Toe-Up Sock Techniques: Part Two

Welcome to part two of our Toe-Up Sock Techniques tutorial! If you joined us last week, you should now have a sock consisting of a toe and a foot. If you missed Part One, please see this post to get started on your sock, then come back and join us here.

This week we're going to go over how to do the heel and leg of your sock.

What You'll Need:
Sock-weight yarn
Size F-5 (3.5mm) crochet hook
Measuring tape
Stitch marker

Note: As explained last week, in the tutorial we are making a baby sock, but the technique is exactly the same if you'd prefer to make a child-sized or adult sock. Also, although we are using sock-weight yarn, you can really use any yarn you want. Thicker yarn will yield more of a slipper-type sock than a sock that can be worn in your shoes, so keep that in mind. And be sure to use a larger hook if using thicker yarn.

Last week we ended with Step 5 (the foot), so we're going to pick right up where we left off.

Step 6: Another Measurement
Before you start the heel of the sock, you'll need just one more measurement: around the widest part of the leg that will be covered by the sock. This may be around the ankle, calf, or even the thigh, depending on how tall you're planning on making the sock. If your socks aren't going to be much higher than the ankle, this measurement will often be the same or close to the Foot Circumference.

Actual Leg Circumference = the widest part of the leg that will be covered by the sock = 6 inches for Little Lovely

Step 7: Just a Couple More Quick Calculations
You're just four math equations away from finishing your sock. Don't give up now!

Maximum Number of Heel Stitches
Remember when we calculated the Number of Stitches Around the Foot last week? Take that number and divide it by two. This is your Maximum Number of Heel Stitches.

Maximum Number of Heel Stitches = Number of Stitches Around the Foot / 2 = 16 for Little Lovely

Minimum Number of Heel Stitches
Now go back to your Starting Chain number from last week and subtract 1. This is your Minimum Number of Heel Stitches.

Minimum Number of Heel Stitches = Starting Chain - 1 = 8 for Little Lovely

Sock Leg Circumference
Remember last week when we calculated our actual foot measurements by 0.9 to give the sock negative ease? We're going to do the same with the Actual Leg Circumference today. Again, you can round to the nearest half inch.

Sock Leg Circumference = Actual Leg Circumference x 0.9 = 5.5 inches (rounded) for Little Lovely

Number of Stitches Around the Leg
We calculate this number the same way we calculated the Number of Stitches Around the Foot last week. Multiply your Sock Leg Circumference by the number of stitches per inch in your gauge square.

Number of Stitches Around the Leg = Sock Leg Circumference x Stitches per Inch = 32 for Little Lovely

That's it! Make sure you write those numbers down before we continue.

Step 8: The Heel
This is the second tricky part in making socks. If you did last week's tutorial correctly, you should have a sock that looks something like this:

Now let's get oriented. Hold your sock so that you're looking at the tip of the toe, with the starting chain lying horizontal. The stitches above the starting chain are going to on be the top of the foot. The stitches below the starting chain are going to be on the bottom of the foot. Got it?

Toe 12

Lie your sock flat again so that the bottom of the foot is on top. Note where your stitches end. On Little Lovely's sock, they end about halfway across the bottom of the foot. That'll never do.

Go ahead and continue whatever stitch pattern you chose until you get to the far left of the bottom of the foot, like so (at this point you can remove the stitch markers):

Toe 14

Now chain 1 and flip the sock over so that the top of the sock is facing up.

Single crochet in each stitch across until you have the Maximum Number of Heel Stitches. You will leave the remaining stitches un-worked, as the heel is going to be worked in what are called "short rows." On Little Lovely's sock, we have 16 single crochets across.

Chain 1 and turn again. Single crochet in each single crochet across, leaving the last single crochet un-worked. You should have one less single crochet in this row than in the previous row.

Repeat the last step until you have the Minimum Number of Heel Stitches. Each row will have one less single crochet than the previous row. When you're done, you should have a flap that looks like a step pyramid. Little Lovely's heel flap ends with 8 single crochets.

Chain 1 and turn. This time work 1 single crochet in every single crochet across...

Toe 20

...then work 1 single crochet in the end of the row below...

...then slip stitch in the un-worked single crochet below that. You should now have one more single crochet than you did in the last row.

Repeat the last three steps until you are back up to the Maximum Number of Heel Stitches. Each row should have one more single crochet than the last row. When you're done, your sock will look like this, with a completed heel:

Step 9: The Leg
If you've made it this far, you're pretty much home free!

Open your sock so that you're looking into it. See that round hole? All you need to do to make the leg is crochet all the way around that. And like the foot, you can use whatever stitch pattern you like. If you use the same stitch pattern as the foot, it will look like a continuous piece.

Begin by continuing your stitch pattern across the back of the heel.

When you get to the foot, slip stitch in the last end of row of the heel, then make your first stitch in the first un-worked stitch of the foot. Place a stitch marker in this stitch to mark the beginning of future rounds.

Now continue your stitch pattern across the top of the foot. When you get back to the heel, slip stitch in the end of the first row of the heel before continuing the stitch pattern across the back of the heel.

Now that you have the first round of the leg done, just continue as you did the foot, working the stitch pattern evenly around each row, and moving the stitch marker up each row to mark the beginning of each round. Continue until the leg of the sock is the desired length.

But wait! Why did we have to calculate the Sock Leg Circumference again? Well the "average" person likely has a leg circumference similar to their foot circumference, in which case you don't really need to worry about the Sock Leg Circumference. However, if your leg is larger or smaller than your foot, than you will need to add or subtract a few stitches each round on the leg until you reach the Number of Stitches Around the Leg that you calculated. I would recommend not adding or subtracting more than 6 stitches in any given round, and folling that round with a round worked evenly. This will make your shaping smooth and gradual.

Once you're done with the leg, you can cut the yarn and call it a day, or you can add a pretty edging to give it a finished look. For Little Lovely's sock, we added a scalloped edging and a little loop to hang it from our Christmas tree.

Fits like a glove! Or a sock, as it were.


  1. Brilliant :-) I've been waiting for this all week. Well done x

  2. Best toe-up crochet sock tutorial I've seen yet. Thanks a bunch!!

  3. hoping to tackle this part tomorrow...thanks again for putting such a fab tutorial for free on your great blog x

  4. AnonymousJune 23, 2013

    After must frustration with multiple sites and videos,YOURS helped me do it right. thank you, thank you thank you.
    I was missing how to get the increases on the heel attached. Maybe even one more picture showing what it looks like to reach down to the next unworked stitch would help even more.

  5. I am not sure what I am doing wrong, but every time I do the second part of the heel I end up with two more stitches than my Maximum Number of Heel Stitches. If I start with 22 and end the pyramid with 12 I end up with 24 stitches at the end of the heel.

    1. You might be missing the very last 2 stitches on either end, which can be hard to see. But honestly, it's better to err with more stitches than less--otherwise your leg might be too tight.

  6. HELP!!!!!!!!!!! This is my first time crocheting socks...I am making the socks the same size as little lovely's for my first time, but I desperately need help on the heel!!!
    Do you repeat the sc across and sc and sl st, or only the sc and sl st???

    Thank you!!!!

    1. You are going to repeat the whole thing--turn, sc in each sc across, then sc in the end of row, and sl st in the unworked sc below that.

    2. Thanks!!! I'm sooooo excited to learn to crochet socks!

  7. I'm not sure what is going on with the short row heel. I have done the single crochets across the last row but, I don't know where to start the next sc and the sl st, I'm still a little lost lol

    1. Are you on the last short row of the heel? Basically you keep going back and forth in rows, but at the end of each row you do one more single crochet on the "step" below the current row you're working on. The slip stitch before that extra single crochet is to keep from having holes in your finished sock.

  8. I too was confused by the second half of the heel. In your instructions, you seem to say that after the last short row, you crochet back along the same row, plus 2 more stitches - a single crochet in the one below (kind of on the side?) and then a slip stitch in the unworked single crochet. But that would give an increase of 2 extra stitches, not 1.

    Then in one of your comment replies, you say to slip stitch, THEN single crochet (the opposite of the instructions).

    Either way I tried, I either had too many increased stitches, or the unworked single crochet seemed to be too far down/away. I ended up crocheting back along the short row, then single crocheting two together - the one below, and the unworked single crochet. I pulled the stitches tight to make sure there were no big holes.

    The instructions make sense in a logical way, they just don't seem to add up with you follow each step. What's your insight on this?

    The rest of the tutorial is fantastic, so thank you.. I have almost completed my first (ever) sock! It's a little stiff - not sure if my stitches are too tight, or if I should have tried a different yarn. I'm using a medium worsted weight (I think). It's a slender yarn, but maybe not the right material?

    1. I apologize for my confusing way of explaining things. You are correct that there are 2 extra stitches in each row after the last short row: first a single crochet, then a slip stitch (I misspoke when I said the slip stitch comes first). But when I do my stitch counts, I do not count slip stitches, which is why I said you are adding only 1 stitch per row, not 2.

      As for stiffness, you may find it helpful to do a sample square in your chosen yarn in the future. You could use worsted weight, but the socks will be quite thick, and you will want to use a much larger hook (I'd recommend starting with a J). In the tutorial, I used sock weight yarn and an F hook. :)

  9. Hi! Since posting my questions in 2014 (that long ago?!), I've made a few pairs of socks for myself and loved ones. I'm documenting my progress, and added some details of my own, on the Reddit crochet board. From the link below you can see pictures of my socks! Let me know what you think!

    1. This is great! Thank you so much for sharing. I'm glad the tutorial has been working out for you.