Toddler Socks

Like most four year olds, my son can display stunning defiance, like last week when I asked him to take my first Toddler Sock for a test drive. After some coaxing, begging and finally bribery, I succeeded in getting the sock on his foot. Determining that it indeed fit, I reached down to remove the sock and was met with even more resistence, "Uh-uh, I'm never taking it off!" At last I had to admit defeat, because let's face it, hand knit socks are a total delight!

These simple socks are so cute and cozy, even a toddler can appreciate them. Plus, little socks for little people are really fun to make. All the fascination of sock knitting is in fast forward with one interesting step right after another, kind of like a great short story!

I knit up these Toddler Socks in Koigu Premium Merino, one of our all-time favorite merinos. Soft, machine washable, stretchy, and gorgeously hand-dyed, KPM is the ultimate yarn for adorable socks and happy little feet. And all four skeins I used to make all four pairs of socks are available in one Purl Soho yarn kit. Pick up either our pink and aqua or orange and aqua colorway right here!

To take a peak of my son, Bear, wearing his favorite color pink socks, check out Purl Soho's March 2013 Instagram feed right here. And to get started making your own Toddler Socks, read on! -Whitney


The Materials

  • Koigu Premium Merino, 100% merino wool. The colors above are, from the left, 1155, 1503, 1051, and 1010.5.
    • One skein will make one pair of socks (to ensure you don't run out of yarn, the final foot length for the 4-5 size should not exceed 5 3/4 inches, unstretched [7 inches stretched]).

  • You can pick up all four skeins of Koigu Premium Merino in one place right here! Choose either a pink or an orange pop of color and make four pairs of socks in either size! The Orange kit includes the colors 2200, 1503, 1051, and 1010.5 (shown above, from the left).


The Pattern


1/4 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Finished Sizes

2-3 years (4-5 years)

Foot circumference: 5 1/3 (6 1/3) inches, unstretched; 7 (8) inches, stretched

Foot Length: 5 (5 3/4) inches, unstretched; 6 1/4 (7) inches, stretched. The length is easily adjustable.

(Again, if you're hoping to get one pair out of one skein of KPM, the final foot length for the 4-5 size should not exceed 5 3/4 inches, unstretched [7 inches stretched]).


Here are the four color combinations that I used (if you have the Orange set of yarns, just replace 1155 with 2200):

  • Color A - 1155; Color B - 1503
  • Color A - 1503; Color B - 1051
  • Color A - 1051; Color B - 1010.5
  • Color A - 1010.5; Color B - 1155

The photos in this pattern show the 2-3 year size.


The Leg

With Color A, cast on 44 (52) stitches.

Join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Round 1: *K2, p2, repeat from * to end of the round.

Repeat Round 1 until piece measures 3 (4) inches from cast one edge.

Cut yarn.

The Heel Flap

With Color B, knit 11 (13) stitches and turn the work so the purl side of the fabric is facing you.

Purl 22 (26) stitches. (The 22 [26] stitches that you just purled are the beginning of the heel flap. For this section, you will be working back and forth on just these 22 [26] stitches.)

Arrange the stitches so that the 22 [26] heel flap stitches are on one needle. Put the remaining stitches on hold on two needles (11 [13] stitches each).

(Again, work the following rows back and forth, turning the work between each row.)

Row 1 (right side): *Slip 1 purlwise, k1, repeat from * to end of 22 [26] stitches.

Row 2 (wrong side): Slip 1 purlwise, purl to end of 22 [26] stitches.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 nine (eleven) more times.

Turning the Heel

Still just working the heel flap stitches:

Row 1 (right side): K13 (15), ssk, k1, turn the work so the wrong side is facing you and there are 15 (17) stitches on the left needle and 6 (8) stitches on the right needle.

Row 2 (wrong side): Slip 1 purlwise, p5, p2tog, p1, turn the work.

Row 3: Slip 1 purlwise, knit to 1 stitch before the gap, ssk (with the stitch before the gap and the stitch after the gap), k1, turn.

Row 4: Slip 1 purlwise, purl to 1 stitch before the gap, p2tog, p1, turn.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 until all the heel stitches have been worked and 14 (16) stitches remain on the needle.

The Gusset

Knit across the 14 (16) heel stitches.

With the same needle (now called "needle #1"), pick up 11 (13) stitches along the edge of the heel flap. (25 [29] stitches on needle #1)

With a new needle (needle #2), knit across the 22 (26) stitches that have been on hold.

With a new needle (needle #3), pick up 11 (13) stitches along the other side of the heel flap.

Still with needle #3, knit 7 (8) stitches from needle #1.

Now there are 18 (21) stitches on needle #1, 22 (26) stitches on needle #2, and 18 (21) stitches on needle #3. The first stitch of needle #1, at middle of the heel, is now the beginning of the round.

Round 1: Needle #1 - knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle #2 - knit all the stitches. Needle #3 - k1, ssk, knit to end.

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 44 (52) total stitches remain.

The Foot

Knit evenly until the piece measures 1 1/4 (1 1/2) inches less than the desired final length, measuring from the back edge of the heel and gently stretching the foot. (I knit the 2-3 year size to 3 3/4 inches [unstretched] and the 4-5 year size to 4 1/4 inches [unstretched]).

The Toe

Round 1: Needle #1 - knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle #2 - K1, ssk, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. Needle #3 - k1, ssk, knit to end.

Round 2: Knit.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 28 (32) total stitches remain.

Then, repeat just Round 1 until 12 total stitches remain.

With Needle #3, knit 3 stitches from Needle #1 so that there are 6 stitches on each of two needles.

Use the Kitchener Stitch to close the toe.

Weave in all the ends, then get started on your second sock!

19 Responses to Toddler Socks

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  1. susan says:

    Is there a way to size the pattern up to fit a 7 yo?? I would love to make these for my daughter!! Thanks!
    suzyq720 – on twitter and instagram
    suzysticks – on ravelry

  2. shirley isaacs says:

    gorgeous yarn and colours – and many thanks for the sock pattern.

  3. purl bee says:

    Hi Susan,

    You could follow this pattern at a different gauge and end up with a good fit for a seven year old. If you knit at 8 stitches to the inch (instead of 8 1/4), your finished foot circumference would be 6 1/2 inches; and if you knit at 7 3/4 stitches to the inch, your socks would be 6 3/4 inches around.

    Of course, you would also want to adjust the cuff length to maybe 5 inches and the foot length to whatever length your daughter's foot is.

    I hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions and good luck!


  4. kelly says:

    Hi Whitney! I've never attempted socks before, but this looks like a good place to start! I'm wondering if there is a yarn that you could recommend to make these slip resistant? That might be a silly question, but my son is still a new(ish) walker, and gets going a pretty good speed on our hardwoods. Thought I'd ask! Thanks!

  5. purl bee says:

    Hi Kelly,

    What an interesting question! I have never heard of a yarn like that, although there are leather bottoms available that people sew to the soles of hand knit socks. One brand I found doing a quick Google search is called Regia. There are probably others too!

    Thanks for asking and good luck!


  6. Lauren says:

    Not sure if you'd want to put this stuff on a hand-knitted item, but I've heard of people using this for the bottoms of slippers and socks. It's a clear, anti-slip spray. I think you can buy it in hardware stores like Lowe's or Home Depot. Or, you can order it online. :)

  7. Sharon says:

    Is there a printable version of this pattern?

  8. purl bee says:

    Hi Sharon-

    You can print this pattern by clicking the "print" icon at the bottom of the pattern. Because of all of the photos however it will be very long (16 pages!) If you'd just like to print the text and a few select pictures we suggest that you copy and paste the text and whatever photos you need into a Word or Text document and print from there.

    Thank you so much for getting in touch and good luck with the project!


  9. Deb says:

    I made my first sock thanks to this careful and thorough explanation. I so appreciate your time and excellent photos for this sock pattern. I've bought several books and pamphlets for making socks over the past 15 years and have never been able to get past the heel flap. I followed your instructions and completed my first sock. It is adorable and I am so excited because socks are so practical and functional.

  10. annette says:

    just wondering…when your toddler grows up how do you adjust the pattern..i now have a 5 and 7 year old!!!

    thank you

  11. cathy says:

    I would like to make a pair for my self , could you please tell me how many stitches I would need to cast on ? to make these beautiful socks (I'm an adult) I wear a shoe size 6 1/2 or 7 if u could give me for both sizes too . thank you :)

    im not very good at figuring out the adjustment ~~~~

  12. purl bee says:

    Hi Cathy,

    I'd recommend following our Tulip Sock pattern ( which uses the same yarn and is sized for women. Of course, instead of knitting the fair isle section, you will work the cuff and leg in a 2 x 2 rib. Otherwise, everything is the same!

    Thanks for your question and please let us know if you have any others!


  13. Shawna says:

    Thanks for the pattern! I had knit up another child's sock pattern before and wasn't enthralled with the way it turned out. This one way way better, so I am glad to see it wasn't (entirely!!) due to my novice skills. Thanks, this will go into my repeat pattern rotation!

  14. Nancy says:

    Hi- I see someone already posted the question of a pattern adjustment for an adult sized sock and you recommended the Fair Isle Tulip Pattern. Is there any way that someone could possibly take the time to adjust THIS sock? For us novice sock makers, it would be soooo helpful if someone could please do this only because this is the best pattern I have EVER seen for someone new to socks to follow, and for many this could be a "go to" pattern for many socks to come!

    Thanks so much!

  15. purl bee says:

    Hi Nancy-

    We will consider it but unfortunately we just don't have time right now. Using the numbers of the Tulip Socks, as Whitney suggested earlier really isn't that difficult and if you have any questions along the way we would be happy to help. We also recommend our Perfect Fit socks: as a great "go to" sock!

    Thank you for your question!


  16. Christina says:

    My grandson is two and would like to make this cute socks for him. This is my first time knitting socks, so I need some help. How many stitches should I cast on since he is only two. Thank you so much in advance, I can help it, they are so darn cute I need to make them!

  17. purl bee says:

    HI Christina,

    You should follow the direction for the 2-3 size, which is a cast on of 44 stitches. Continue to follow the first set of instructions, i.e. the number before the parentheses.

    I hope this gets you on the right path and that your grandson loves his special socks! Please let us know if you have any more questions and good luck!


  18. Caryn Hart says:

    I just want to know how wide the top of the small size is supposed to be (the ribbing), because I am concerned that it could be too small. The gauge on the pattern does not give this info, and I would like to know before I have completed too much of the pattern.

    Thank you!

  19. purl bee says:

    Hi Caryn,

    The small size's cuff is 4 inches unstretched and about 8 1/2 inches stretched. In theory, if you stockinette gauge is correct, then your rib gauge will be correct too!

    Thanks for asking and please let us know if you have any other questions!


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