Knee High Men’s Ribbed Socks


Knee High Men’s Ribbed Socks    a pattern by slightlyharmless

These socks were knit for a Men’s Size 12 recipient.

I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease (worsted weight): 1 skein for contrast toes, heels and cuffs; and a little less than 4 skeins for feet and legs.

I knit these on size 5 needles.

The gauge when laid flat is about 5.5 stitches per inch, but since some of the purls are hidden it looks like 4 stitches per inch – there are purls between the visible knits to account for.

These were Magic Loop, two a a time, toe-up; when you get to the heels, just work one at a time with the other sock on hold on the cable.


Using Contrast Color, CO 12 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast On (24 sts per sock, 48 sts total). If using ML, always repeat for 2nd sock, using a separate ball of yarn.

Knit the first round, and make sure to knit into the back of the stitch for the 2nd half of each sock (the CO leaves them twisted, so you must untwist it as you knit around).

Increase every other round using Kf&b into the leftmost and rightmost stitch on both sides of both socks, then knit the next round even.

Repeat these two rounds 5 more times, giving you a total of 48 stitches per sock. Then knit 1 more round increasing 2 stitches (i.e. into the first stitch of each needle but not the last as before) to give you a total of 50 stitches per sock.

Knit 1 more round in CC, then switch to MC and knit 2 more rounds before switching to ribbing on the instep.

Ribbing Pattern

When stretched, the K1, P1, K1 will create the look of a “column” of knit stitches offset by 2 purl stitches on either side. When relaxed, the single purl between 2 knits will tuck itself out of view, giving it the look of K2P2 ribbing. By starting and ending each repeat with a purl stitch, the pattern of 5 columns is centered over the instep with a single purl on either side.


At 50 stitches per sock, work 5 repeats of the ribbing on side A of both socks, then knit across the bottom of the socks on side B. Continue in this way until you are 2” short of the required foot length.


Make heels with Contrast Color using the Short-Row Heel method. I wrapped 8 stitches on each side of the heel, leaving 9 unwrapped stitches in the middle (8+9+8=25).

Begin wrapping stitches:

Row 1: K to last stitch, wrap 1 and turn work

Row 2: P to last stitch, wrap 1 and turn work.

Row 3: K to 1 st before wrap, wrap and turn.

Row 4: P to 1 st before wrap, wrap and turn.

Repeat Rows 3 & 4 until you have the required number of wrapped sts on each side, ending on the Right Side with yarn in back, having just finished wrapping the final stitch on a purl row, and turning.

Begin unwrapping stitches:

Row 1: K to first wrapped stitch, lift up the wrap and work it by knitting it together with the stitch it was wrapping. Then wrap the next stitch (which will now have two wraps) and turn.

Row 2: P to the first wrapped stitch, lift up the wrap and work it by purling it together with the stitch it was wrapping. Then wrap the next stitch (which will now have two wraps) and turn.

Row 3: K to the next wrapped stitch, lift up both wraps and work them by doing a K3tog with the stitch they were wrapping. Then wrap the next stitch (which will now have two wraps) and turn.

Row 4: P to the next wrapped stitch, lift up both wraps and work them by doing a P3tog with the stitch they were wrapping. Then wrap the next stitch (which will now have two wraps) and turn.

Repeat Rows 3 & 4 until you have unwrapped all but one stitch on either side, ending on the Right Side with yarn in back, having just finished working the 2nd to last wrap, wrapping the last stitch on a purl row, and turning.

(This will leave one unwrapped stitch on each side, one will be worked in the next step, the other should be worked in the following round as you come to it naturally, it will be worked on the RS in the round, rather than on the WR flat.)

Knit across, working the final wraps at the end of the needle. Then repeat the whole process on the 2nd sock, which has been waiting patiently on the cable.


With Main Color, resume the ribbing pattern for the front and back of each sock; at 50 sts per sock, you will be working 10 repeats per sock, beginning and ending each needle with a P1 in order to center the columns evenly. Work in this manner until you reach the beginning of the calf shaping.

Calf Shaping

The calf shaping takes place in the upper two thirds of the length of the leg (measuring roughly from just above the ankle to just below the knee).

To determine where your calf shaping should take place, measure the length of your recipient’s leg as described and refer to the following diagram.

The length of the leg is divided into three roughly equal sections by the blue lines. Each of these sections is again subdivided into three equal sections, marking the sites of all increases and decreases to shape the calves. All incs and decs are to be done on the back (heel side) of the sock, the front (instep side) is to be worked in the established ribbing pattern. Thus, the first 3rd of the leg is worked according to established ribbing pattern.

(Referring to hand drawn diagram on far right): each “column” is represented by a thick black line (there are 5, centered across the back of the sock), the purl stitches have deliberately not been drawn, in order to give a clearer picture to the placement of the increases.

All increases occur in the middle 3rd of the leg, represented by downward pointing triangles.

The first pair occurs at the first subdivision, centered around the middle column. In order to do this, work 2 repeats as usual, increasing into the final purl stitch of the 2nd repeat with a Kf&b, then work 1 more repeat, again increasing into the final purl stitch with a Kf&b, then work 2 more repeats as usual. You will have increased two stitches into the back for a total of 52 sts per sock.

Continue in newly established pattern (there will be two spots where the columns are offset by 3 purl stitches instead of 2).

The second pair of increases occurs at the second subdivision. These will again be centered, but this time around the middle 3 “columns.” Work these increases as before, with a Kf&b, into the first of the pair of purl stitches which offsets the “columns” between which the increase is positioned. You will have increased 2 more stitches, for a total of 54 sts per sock.

Continue working this newly established pattern until it is time to begin the first of 2 decrease rounds.

All decreases occur in the final 3rd of the leg, represented in the diagram by an upward pointing triangle.

The first pair occurs at the first subdivision.

This time, in order to mirror (across the “x-axis”) the increases, you will reverse the order of decreases by first decreasing the outter portion, and then the inner portion.

Work decreases with a P2tog at the points diagrammed.

Refer to this closeup of the increase and decrease positions for further clarity.

Increase and decrease into the first of the two (and the first two of three) purl stitches which offset the “columns” of ribbing.

The remaining decreases will all ocurr at the 2nd subdivision of the upper portion, and there are two steps.

First, decrease back to the original 50 stitch ribbing pattern in the same manner as before, with a P2tog in the remaining inner positions centering the middle column. Then work 2 more rounds in pattern.

For the final round of decreases, work the following over both sides of both socks: P1, *K3, P2tog, repeat from * 3 time, K3, P1. You will have decreased down to 42 stitches, for a snug fit just under the knee. I do this rather than changing needle sizes, though you could just as easily go down a needle size instead of decreasing, but make sure that each “column” is now a K3, in order to make the cuff pull in more than the leg. For a larger calf, incorporate more increases and decreases, doing your best to evenly distribute and mirror them horizontally and vertically. Keep in mind that the ribbing is EXTREMELY stretchy.


With Contrast Color, continue in cuff ribbing for at least 2 inches. Then Bind Off VERY LOOSELY, exaggeratedly loosely, as the cuff will need to pass over the widest part of the calf. The ribbing should be much snugger than the Cast Off in order to keep the sock in position.

These socks were originally knit in Jan/Feb of 2009; the pattern was written out Jan 2010. If you should happen to find errors, or need clarification on any points, please leave your comments below. They are greatly appreciated.

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12 Responses to “Knee High Men’s Ribbed Socks”

  1. BERYL ANN SLY Says:

    I have a friend son in the Navy and he wants some knee high socks to wear to keep warm. Thank you!

    • slightlyharmless Says:

      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry for the extremely late response! I hope your friend’s son is home safe and enjoyed his lovingly knit socks. Happy knitting!

  2. More Awesome Patterns to Check Out! Says:

    […] Men’s Knee Socks […]

  3. Thelma Schoen (@Palenque1978) Says:

    All I can say, at this point, is: Wow!

    I was looking for such a pattern but for a woman. I suppose it could work for a woman, but the number of cast-on stitches would be less. And, everything else (decreasing and increasing) would need to be adjusted, as well. I don’t think I’m up to figuering it out. LOL

    But, someday, I’m going to try this pattern. Of course, I’ll have to learn to knit sock toe-up first. I love knitting socks. Been at it for almost four years now and I’m still intrigued with them. I’ve a knee-high sock pattern for women, but it’s in stockinette. My niece wants them ribbed. Well, she’ll have to be satisfied with stockinette ones, for the present time.

    If and when I attempt your pattern, I’ll get in touch with you when I need help, okay?

    I truly enjoyed reading this pattern. You’re an amazing woman to have figured it out. A genius is what you are. I’m no way a designer, but I can follow patterns. And with the use of there is no stopping me. LOL I actually taught myself to knit socks via the internet and youtube. I use either dpns or circs. I’ve never done the Magic Loop; nor, two socks at the same time. That I do want to learn to do; two at a time.

    Anyhoo… I got carried away… as usual.

    Keep up the good work.

    • slightlyharmless Says:

      Thank you so much!

      I’m not sure how the comments escaped me for so long but sorry for the delay! I think it would probably work for a woman, the simplest way would probably be to use thinner yarn and needles (Maybe DK or sport weight on size 3?) and follow the instructions as written.

      I hope you’ve had the opportunity to knit toe-up socks in the last year, and absolutely, feel free to contact me with questions. I’ve neglected the blog for some time but happy to say it’s back on my radar.

      Youtube and especially those videos on were very useful in teaching me tips and techniques, and it was the Silver’s Sock Tutorial that taught me to knit my first pair of socks!

      Thanks again for the kind words. I hope you get to knit a pair of these socks for yourself or someone you love! Happy knitting!

  4. 123Yarn Says:

    Hi. I have a question about your pattern – is it possible to do your pattern with just one circular needle? I love your pattern, but I’m not quite skilled enough to use 2 circulars at once!

    • slightlyharmless Says:

      Absolutely, in fact the pair pictured was knit two at a time on one big circular needle. I find two circulars to be a bit fidgety, myself!

  5. multicrafty Says:

    these look perfect for my man!! Thank you for the pattern!!

    One question though, and it may be silly to ask, but you said “If using ML, always repeat for 2nd sock, using a separate ball of yarn” and I’m curious as to what exactly this means.

    • slightlyharmless Says:

      You know, rereading that line I’m not sure I really needed to add that, and I think it probably should have said if you’re doing two-at-a-time. What I meant was, the instructions were written out as if it were for a single sock, so I was just reminding you to repeat each step for the 2nd sock if you’re doing, and not to use the same ball of yarn knitting from different ends. Some people like to do that especially if they know they can get a pair from 1 50g ball, but with the color changes that could become a very tangly mess real quick. Hope that wasn’t too confusing.

  6. like this Says:

    Thanks for helping out, fantastic information.
    “Courage comes and goes. Hold on for the next supply.” by Vicki Baum.

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  8. William Says:

    Do you sell these gorgeous socks?

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