Learn to Knit Simple Toddler Socks

A pair of colorful toddler socks

Sarah E. White

Project Overview
  • Skill Level: Beginner

If you're new to sock knitting and know a toddler, this pair of socks is an great easy project for you to try. These rib-cuff socks are virtually all Stockinette Stitch, so they're quick and easy to knit, and because they're not very big, the potentially scary bits (turning a heel, working a gusset) are over quickly. You'll find some in-depth tutorials as you work through the pattern, so if you need more detailed advice, whether it's on an abbreviation you don't know or how to work with double-pointed needles, you'll find it just a click away.

Sizing / Finished Measurements

The larger size is shown in the photo.

Sizes: 1-3 (4-5) year old foot

Leg Circumference: 4-3/4 (5-1/4) inches

Foot Circumference: 5 (5-1/2) inches

Foot Length: 5 (6) inches


34 stitches and 44 rounds = 4 inches in Stockinette stitch in the round


  • k = knit
  • k2tog = knit 2 sts together
  • p = purl
  • p2tog = purl 2 sts together
  • RS = right side; the side of the fabric facing out
  • rep = repeat
  • rnd(s) = round(s)
  • sl = slip; to transfer st(s) from needle to needle without turning or working it
  • ssk = slip 1 st as if to knit, slip 2nd st as if to knit, insert left needle from left to right and to front of both sts, knit them together through the back loops
  • st(s) = stitch(es)
  • WS = wrong side; the side of the fabric facing in
  • [ ] = repeat instructions within brackets as directed

2x2 Rib in the Round (multiple of 4 sts)

All rnds: *k2, p2; rep from * to end of rnd.


Instructions are given for the smaller size first with the larger size in parentheses. Where only one instruction is given it applies to both sizes.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • US 1 (2.25 mm) double-pointed knitting needles
  • Yarn or tapestry needle
  • Scissors


  • 130 to 145 yard fingering weight yarn


  1. Cuff and Leg

    Cast on 40 (44) stitches. Divide sts evenly onto three needles and join for working in the round, placing marker for beginning of round. Work in 2x2 Rib for 1 inch. Continue in Stockinette stitch (knit every stitch in every round) until piece measures 2 1/2 (3) inches.

  2. Heel Flap

    With instep stitches on hold, work heel on 20 (22) stitches back and forth in rows. Redistribute stitches on set up rnd.

    Setup rnd: with needle 1, k10 (11); with needle 2, k10 (11); with needle 3, k10 (11); slip remaining sts of rnd onto the right end of needle 1—20 (22) sts on needle 1.

    The stitches on needles 2 and 3 are on hold. Continue working flat back and forth with needle 1 and an empty needle as follows:

    Row 1: *sl1, k1; rep from * to end.

    Row 2: sl1, purl to end.

    Rep rows 1 and 2 19 (21) more times, or until heel flap is roughly square, ending with a WS row.


    The slipped-stitch pattern used on the heel provides a denser fabric at a place where socks get a lot of wear. The slipped stitches on the first and last stitches create a chain selvage that is easier to see when you go to pick up stitches in it later, when you make the gusset.

  3. Turn the Heel

    Continue in rows to turn the heel, changing the direction of the fabric. Review common knitting decreases like k2tog and ssk if necessary.

    Row 1 (RS): sl1, k10 (12), ssk, k1, turn work.

    Row 2 (WS): sl1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn work.

    Row 3: sl1, k6, ssk, k1, turn.

    Row 4: sl1, p7, p2tog, p1, turn.

    Row 5: sl1, k8, ssk, k1, turn.

    Row 6: sl1, p9, p2tog, p1, turn.

    Row 7: sl1, k10, ssk, k1, turn.

    Larger Size Only

    Row 8: slip 1, p11, p2tog, p1, turn.

    Row 9: knit.

  4. Gusset

    For the gusset you will be picking up and knitting the slipped stitches of the chain selvage along each side of the heel flap.

    Redistribute sts: the left half of heel flap stay on needle 1, the right half left are placed on the end of needle 3. The working yarn is at the left end of needle 1.

    Next rnd: with needle 1, pick up and knit 10 (11) sts from side of heel flap; with new needle 2, k20 (22) instep sts; with new needle 3, pick up and knit 10 (11) sts from side of heel flap, k10 (11) of other half of heel flap.

    The center of the bottom of the foot is now at the beginning of the round. Place marker for beginning/end of rnd.

    Rnd 1: knit to last 3 sts of needle 1, ssk, k1, k20 (22) instep sts, with needle 3, k1, k2tog, knit to end.

    Rnd 2: knit.

    Rep rnds 1 and 2 until 40 (44) stitches remain. Work even in Stockinette stitch until foot measures 4 (5) inches or desired length from back of heel.

  5. Toe

    Rnd 1: on needle 1, knit to last 3 sts, ssk, k1; on needle 2, k1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1; on needle 3, k1, k2tog, k to end.

    Rnd 2: knit.

    Rep rnds 1 and 2 until 10 (12) sts remain.

    Larger Size Only

    Rep rnd 2 once more—10 (8) sts.

  6. Finishing

    Slip the stitches from needle 3 to the right end of needle 1; you should have 5 (4) stitches on each needle.

    Graft the toe closed, or cinch up the toe like you might the top of a hat.

    Make a second sock. Weave in ends.