A free knitting pattern for cable socks for men – top-down, with an inverted cuff, and mid-calf high
Lately, I have been traveling a lot. And since planes, cars, and trains are not especially the best place for big projects and complicated repeats, I felt compelled to start an easy cable socks knitting pattern. You know, something you can knit without thinking too much, but not so simple it looks boring.
Now, these cable socks are based on my Socke 2 knitting pattern. So, the general recipe is exactly the same. The only difference is that I exchanged the 4×2 rib with a 2×2 rib and added some cable stitch details in the middle. But for your convenience, I included a download form here directly in this article as well.
I love inverted cuffs. They don’t only look amazing, you can also use them to insert a rubber band for an extra neat fit around the calves. You could, of course, skip the instructions for the cuff altogether, and start with the chart right away. As everything is done in a 2×2 rib stitch, it will fit quite snuggly either way.
Depending on your cast on, you could also add the cable pattern one more time on the backside. For men’s socks, I usually try to avoid fancy embellishments. I think a little detail is nice but too much and it will look too playful. Like most sock patterns, this is pretty much unisex, so do whatever you feel works for you.
Note: You could even skip the cables altogether and just knit the ribbing.
Materials you need for the cable socks
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- Altogether 100-150 grams of a fingering weight sock yarn suitable for needles size 2.5 mm. I am using a very lovely yarn by Samelin Dyeworks. You will only need some scraps in pink and brown, and I used around 70 grams in the rust color.
- Double-pointed knitting needles size 2.50 mm. I am using these Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles. My favorite sock needles. You will need two sets if you want to knit the inverted cuff.
- A tapestry needle and scissors
- a measuring tape
- (optional) A crochet hook 2.00 mm for picking up the stitches for the heel. I used the Knitter’s Pride Waves here.
- (optional) Stitch markers
If you have been following me for some time, then you might have noticed that I published a very detailed sock knitting course a couple of months ago. I basically used the scraps from these socks to knit these cable socks here. So, remember that this can be an option.
The cable sock pattern
- Fingering weight yarn for needles size 2.5 mm in 3 colors
- DPNS size 2.5 mm. I am using the Knitter's Pride Karbonz here. You will need to sets (one set can be a needle size smaller, you only need it to pick up stitches)
- A sharp tapestry needle
- Cast on 68 stitches (or however many stitches you need) with color A and a provisional cast-on.
Round 1-24: *k2, p2*
Round 25: Change to color B and knit across
Round 26: Purl
Round 27-51: Knit
Round 52: Start by weaving in the ends from round 25 on the wrong side
Change to color C
Pick up the stitches from the provisional cast-on and knit them together with current row; a bit like a 3-needle bind-off
Round 53: *k2, p2*
Round 54: Continue the 2x2 ribbing and start knitting according to the chart in the center of your socks.
- Start with the heel-flap once you are satisfied with the length of your leg:
Join in color B and knit across half of your stitches (rounded down to the next number dividable by 4; 32 in my case), turn the work around without finishing that round to start the heel flap, and put the remaining stitches on hold. Make sure that the cable motif is right in the center of the other half of the stitches.
Row 1: *Sl1, k1*
Row 2: *Sl1, p1*
Repeat rows 1+2 19 more times or however many you need to cover the distance from your ankle knuckle to your sole (5.5 cm in my case).
- To turn the heel, knit to the exact center of your heel-flap continuing the slipped stitch pattern. And then:
Row 1: K1, SL1, SSK, K1
Row 2: SL1, p3, p2tog, p1
Every right side row: SL1, knit up until 1 stitch before the gap, SSK, k1
Every wrong side row: SL1, purl up until 1 stitch before the gap, p2tog, p1
From here, pick up color C again (and cut color B), place a stitch marker, pick up one stitch from the gap between the last needle and the heel-flap, and then pick up one stitch through every edge stitch of the heel flap (20 in my case) using a crochet hook. Knit across the heel, then pick up stitches from the other side of the heel-flap edge as well. Pick up one additional stitch from the gap, place a stitch marker, and then knit across the remaining stitches you put on hold before you started the heel flap following the cable/2x2 rib stitch pattern.
- Knit the gusset of your sock:
Row 1: Slip the stitch marker, SSK, knit across up until 2 stitches before the next stitch marker, k2tog, knit the remaining stitches.
Row 2: knit
Repeat rows 1+2 until you are back to the original number of stitches (68 in my case)
- Knit the foot
For the FOOT, knit the sole in plain stockinette stitch and continue the cable pattern surrounded by 2x2 ribs on the instep. You can stop knitting the leg once it reaches the middle of your pinky toe. You may consider carrying the stitch markers along, as they mark the places where you need to decrease the toes (but maybe attach them one row below so you don't have to slip them all the time).
- Knit the toes
Join in color BA again (and cut color c). Make sure you have an equal number of stitches on the top and bottom two needles (34 in my case; I need to shuffle around 2 stitches).
Row 1-2: Knit
Row 3: K1, SSK, knit across the first and second needle until there are only 3 stitches left, k2tog, k2, SSK, knit up until 3 stitches before the end of the fourth needle, k2tog, k1
Row 4: knit
Repeat rows 3+4 until you halved the number of stitches (17 in my case), then decrease in every row until you halved the number of stitches again (8 in my case).
Finish the cable socks with a Kitchener stitch. And weave in the ends on the inside.
If you need the chart in a higher resolution or want it as a pdf, you can download that here.
Please note that these socks have no been test knit (unlike all my other patterns). So many asked me to provide a quick recipe and chart, and that’s why I did here. Given enough interest, I might develop a full pattern with different size options.