how i knit to stay sane

November 21, 2008

Merry Christmas! My gift to you….

Filed under: Uncategorized — K @ 3:07 pm


I’d like to offer this Christmas gift to anyone who is interested, assembly required, of course!  Many of my friends know I’ve been working on a basic stocking pattern that would be a great shape and size, and endlessly customizeable.  The stocking is in light worsted weight wool, worked on size 8 needles, and follows a classic sock design — from the cuff down (this would be a great way to make a first sock if the small needles have been scaring you off!)  I used Lucy Neatby’s garter stitch short row heel (PDF link) and her recommended match for the toe — a garter stitch wedge toe.


Basic Christmas Stocking Pattern


  • Two skeins Louet Riverstone light/worsted in contrasting colors (I used French Blue and Cream for the top stocking, and Valentine and Cream for the bottom stocking.  The main color will be completely used up, but there will be enough in the contrast color for at least two heels and toes.)
  • Size 8 double point needles (this also works fine with a 16″ round needle or a magic loop on a longer circular needle.)
  • Size 6 double point needles for i-cord hanging loop.

Gauge: 4.5 st/in (18 st/4 in.);  5.5 rows/in (22 rows/in) in stockinette on larger needles.

  • Not critical, but at my gauge and with the row numbers given, I used almost exactly a full ball of Riverstone.  If you find you are knitting “bigger”, you may want to shorten the leg a bit to make sure you’ll have enough to make the foot long enough for your taste.  You have extra room to “play” though, because you aren’t trying to fit an actual foot.


  • Cast on 72 stitches.
  • Work in a 3×1 rib in the round for 12 rounds.  Place a marker to indicate beginning of round.  (*K3, P1*.  Repeat to end)
  • Work in stockinette (K every stitch) for 59 rounds.  (11.5″ from cast-on edge)
  • Next round:  Knit 50.  (Remaining 22 stitches will be worked in heel)
  • Work Lucy Neatby’s short row heel (If you are unfamiliar with short rows I highly recommend you follow this link to PDF link) over 44 stitches:
    • Do NOT cut MC yarn.  Knit 43 stitches in CC yarn.  Wrap 1:  Slip 1 stitch, bring the yarn between the needles to “wrap” the yarn around the slipped stitch, slip the stitch back onto the left hand needle (Wrap 1 worked).  The stitch on the left hand needle will be the MC, with a CC wrap around the stitch.  Turn work.
    • Knit 42 stitches.  Wrap 1. Turn work.
    • Continue heel by knitting one fewer stitch each row until there are only 8 stitches worked in the middle.   Turn work.
    • Knit 9 (the 9th will be a wrapped stitch from a previous row).  Wrap 1 (this stitch will have 2 wraps around it now.)  Turn work.
    • Knit 10.  Wrap 1.  Turn work.
    • Continue heel by knitting 1 more stitch each row until you have worked the final WS row of the heel by wrapping the outermost stitch.  Do NOT transfer this stitch back to the left hand needle.  Break yarn, leaving a tail to weave in.
  • Pick up MC yarn and knit 40 stitches.  Place a marker to indicate new beginning of round (remove original marker).
  • Continue to knit next 36 rounds in stockinette to make foot.
  • Cut MC yarn, leaving a tail to weave in.
  • Join CC yarn to begin garter stitch wedge toe (also well-explained in the Lucy Neatby article):
    Place a second marker at side of foot.  36 stitches between markers for top of toe, and 36 for bottom.

    • Round 1:  K1, SSK, K to last 3 stitches before side marker, K2tog, K1.  Repeat.
    • Round 2:  P around.

    Repeat these two rounds until 36 stitches remain.

    • Round 1:  K1, SSK, K to last 3 stitches before side marker, K2tog, K1.  Repeat.
    • Round 2:  P1, P2tog, Pto last 3 stitches before side marker, P2tog, P1.  Repeat.

    Repeat these two rounds until 8 stitches remain.

  • Cut yarn and pull through remaining 8 stitches to finish off.  Pull yarn tight, draw yarn to inside of toe and weave in all ends.
  • Using CC yarn and size 6 dpns, pick up three stitches at the cast-on edge, directly above middle of the heel.  Work i-cord over 3 stitches for 20 rows.  To work i-cord:
    • Slide the stitches to the right hand tip of the double-point needle.  Pull working yarn behind the three stitches and knit them again.  Repeat by sliding the stitches across the needle, pulling the yarn behind and knitting the stitches.  Repeat for 20 rows.  Tug the needle at the top to stretch the i-cord.  The stretched yarn will “distribute” across the rows, making a tube of knitting.
  • Pull yarn tail through the three stitches to finish off i-cord.  Pull tail tight, and then tie tightly with a triple knot to the yarn tail from picking up the stitches.  Weave in ends by threading them through the tube of i-cord.
  • Hang by the chimney with care.


My stockings are still plain, but simple cross-stitch charts, intarsia charts, or duplicate stitch charts can be easily used to make a pattern on the side of the stocking, or to personalize with names.  A few favorite ideas of mine for adding personal touches include:

  • Nicky Epstein’s adorable i-cord adornments (I plan to use one of each of these embellishments for each stocking, with a “less is more” look”)
  • Knitting Pure and Simple’s embellishment ideas (along with a basic duplicate stitch alphabet for personalization)
  • Instead of using duplicate stitch or other embellishments after the fact, try adding in stripes or simple fair isle patterning to dress up your basic stocking!
  • After embellishing, I am going to felt my stockings just slightly — not enough to lose stitch definition, but just to help define the shape a bit more, and help it keep its shape with toys and goodies weighing it down.  Keep in mind that if you use pure white wool, it won’t felt!

I hope you enjoy this, and I’d love to see what you create!  Have fun, and enjoy the holidays with your family!

This pattern is provided free for personal use. You may print a copy for personal use, but please do not redistribute it without permission from Kelly Checketts. Items made from this pattern may not be sold for profit. Stores may not distribute this pattern for profit, or without giving credit to Kelly Checketts or


  1. Oh wow, I have a tricky time using patterns. I’m impressed that you created one!

    Comment by smallnotebook — November 26, 2008 @ 12:37 am

  2. This looks like a great pattern for a Christmas stocking – really simple but easily customisable 🙂

    I run an animal shelter and we have a knitting group – would it be ok if we knit some stockings from this pattern for the animals and for fundraising?

    Comment by Rachel — October 3, 2010 @ 10:39 am

  3. Yes, for sure! Thank you for your interest, and for what you’re doing for animals in need!

    Comment by K — October 3, 2010 @ 11:09 am

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