I find that everyday bought socks are often too thin and because I like the way that hand-knitted socks fit my feet, it wasn’t long before I decided that I needed to adapt my basic sock pattern to thicker yarn.
I use 6ply which is between 4ply and DK (8ply) in weight and seems to be a yarn that’s pretty much just used for socks. It makes a lovely thick fabric, yet not so thick that it feels like a slipper. I’ve discovered that it’s best to use proper sock yarn as it will have some nylon in it which will help to hold the shape and make the socks more hard-wearing. I did have the bright idea once of using stash DK but I wasn’t as happy with the socks when I’d finished with them so now I stick to only using sock yarn. Feel free to experiment for yourself though!
I’ve also discovered that the thickness of yarns can vary from brand to brand and even sometimes within a brand. My own experience is that Regia yarn can be slightly thinner than, say, Trekking XXL or Opal. This sock pattern was written for the Regia yarn stated in the pattern and for these particular socks I’ve cast on 48 stitches. With another yarn, I would probably cast on 44 stitches for a pair of boot socks. It’s worth trying your socks on as soon as you can so that you can see if they are going to be the right size for you.
If you’ve seen my Basic 4ply Socks pattern, you’ll known that my preference is for a 30cm circular needle and there are a couple of tips on that tutorial page with regards to casting on with a tiny circular that you might want to take a look at if you’re going to be using one for the first time.
Right – ready to get going?
Basic socks in 6 ply yarn
(you can download a PDF copy of the pattern here)
These socks are constructed as top down socks with a gusset heel.The heel is knitted in heel stitch which creates a durable, cushioned heel. This pattern will create a medium-sized sock. If you want to make the pattern bigger or smaller, simply increase or decrease the number of cast-on stitches by 4, but remember that you will need to make adjustments when you turn the heel. If you need help working out how many to cast on, have a look at this tutorial from the Sockalong.
3.0mm needles – I use a 30cm circular needle but DPNs or magic loop will also work
1 x 150g ball of 6ply sock yarn – yarn picture is Regia Classic Tweed 6ply in shade 90 (2021 update – now discontinued)
1 pair DPNs size 3.5mm (optional)
1 pair DPNs size 3.0mm (in addition to a circular needle)
Note: I cast on using DPNs then change to my circular needle – it’s not possible to cast on using the circular as it’s too small. If you want to use magic loop you will be able to cast on with the larger circular needle. If you use DPNs, you might find it easiest to cast on and work 2 rows before dividing the stitches across the needles.
To adjust the size for this sock, just add or remove stitches in blocks of 4 from the cast on total. For example, if knitting a man’s sock I would cast on 52 or 56 stitches. Remember that you will need to make adjustments when turning the heel if you use extra stitches.
24 sts and 36 rows to 4 inches
Cast on 48 stitches using 3.5mm needle (this is optional – I find that casting on with a larger needle gives a looser edge for getting your foot in and out of the sock but it’s fine to cast on with the needle size you intend to use).
Row 1: K2, P2, repeat to end, turn
Row 2: K2, P2, repeat to end
Change to 3.0mm needles. At this point, change to a small circular, magic loop or divide the stitches evenly across three or four DPNs according to preference and join into a circle, place marker.
Continue in K2, P2 rib for 10 more rounds or until desired length of rib (I knit 12 rounds of rib).
Continue to knit each round until desired length before start of heel (for me, this is 64 rounds in total including the rib).
If you are knitting with a 30cm circular needles, you will find it easier to change to 3.0mm DPNs. At this point, I tuck the ends of my needle down inside my sock so that it doesn’t get in the way. If you are using DPNs or magic loop, you don’t need to change needles.
You are going to create the heel flap from half the number of stitches that you cast on, so if you have cast on more or less than 48 stitches, remember to adjust the number of stitches when you start the heel flap.
Row 1: K2, *Sl1, K1* until you have 24 stitches on your needle, turn
Row 2: Sl1, P to end, turn
Row 3: *Sl1, K1* to end, turn
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until heel measures approximately 2 inches, finishing on row 3 (approx 21 rows) . If you want to make the heel flap longer, continuing knitting rows 2 and 3 until you reach the desired length, but remember that you will need to pick up more stitches to create the gusset.
The fabric will be different on both sides: a ridged stitch on the right side …
and a slipped stitch on the wrong side. This gives the cushioned heel.
*For a larger or smaller sock, you will need to alter the number of purl stitches in the first row of the heel (marked in bold below), increasing by 1 stitch for each block of 4 stitches extra that you cast on, or decreasing by 1 stitch for each block of 4 stitches less than 48 stitches. For example, if you cast on 52 stitches, your first row would be Sl1, P14, P2tog, P1, turn*
Row 1: Sl1, P13, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 2: Sl1, K5, SSK, K1, turn
Row 3: Sl1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 4: Sl1, K7, SSK, K1, turn
Create the SSK stitch by slipping the first stitch on the left hand needle knitwise onto the right hand needle, then the second stitch on the left hand needle purlwise onto the right hand needle, transfer them both back to the left hand needle and knit them together through the back of the stitches.
You can always tell where you’re up to as there will be a gap between the last stitch worked on the previous row and the stitches that are still be included in the heel.
Continue in this way, increasing one stitch between slip stitch and SSK or P2tog on each row until all of the heel stitches are used.
This is what the heel looks like on the SSK side (left)
and the P2tog side (right):
Knit across heel stitches if required to bring you to the left hand side of the heel ready to pick up 13 stitches. Remember that if you made the heel flap bigger, you will need to pick up more stitches. When you pick up the stitches, you will notice that you have a line of bigger stitches at each edge of the heel flap. This is created by the slip stitch at the start of each row and will make it easier to pick up the stitches.
Pick up the stitch in the inside of each slipped stitch (shown where the needle is inserted into the stitch on the picture).
This will give you a nice neat line once you have picked up all of your stitches.
Once you have picked up the stitches, place marker. Knit across the top of the foot (I usually knit back onto my circular needle at this point), place marker, then pick up 13 stitches (or more if required) up the other side of the heel. Knit across the top of the heel and then shape gusset as below.
Round 1: K to 3 sts before the marker, K2tog, K1, slip marker, knit to next marker, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to marker.
Round 2: Slip marker, knit to next next marker, slip marker, knit to 3 sts before marker.
Round 3: K2tog, K1, slip marker, knit to next marker, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to marker.
Repeat rounds 2 and 3 to shape the gusset and continue in this way, decreasing by two stitches at the gusset on every other row until there are 48 stitches on the needle.
Once you have 48 stitches again, continue to knit each round until you reach approximately 3cm before the desired length ready to start the toes. For my size 5 feet, this is about 46 rounds. Don’t be afraid to try your sock on before decreasing for the toes!
At some point whilst decreasing for the toes, if you are using a small circular you will need to change back to DPNs as the number of stitches becomes too small for the circular. It’s up to you when you choose to do that, and how you distribute the stitches across the needles; just keep following the pattern as set below. Create the toes as follows:
Round 1: K1, SSK, K18 sts, K2tog, K1, place marker, K1, SSK, K18 sts, K2tog, K1
Round 2: Knit one round, slipping markers as you come to them
Round 3: K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1
Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until you have 28 stitches left and divide these between two needles so that front and back of socks match.
Graft toes using Kitchener stitch. If you’ve used my basic sock pattern, you’ll have seen these instructions before but if not, then hopefully this will take some of the confusion of it! Just take it slowly and graft each toe in one go (don’t start and then leave it half-way through or disaster is guaranteed!). Cut a long length of yarn and thread it onto a wool needle. I’m giving you right-handed instructions here.
1 Hold the two DPNs with your left hand. Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and pull the yarn through. Don’t take the stitch off the DPN.
Next, insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the back DPN. Don’t take the stitch off.
2 Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and slip it off. (No, you haven’t gone mad, I realised that I hadn’t taken photos of this particular step so these are pictures from my basic sock tutorial!)
Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the second stitch on the front DPN and don’t slip it off.
3 Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the first stitch on the back DPN and slip it off.
Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the second stitch on the back DPN and don’t slip it off.
4 Repeat 2 and 3 until you get to the last two stitches on the DPNs. You will already have taken the yarn through the front stitch so after you have taken the yarn through the back stitch, you can slip both stitches off the DPN. The single yarn thread through the first stitch will be strong enough to hold it and it will sit flatter when you weave the end back into your sock.
And there’s your sock! Make another one to match and you’re good to go. This pattern is also listed on Ravelry so if you have enjoyed using it then please consider linking to the pattern so that I can see your socks – I always love to see people’s socks!
This sock pattern is free and will always remain so, but if you have enjoyed using it and would like to make a donation towards future projects, it will be gratefully received! You can find the donation button on the sidebar on the left hand side. Thank you! xx