Striped Crew Socks

I live with a five year old boy, and if you know anyone like that, you've probably noticed how much he likes to chat about dirty socks (and stinky cheese and slimy worms); and so it comes as a welcome respite for me to knit up something that is on the opposite end of that conversational spectrum. These Striped Crew Socks have such an incredibly nice, fresh feeling that all icky talk seems miles away.

A simple one-round stripe takes on a little complexity when a 1 x 1 rib moves into stockinette stitch. I love how the shift from one to the other feels like an optical illusion and, on top of that, how the different stitch patterns serve a practical function: ribbing for anti-gravitational hold on the leg and stockinette for smooth comfort on the foot.

Our favorite sock yarn at Purl Soho is definitely Anzula's Squishy. It's amazingly soft (thank you, cashmere), wonderfully springy (thank you, merino) and totally durable (thank you, nylon). It's also hand dyed in unbelievebaly beautiful colors that feel plucked from nature herself. The Nimbus blue I used here (paired with Au Natural ecru) gives the effect of rippling cool water or windswept skies, just right for a brand new pair of spring socks!

I do love my son's boyish pleasure in the disgusting and the creepy, but I have to admit, I love the quiet elegance of these socks at least as much! - Whitney


  • 2 skeins of Anzula's Squishy, 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon.
    • Contrast Color 1: Au Natural
    • Contrast Color 2: Nimbus


33 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette stitch


To fit most women

Finished Circumference: 7 3/4 inches with adjustable leg height and foot length


For tips on working stripes in the round please visit our Stripes in the Round Tutorial right here.


The Leg

With Contrast Color 1 (CC1), cast 64 stitches on to three double pointed needles.

Place a marker (if you'd like) and join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

NOTE: When I work a 1 x1 rib in the round I have a hard time avoiding a loose column of stitches at the end of each needle. If you're like me, then you might want to rotate the stitches every four or five rounds by slipping two stitches off the end of each needle onto the beginning of the next needle. If you choose to do this, make sure you do use a stitch marker to keep track of the end of the round.

Round 1: *K1, p1, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 six more times.

Next Round: With Contrast Color 2 (CC2), repeat Round 1.

Next Round: With CC1, repeat Round 1.

Repeat last 2 rounds until piece measures 6 1/2 inches from cast on edge, ending with a CC1 round.

NOTE: There is enough leftover yarn to make the Leg at least several inches longer if you'd like.

Cut CC2 and remove the end-of-the-round stitch marker (if you used one).

Heel Flap

Set-Up Row 1: With CC1, [slip 1 purlwise, k1] 8 times. Turn the work so the wrong side is facing you.

Set-Up Row 2: Slip 1 purlwise, p31.

These 32 stitches are the beginning of the Heel Flap. For this section, you will work back and forth on just these 32 stitches. Arrange the stitches so that the 32 Heel Flap stitches are on one needle and the remaining stitches are on hold on two needles [16 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 32 stitches.

Row 2 (wrong side): Slip 1 purlwise, p31.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 sixteen more times.

Turn the Heel

Still just working the Heel Flap stitches with CC1...

Row 1 (right side): K18, ssk, k1, turn the work so the wrong side is facing you and there are 20 stitches on the left needle and 11 stitches on the right needle.

Row 2 (wrong side): Slip 1 purlwise, p5, p2tog, p1, turn the work. [19 stitches on the left needle and 11 stitches on the right needle]

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. (For the last repeat, you will end Row 3 with ssk and Row 4 with p2tog.) You now have 18 Heel stitches.


With the right side facing you and with CC1, k9 Heel stitches.

Join CC2 and with the same needle (now called "Needle #1"), knit the 9 remaining Heel stitches.

With CC2 and Needle #1, pick up 19 stitches along the Heel Flap. [37 stitches on Needle #1]

With CC2 and a new needle (Needle #2), knit across the 32 stitches that have been on hold.

With CC2 and a new needle (Needle #3), pick up 19 stitches along the other side of the Heel Flap.

Still with CC2 and Needle #3, knit 9 stitches from Needle #1.

Now there are 88 total stitches [28 stitches on Needle #1, 32 stitches on Needle #2, and 28 stitches on Needle #3]. The beginning of Needle #1 is the beginning of the round (at the middle of the Heel).

From now on, you will again be working in the round with the right side of the work facing you.

Round 1: With CC1, Needle #1: knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1; Needle #2: knit all the stitches; Needle #3: k1, ssk, knit to end. [2 stitches decreased]

Round 2: With CC2, knit.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 64 total stitches remain [16 stitches on Needle #1, 32 stitches on Needle #2, and 16 stitches on Needle #3].


NOTE: Throughout this section, maintain the stitch counts on each needle as they were at the end of the Gusset section. This will ensure that the Toe is properly placed.

Knit evenly with alternating rounds of CC1 and CC2 until the piece measures 2 inches less than the desired final length, measuring from the back edge of the Heel. Finish with a CC2 round.

Here's a guideline for final sock lengths:

US size 6 shoe (European 37) = 9 inches

US size 7 shoe (38) = 9 1/4 inches

US size 8 shoe (39) = 9 5/8 inches

US size 9 shoe (40) = 10 inches

For example, these socks are for a size 7 1/2 shoe, so I knit the foot until it measures 7 1/2 inches (9 1/2 inches minus 2 inches).


Round 1: With CC1, 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. [4 stitches decreased]

Round 2: With CC2, knit.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 48 total stitches remain [12 stitches on Needle #1; 24 stitches on Needle #2; 12 stitches on Needle #3].

Cut CC2.

With CC1, repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until 32 total stitches remain [8 stitches on Needle #1; 16 stitches on Needle #2; 8 stitches on Needle #3].

Still with CC1, repeat just Round 1 until 12 total stitches remain [3 stitches on Needle #1; 6 stitches on Needle #2; 3 stitches on Needle #3].

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

Cut a 16-inch tail and thread it onto a tapestry needle. Use the Kitchener Stitch to close the toe.

Weave in all the ends, then get started on your second sock! Block both socks when you're finished.

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4 Responses to Striped Crew Socks

  1. Quinn says:

    Very pretty socks! I am tempted to end my yarn-buying moratorium to try that yarn…sounds lovely!
    For sock-knitting in general, I find that putting a sock on four needles and knitting with a fifth eliminates any looseness or laddering issues.

  2. Catherine Sutherland says:

    if I choose to finish with a "star" toe instead, do I still need to stop at two inches before the final foot length, or sooner? Thanks!

  3. purl bee says:

    Hi Catherine,

    This toe is worked over 21 rounds, so if you can count up how many rounds your star toe shaping will require, that would give us a good idea of how soon to stop your foot!

    If you need more help figuring this out, please let us know your exact toe plan and we'll work it out for you.

    Thanks so much for your question and good luck!


  4. eva says:

    Such a nice basic sock pattern… & so well explained.
    Really love the detailed description and photos.
    Thank you so much for putting in so much time and effort!

    ps – would love to see a toe-up sock pattern : )

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