Afterthought heel

When I first began making toe up socks the hardest part for me was to figure out when to start making the heel. The math itself is not difficult but still it takes some time. I have saved you some trouble and I made this simple patternator which gives you the instructions of how to make an afterthought heel for your toe up sock (actually the pattern is exactly the same for cuff down socks as well). All you need to know is the amount of stitches you have per sock and your row gauge. You can easily measure the row gauge after you have finished the toe or leg so there is no need to make a swatch. See also patterns for the german short row heel and the gusset heel.

Afterthoughtheel pattern for any yarn and gauge
The pattern on the image is the Harebell socks pattern.

The pattern is written for magic loop method, but can be adjusted for dpn’s. Your stitches should be divided evenly on two needles.

 sts on my needles  rows / 4” (10cm).


Beginning your sock from toe, work until your foot measures 2” (5 cm) less than desired length. If you are making your sock cuff down work until your leg measures 2” (5 cm) less than desired length.

Heel placement

Needle 1: k all sts.

Needle 2: Take a piece of scrap yarn in a different colour and leaving the working yarn aside, use it to k the sts on Needle 2. Then, transfer all those sts back to the left needle (without twisting) and k over the scrap yarn using the working yarn.

Continue working the sock and start making the heel after you are finished with rest of the sock.

If you are making your sock cuff down your work should measure from scrap yarn to toe desired length minus 2” (5 cm).

Making the heel

Remove the waste yarn, placing the live stitches onto two needles.You should now have a total of 56 sts, 28 sts on each needle.


Needle 1: k all, pickup and knit 1 st between the Needle 1 and Needle 2

Needle 2: Work the same way as Needle 1.

TIP: See this very helpful video tutorial of how to pick up stitches for an afterthought heel without any gaps or holes.

You should now have a total of 58 sts divided evenly on two needles.


Needle 1: k1, ssk, k to 2 sts from end, k2tog.

Needle 2: Work the same way as Needle 1.


Needle 1: k all sts.

Needle 2: Work the same way as Needle 1.

Repeat rounds 2 & 3 until you have 26 sts remaining.
Break the yarn leaving approximately 12’’ inc (30cm) tail. Close the toe using kitcheners stitch. If kitcheners stitch is not familiar technique please see this tutorial.


k = Knit

k2tog =Knit 2 stitches together

p = Purl

ssk = Slip 1 st kwise, slip another st kwise, then slide the left-hand needle into the front part of both stitches and knit them together.

st = stitch

Pin this post!

Heel patterns for toe-up socks

Check out all Knitgrammer’s heel patterns for toe-up socks. They work for any yarn and stitch count.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *