Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Basic Pattern for Knitting a Christmas Stocking

It is that time of year to start some Christmas projects.  Almost every year I make Christmas stockings.  I have made a lot of them in my lifetime.  There are so many patterns and sizes of stockings available.  Just keep in mind that if the stockings are to be used, they need to be large enough to accommodate Santa's treats.  If it is knitted or crocheted there can't be a lot of loose loops inside because they will catch on items.  Otherwise just use your imagination.

Basic knitted Stocking I made for a sample.

This is a basic pattern that I created.  From this pattern you can put in any design as long as it fits.   It can be striped or solid.  I use graph paper and chart out what designs I want to use.  This chart is for the snowflake in the stocking above.  It is over 30 stitches and is repeated for 60 stitches and is 11 rows.

Basic Knitted Christmas Stocking Pattern.

Size 8 Circular Knitting Needle
I like the 12 inch circular but a 16 inch may work.  As long as the stitches fit without pulling.  It was made with a worsted weight yarn.  You can also use 4 double pointed needles-size 8.  This pattern doesn't have a seam.

Cast On 60 Stitches

Knit 1, Purl 1 in ribbing for 5 rows.

Then knit around for 9 rows ( placing a marker to mark the beginning of the round).  This is the area where you will place the name later.  It is the white area in the stocking above.

Next knit round and round for 70 rows (this stocking has 69 rows because that is how the pattern worked out) or desired length to the heel.  I like to mark off each row to keep track of the rows.  It is easy with stripes because you just count the stripes.

Here you can see the ribbing, the area for a name, the marker and the snowflake pattern.

Now it's time for the heel.  Using a double pointed needle, knit 30 stitches for the heel off the circular needle.  Leave the rest of the stitches on the circular to work later for the foot.  It works best if you purl back on those 30 stitches and then work back and forth on two double pointed needles doing the short row method.

This is the short row method, but there are other methods for turning heels.  Use the method you prefer.  This is a Christmas Stocking so the heel is for shaping instead of actually fitting a foot.

Slip the first stitch and knit to 1 before the end.
Turn, slip the first stitch, purl to 1 before the end.

Turn, slip the first stitch, knit to 2 before the end.
Turn, slip the first stitch, purl to 2 before the end.

Continue in this manner until you have 9 stitches on each side, ending with the purl row.

Now you have to put the stitches back.  Beginning with the knit row, slip the first stitch, knit to one stitch before the gap (you will be able to see the space),  slip the stitch before the gap, pick up the bar between the gap and put it on the right needle.  Knit the slipped stitch and the picked bar together.  You have closed the gap on the right side.

Turn and slip the first stitch, purl to one stitch before the gap, slip the stitch before the gap, pick up the bar between the gap and put on needle.  Purl the slipped stitch and the picked up bar together.  This closes the gap on the left side.

Continue until all 30 stitches are on the needle with no gaps.  

This is how the short row heel will look.

Begin knitting around on the circular needle again keeping in the pattern.  Knit about 4 inches for the foot (24 rows) and begin the toe. 

I changed to the white at this point so you could easily see.  Switch to double pointed needles and knit 15 stitches on the first needle, then knit 15, place marker, knit 15 on the next needle and knit 15 on the last needle.  

Row 1:
Now on first needle knit 1 and decrease on next two stitches by slipping next stitch, knitting a stitch and passing the slip stitch over knit stitch (psso),  knit to 3 stitches before the next marker on the second needle.  Knit 2 together, knit 1, slip marker, knit 1 and psso by slipping stitch, knitting stitch and passing the slip stitch over knit stitch.  Then knit to last 3 stitches on third needle and knit 2 together and knit 1. 

Row 2:  Knit all around without any decreases.

Repeat these two rows until 36 stitches remain.  Then decrease every row until 20 total stitches remain.  Next knit stitches on 1 needle and to marker on 2 needle.  With another needle knit what is left on 2 needle and all on 3rd needle.  There will be 10 stitches on each needle.

Toe completed and ready to close with the kitchener stitch.

The kitchener stitch is just 4 steps.  Cut a length of yarn from the piece you have been knitting with.

1.  Hold the two layers together with the purl sides facing each other (like the photo above).  Thread the yarn through a yarn needle and insert the needle through the first stitch in front needle as if to knit.  Pulling the yarn through the stitch, slip the stitch off the needle.

2.  Insert the yarn needle through the second stitch of the front needle as if to purl; draw yarn through but leave stitch on needle.

3.  Insert the yarn needle through the first stitch of back needle as if to purl; pull through the stitch and slip stitch off.

4.  Insert the yarn needle through second stitch of back needle as if to knit; draw yarn through but leave stitch on needle.

Short row heel and finished closed toe.

The last thing to do is weave in all the loose ends of yarn and duplicate stitch the name in the white area.  

I am not a professional pattern writer, so if anyone sees an error or has a question, please let me know.  

If you also want to make some mittens, try this.

I have shown these Christmas stockings before, but I wanted to show a few variations of the same basic pattern.  I wrote a blog recently using the same pattern.


  1. Replies
    1. Just take a large yarn needle and piece of yarn and do the duplicate stitch. Chart out the name in advance on some graph paper so it fits.

  2. This is a excellent blog, would you be involved in doing an interview about just how you designed it? If so e-mail me! patterns

  3. Thank you. Is this available in an easy-to-print format?

  4. Do you have a picture tutorial on how to do the heel

  5. We are Knitterbox Free Crochet Patterns, an online community that provides resources for knitters and crocheters. We would like to promote our Free Patterns page, and on that page you'll see a list of available categories for both knitting & crochet patterns.

  6. The texture makes warm nightgown, sportswear, covers, scarves, caps, gloves, sweatshirts, dresses, coats, and vests. garngrossister

  7. I am knitting the Christmas stocking, but I don’t understand how slipping a stitch decreases stitches for the heel. Can you explain? I have ripped it out 4 times. Thanks.

  8. I am sorry you're having trouble. Have you done short rows before? You slip the stitch and don't knit that slip stitch on the next round. By not knitting the slip stitch you will have less stitches in work. When you get down to 9 stitches, you have to start putting a stitch back on every row. Maybe watch a youtube video on short rows or if you have knit socks before, then make the heel the traditional way. Good luck.

  9. I still don’t get it. I am very frustrated. When I look up short row knitting, I can’t find any similar to this pattern. I have never knit socks before. If I follow another heel pattern, I don’t know how to do it another way & then pick up this pattern again. Can You recommend a video or instructions so I can ffinish the heel. Are there any clearer instructions that you know of? I also don’t understand when you say “continue until you have 9 stitches on each side”” It sounds like I am a beginner knitter, but I knit quite a few Christmas stockings years ago & never had a problem. I must have thrown those patterns away. Thanks.

    1. These videos have no sound but the technique is there. Part 1: Part 2:

  10. Here is a youtube video that covers the process. It is for a toe up sock, but the instructions are the same. When I say you have 9 stitches on each side, I mean 9 unworked stitches on each end and 12 stitches you are working on before you start adding back. 9 unworked, 12 worked, 9 unworked equals the 30 stitches you started with. If this you tube video doesn't help, I will try to find another. We need you to finish in the next couple days.

  11. Thank you for your help. I will try to finish.

    1. If nothing else, you can skip the heel and just make a tube til the toe. Put a cardboard foot shape in the bottom so it looks like a heel. Good luck.

  12. I am a fairly novice knitter and have never knitted socks before. Once you are done the short rows for the heel (with 9 unworked stitches on each side), to put them back on the needle, do you still use the 2 dpns or do you start using the circular needle again? I'm just confused how to transition back to knitting in the round.

  13. Yes, use the DPNs to put the stitches back in work. Putting the stitches back will form the heel. Then start with the circulars again.

    1. Thanks! I obviously didn't get this ready in time for Christmas, but don't think I was going to anyway. It will be ready for my niece next year!

  14. Okay, I'm starting this up again and I successfully made the heel, but now I'm stuck on the toe. The instructions say "Switch to double pointed needles and knit 15 stitches on the first needle, then knit 15, place marker, knit 15 on the next needle and knit 15 on the last needle. "-- does this involve 4 needles, or is one of the 3 dpns holding twice the number of stitches?

    1. Not sure if I answered. Hopefully you figured it out. Yes the second needle has 30 stitches with a marker in the middle. 3 needles.

  15. Do you have a chart for the train and cart on "Jack"'s stocking? I had found a chart in my mother's knitting bag that I was going to use to make a stocking for my nephew. Somehow, I have misplaced this chart and I am heartsick. I've been scouring the internet and this is the closest to what I recall of the graph. Should you be able to share it I would be most grateful.

    1. I will look for it in a day or two. I’m sure I have it.

    2. Before I start digging have you checked It has a lot of train charts to choose from. Just put train chart for knitting in the search bar. Here is an example. Let me know if you find one that works for you. If not, I will see what I can find. I have a feeling mine was more free form that I made up as I went.

  16. Make one double crochet by wrapping your yarn over the hook, then inserting it into the next stitch. Once the hook is through the stitch, wrap the yarn over the hook again and pull it through this stitch. You now have three loops left on your hook. crochet filet patterns