OK....I'm changing up this pattern.
I'm leaving the old version as is. For years now, I've been quietly sharing a different pattern. It works, it's comfortable, and it is a bit different than this one. It is toe up, but the toe is wider and the heel is more generous. The heel is a toe up flap, instead of short rows.
This is my master pattern for crocheted socks. It is quick and easy, and uses one skein of Bernat Sox! sock yarn, which has enough yarn in one skein to do a pair of socks whether they are knit or crochet, unless your feet are really big. Then you have to buy two skeins, but it's still a $10 pair of socks. You can get this yarn at Zellers. It is 50/50 acrylic and nylon, so although it is preferable to handwash your socks, they can be accidentally (sometimes on purpose!!) thrown in the washing machine and dryer with the rest of your clothes and they won't come out looking like some sad sodden lump of compost. Still, though, if you machine wash your socks, at least do them the dignity of air-drying them. For some reason, machine dried knit and crocheted socks made from synthetic yarn just get so soft and LOOSE that they become little more than odd-looking dish rags.
Anyway - on with the pattern!!!
Gauge: about 5 sc/1"
Yarn: Bernat Sox
This hook with a smooth, synthetic sock-weight yarn like Bernat produces a sock that fits comfortably with little negative ease. If you want a bit of stretch in your sock (you want it smaller than your foot) then use a 3.25mm hook. This is what I have been doing lately, although I like the nice fit the 3.5mm hook gives. It's like the difference between boot cut and slim fit jeans. Both are nice, both are comfortable, and I like them on different days. Make a pair with each hook size and see what you like best. However, this pattern is written around a 3.5mm hook, so you will have some fitting to do.
To make any sock in any method, you need three measurements: the length of your foot, the measurement around your ankle, and the width at about the widest part of your foot; around the ball of your feet. For me, I make my socks about an inch shorter than my foot and an inch narrower than the ball of my feet. This gives me just enough stretch to be happy. You will figure this out by using the gauge measurement. If you can't get 5 single crochet to one inch using a 3.5mm hook, working in the round without chaining or turning, then use whatever hook you need, to give that measurement if you are using this pattern.
To start off, chain 10. Flip the foundation chain over and working the bottom bump of each chain, instead of the top loops. Starting in the second chain from the hook, work 9 slip stitches across the underside of the foundation chain. Turn the chain over and keep on going across the top loops, except that you will work 9 single crochet in those. Continue on the underside, working 9 single crochet into the the 9 slip stitches you made earlier. Stop and have a look at what you've made. You've gone right around your foundation chain and should have something that looks like an oval with two short sides on either end. Take split ring markers and mark those side edge stitches. As you shape the toe, you will be removing those markers, putting a single crochet in that stitch and replacing the marker before you carry on. There should be 18 sc. If not, slap yourself on the knuckles and start over.
In this example below, the yarn is bulkier and the hook is bigger, but the idea is still the same:
Please note: do not join and turn your work. You will be crocheting in a spiral, not a circle, so make full use of stitch markers to know where your place is, during toe shaping.
I start my "round" (because up until now it has had no official beginning or end) on the closest marked side stitch to my hook. Work this stitch, replace the marker, then in the next stitch work 2 single crochet. Work even in sc to the stitch before the next marked stitch and place 2 sc in that one. Place 1 sc in the marked stitch, replace the marker and place 2 sc in the stitch right after it. Work even in sc up to the last stitch of your round (the one before this marker coming up) and place 2 sc in it.
What you are doing is increasing before and after each marked stitch. This means that you will have four increases per round.
Repeat Round 1.
Work even in sc around, replacing markers as you go. "Work even" means no increasing or decreasing, just work for stitch for stitch.
Repeat rounds 2 & 3 so that you are alternating: one round is an increase round and one round is a work-even round. For a shoe size 8-9 (that's me!!!) work up to 42 stitches - that's a shade over 8 inches. This gives a little stretch around the ball of my foot, which is larger than that. This is where that measurement comes in. For every size smaller or larger, add or subtract 4 stitches. So, if you are a size 7, work up to 38 stitches. And remember, if you like your sock a little tighter than I like mine, go another size down.
For the rest of this pattern, I will assume, for the sake of brevity, that you and I have the same sized foot. I will also assume that you are bright enough to fill in your own numbers based on your own measurements:)
Your markers will move. One will appear to go up and one will move down, just like a yin and yang symbol. Don't sweat it. If you flatten out your toe, you will see that it still looks like a toe.
When you get to your proper amount of stitches, discontinue the increases and work even in a spiral, crocheting around and around. Try on your sock as you go and when it gets to be about 6 inches or 6 1/4" long (if you happen to be a US size 8-9) - OR almost to your ankle bone OR 1 1/2 - 2" shorter than the length of your foot - there are different way to gauge this. Try it on. If it looks like half a sock and it's getting close to where the heel would begin on your foot, it's time to start shaping the heel. This sock is ready for heel shaping:
Shaping the heel:
I prefer a short-row heel. I also like "afterthought heels" but I dislike cutting yarn partway through and I hate sewing. Short row heels require no cutting yarn, no fastening off and no reattaching anything, unless you want to switch colours for the heel. If you do your sock like me, then you have two ends to weave in: one at the toe and one at the cuff, and that's the way I like it!!!!!
To begin shaping the heel, flatten out your sock and isolate the side edges. Mark one side edge and work your way to it. Work the marked stitch and then count off 24 stitches. Sc in each one of them, chain 1, turn, and single crochet back across just them. Chain one, turn, and sc across 23 stitches. Chain 1, turn, and work your way back across 22 stitches. Do this, reducing the amount row by row, until you have 11 stitches.
If you want a narrower heel then dvide your total stitches in half and work the heel on them, down to about 9 stitches. I like a little bit of a roomier heel so I divide in half and then add a couple of extra. Most sock patterns are very predictable: the body of the sock is 100% of the stitches and the heel is 50% of the stitches.
Once you have 11 stitches, begin the process of building them back up. Chain one, turn, and sc back across these 11 stitches. Work a sc into the side edge of the "stair step" formation that you have created with your decreases, and work a sc into the next unworked stitch. Now slip stitch into the side edge below that, turn, do not chain, skip your slip stitch and sc back across your 11 sc plus the 2 new ones you created, for a grand total of 13 sc.
Now I work a slip stitch into the next side edge below that, and turn:
But don't stop there....now the fun is just beginning!!!!
After you've turned and worked your way back to the other side, do the same that you just did to get two new stitches previously: single crochet into the side edge, single crochet into the next unworked stitch, and then slip stitch into the side edge below that. Turn, do not chain, skip your slip stitch, and work back across that row, for a total of 15 sc.
When you get to the end of that row, instead of increasing by two sc now, you will only be increasing by one. Keeping your work firm to avoid holes, place a sc into the next unused stitch in the row below, slip stitch into the side edge below it, turn, and carry on across as before.
If you find that there is a hole forming in your heel because you are not increasing by twos now, don't fret. Here is what I do when I start picking up one stitch at the end of each row:
You can't increase by twos now because you'll pick up too many extra stitches. To compensate for this, most pattern designers tell you to do what I just did: keep the tension firm and make sure you work that stitch somewhat tightly. This can backfire though, because it makes it difficult to maneuver in what is already an odd spot. Instead of increasing by two then, and instead of increasing by one but chancing a hole in your "seam" where the cup-shaped heel is being created, insert your hook into the side edge and yarn over, drawing up a loop as if to make a single crochet, then insert your hook into the actual stitch you are supposed to work, yarn over and draw up a loop, and then yarn over and draw through all the loops on your hook. This is called a "single crochet two together" (sc2tog) and its a way of making one stitch take two spots so that you have a nice, neat diagonal line where the two halves of your short-rowed heel come together.
If your eyes are crossed that's okay. At some point I'll have pictures, but for now just trust the pattern, take a deep breath, and do it. It's not rocket science. Give yourself permission to take my name in vain (my name is Nicole, by the way, for future curse-throwing reference, although I prefer to be called by my traditional Cape Bretonese Clan name "That one"), curse, throw the sock across the room, and have a shot of something strong.
Then, haul up your Big Girl Panties and get back to it.
In this image, I am working a sc into the side edge:
In this image, I am working a sc into one of the skipped stitches that created the stair steps that were the first half of my heel:
When you've put picked up all 24 (insert your number here) of your original heel stitches back up, work a sc3tog (single crochet three together) in that mystical, magical no-man's land where the heel ends and the rest of the sock begins. Its a maddening little corner-shaped area that frequently has holes in it because many people don't put anything in there. Don't be that person, damnit!!! If you find, as I sometimes do, that I have one "extra" stitch to pick up, yet I've already increased the right amount, then again, don't fret. One of the joys of crochet is that you can fudge without it being terribly obvious. Do a sc4tog or sc3tog, do what you have to do, LOL, to make sure that once you are working in the round again, you are working on your original amount of stitches (in my case, 42).
If you look at what you've made now, it should resemble a medieval shoe belonging to a peasant that toils in the fields for his feudal overlord.
By now you've probably figured out that crocheted socks aren't like knitted socks - no, no. Knitting in the round produces a fabric that is much more tubular than crochet. In the round, single crochet is very sturdy and structured, but not as stretchy as knitting, so your sock can not have several inches of negative ease. In most cases, you are keeping close to your actual measurements when you crochet a sock, so they look a little like......
Keebler Elf shoes.
This is something that the crochet books don't tell you, hee, hee, hee. You see dandy pictures of happy feet wearing beautiful looking socks and when you see yours, you start to panic a little. Don't cry. They will fit your feet nicely. No one will think you're a hobbit wearing floppy boots.
If you've gotten this far then you're working on the leg. The first sock will take a while but once you get going, the nice thing about crocheted socks is that like crocheted mittens, they can be made very quickly. Crochet works up much more quickly than knitting, so what takes you all week to knit can take just a few hours with crochet, hence it has become my yarnwhoring technique of choice over the last few years.
Work the leg in a spiral, stopping to try your sock on. You may want to do some decrease stitches so that the leg portion isn't really baggy. Do these by doing four sc2tog at evenly spaced intervals, so that you decrease by not quite an inch. Work a few rounds even, and then try it on. Decrease some more if you like but don't make the hole so small that you can't get your foot into it. When the leg is as long as you want it, stop. I did February's socks with one skein of Bernat Sox. The leg was somewhat lacy owing to the V-stitches, but I still had yarn left over. The average sock has a leg that is about 5-7" long. Most of the time I make ankle socks or I stop about three inches above my ankles because my socks will only end up getting folded down anyway.
Cut the yarn, fasten off, weave in your ends, and put your sock on!!!! Yay, you did it!!! Now make the other one before your other foot gets cold:)