Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Old fashioned work socks

Both my grandmothers were pros and knitting socks. The 100% wool work socks were a staple. My Grampie Yoston even taught me how to darn them properly without leaving a big bump in the sock (if only I could remember that now). The heel is turned the Justena MacDonald way, I think. If I am wrong, then I am sure my family will correct me. Years ago you could tell who knit the socks by the pattern that was used i.e. heel turn, cast on method, and stripe pattern.The nice thing about wool socks is they still keep you warm when they get wet.

We used these warm woolies whenever we went out fishing early in the spring, skiiing in the winter, or prepared for any other activity where our feet might get cold. Even though I have many fancy patterns for socks, when people ask me for warm winter socks I knit these (usually at least 3 pair a year).

As I was preparing to teach a friend how to knit socks, I typed out the sock pattern. I thought I would post the pattern here for other knitters:

Old Fashioned Work Socks can be found on Ravelry for $1 in the recent version with logos and a nice picture. The older pattern of old-fashioned-work-socks (updated Feb. 8, 2016) is available for free here.

Thanks for the comment that reminded me to update the pattern). I insert the tables for people who want to check off their rows as they do them. Please comment if you find any errors in this pattern or find it hard to understand.



  Melanie McMillan wrote @

Hi Cheryl…I love these socks but seem to be seriously confused with heel turn and just cannot seem to get it to work….could you please help me?

  cherylcan wrote @

Here is my more detailed instructions for the heel turn:

Start in the middle of the back of sock. Place marker middle heel. Change to contrast colour.

Across 14 sts (sl1 k1)

Turn to work back across the stiches you just worked. Slip first stitch then purl across 27 sts. (28 sts on heel. Rest of sts stay on the needles you are not using. Some people choose to put them on a stitch holder.

Continue next 20 rows. First row k1 sl1. Second row purl across. Then you turn heel. (I put boxes in pattern so you can check off as you complete each row.)

Last row K1 S1 to middle marker. At middle marker start to turn heel.
K1 K2tog K1 (do not work rest of stitches on needle) turn needle to work back next row.
Slip 1st P3 P2tog P1 (do not work rest of stitches on needle) turn needle to work back next row.

That should get you started… I have to go proctor rewrites but will post the rest later tonight.

  grimardfamjam wrote @

I am so stuck on your heel turn is there any way you could help me out. Please.

  cherylcan wrote @

So you have completed the 20 some rows of K1 slip1 across, then slip 1 Purl back.

Go to the middle of the heel so 14 sts in (total 28 sts).
row 1: K1, K2tog, K1
row 2: slip 1, P2, P2tog, P1
row 3: slip 1, K3, K2tog, K1
row 4: slip 1, P4 P2tog, P1

Keep going (always knit or purl two together where you turned last row) until you have run out of stitches to end of row.

Change back to MC and pick up stitches to start knitting in the round again.

I hope that helps.

  grimardfamjam wrote @

i think i am confused as to how to get to the middle of the heel, what stitch will i do to get there will i just slip the first stitch then knit 14 stitches

  Samantha S. wrote @

I could be reading it incorrectly. However, I think where you have ended your last row, becomes the middle of the heel. So you work 14 stitches going forward, then turn and work 27 back…. On the last row that that sets, you K1 S1 till you get back to where the marker was.

  cherylcan wrote @

Yes on the last row you K1 S1 for 14 sts, then start the heel turn…. K1 K2tog K1 turn… Slip 1 P4 P2tog P1 turn…

  angela richardson wrote @

Hi I’m trying to download your sock pattern but can’t find the link….can you help me.

  Shelley wrote @

Hi I have bee knitting your sock pattern and love it but I just can’t get the heel I have got the flap part done but not sure on what I am suppose to be doing next

  cherylcan wrote @

Do you have the updated pattern with the details on the heel turn. It should be on ravelry now.

  Luce Durocher wrote @

how many stitches on each needles ?
I am using the 4 needles method. Do I put 18-18-16 ?

  cherylcan wrote @

That is what I do. (Sorry I took so long to reply. End of semester means tons of marking and not much fun screen time).

  Stuart wrote @

Hello! This is my first sock pattern ever and I’m a little confused. The K1 S1 for 14 stitches and turn is in CC, but does the next S1 P27 go across those 14 CC and the previous 14 MC stitches to make it a total of 28?

  cherylcan wrote @

You are exactly right Stuart.

  Lynn jabaut wrote @

Cheryl do you have a Toeless sock pattern in worsted weight for flip flops

  cherylcan wrote @

I do not. Check out Ravelry as there are a number of patterns there.

  Robin wrote @

What shoe size do these socks fit? Excited to make them!

  cherylcan wrote @

They fit me I have a size 9 (Canadian sizes) foot but I generally change the length of the foot for different sizes. I see/read the knitting. According to my knitting group that is not normal, but I just change it so it looks right for different sizes. This is why I started designing. However, I am learning to explain everything.

Tin Can Knits are my guides for the how to of easy to read patterns. Theirs are the best. Check out the Rye Sock by Tin Can Knits for other sizes in worsted yarn. I do have a sock series coming out this fall through Fleece and Harmony (, but I am sure you do not want to wait for that.

  Rosalyn wrote @

What sizes is this pattern. Looking for pattern to fit 12 year old

  cherylcan wrote @

This pattern is adult sizes but you can just use a multiple of 4 less than what I say. What size does the 12 year old wear. An adult small can usually be good for them. The pattern asks you to cast on 52 sts. I would suggest 36 or 40 sts cast on.


  Sara Reid wrote @

Hi, I am trying to do the heel turn and in the written pattern you have S1K1 for the first of the two row repeat for the heel flap, but here and on everyone’s comments it says K1S1. Which do you do?

  cherylcan wrote @

I do s1 k1 at the edge of the heel. However, this pattern is written so that you start in the middle of the heel so you k1, slip 1. Hope that clarifies it.

  Mary wrote @

Starting at the heel this pattering becomes very confusing. I just started knitting. I read all the comments but still can not make sense out of it after a week of trying I am very frustrated. Is there a video or step by step way to do this

  cherylcan wrote @

The updated pattern explains it better and my Basic Worsted Sock pattern explains it best . The heel starts at the beginning of the round but in the middle of the heel.
Simplified Heel flap
Change to CC Knit across 14 sts
Slip 1st st then purl across 27 sts (total 28 sts in heel)
Slip 1 K1 all the way across
Slip 1st st then purl all the way across (repeat last two rows for 20 more rounds)

Turning the Heel:
When you turn the heel you start in the middle of the heel just where you changed to the CC. This means if
you K1 K2tog K1 (that is 4 sts, then 10 are left on that side). The heel has a total of 28 sts (14 on each side).
Turn and purl to the middle then P1 P2tog P1 (total 4 sts on that side so 10 left).
Turn and knit across to midpoint, K2 K2tog K1 and turn (9 sts left).
Continue turning until no more heel sts. remain

I can do a video this weekend on it for you Mary.

  Shirley McKinley wrote @

I was wondering if you could please help me. I want to knit some socks for our grandson, but the pattern that I could see on here, start at older children rather than size 2-6. I tried to get on your site on Ravelry, but have the wrong password, and no matter how many times I tried, I can’t get on.Thanks for any help you could give me, as to if there are smaller sizes, with the heavy weight yarn, like Briggs and Little.
Thanks for any help you could give me

  cherylcan wrote @

Email me directly and I will see what I can do.

  cherylcan wrote @

For people who can get on Ravelry, the ebook of Patterns for CAWcreations 2018 Knitting Calendar has smaller sizes. $15CDN on sale now.

  cherylcan wrote @

I would probably make the toddler socks from my sock series pattern. I cast on 30 sts using using 3 mm needles to get a gauge 20 sts and 24 rnds = 10 cm (4 inches) in St st. I do a 2×1 rib for 7 rounds (or 2.5 cm). Then switch to 3.5 mm needles for the rest of the sock. Hope that helps but email me directly if you need more information.

  Georgina wrote @

After doing the first 2 rows of the heel turn, there will be a little gap made on each end between stitches. Work 3rd row to 1 stitch before gap and work decrease.

  cherylcan wrote @

yes.. you are doing great! I just follow those gaps after the first two rows are established.

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