The Penny Sock Pattern

I’m finally using my old desktop computer which contains all the files and photos of my Penny Sock pattern.  This was originally posted to the Machine Knitting Compuserve forum by me in the 80’s, and copyrighted by little old me.  It was on my website for years, but I’ve let the website go, so please link to this blog if you want to pass it along to your friends.  This pattern is freely given, but if you are going to share it with lots of people, please let them know where it originated. 

Here it is again – a machine knit, and a hand knit version, and a better picture than what was on my website too:

The lace pattern was hand manipulated on my knitting machine, and if you all want that too, just let me know, and I’ll add the instructions for that too.   Most people just knit it in stockinette.  I always enjoyed hand maniuplating stitches on the knitting machine, so naturally made my socks harder to knit.  LOL

The Penny Sock Pattern

Machine Knit Version

Suggested yarns – Dimity’s Super Wash Merino, Stahl Socka, Regia, or one strand each of 2/24 and 10/2 cotton.  Try to find a yarn with some nylon in it for better wear. If using cotton yarn, you can run a strand of elastic thread or wooly nylon with the cotton to keep the cuff from sagging, and in the toes and heel for added strength.

Machine – 4.5 mm with ribber

Tension – 8.5 sts and 11.5 rows = 1”  Main Bed toe and heel tension 3.2,  Circular foot knitting tension 4, Leg Ribbing tension 3/3

 Additonal supplies – 50 pennies

1. STARTING AT TOE: On main bed, cast on 36 sts using scrap yarn. Knit about 15 r. Knit 1 r ravel cord. Knit 1 r with sock yarn at T 3.2.

2. SET MACHINE FOR PARTIAL KNITTING – Brother machines put on hold button.

3. TURN TOE: Pull 1 st at beginning of each row on carriage side into hold until 12 sts remain in working position in the center, and 12 sts are in hold on each side of center sts. Increase back out by putting 2 sts opposite carriage back into working position and 1 needle next to carriage in hold position each row until all needles are again in working position.

4. BRING  RIBBER CLOSER TO MAIN BED TO TRANSFER STITCHES: Pick up the 36 sts from scrap yarn/ravel cord. Place these sts on ribber needles. Your knitting machine looks like there is a little pouch hanging from the needles.

5. BRING RIBBER TO KNITTING POSITION:  Attach connecting arm and set machine for circular knitting RC-000, T – 4. Take pennies and drop into the toe for weight (they may not fit all at once, knit a few rows and add the rest), or use claw weights on the front and back pouch section.  Knit even for 132 rows for size 9. For other sizes knit until 2″ less than desired sock length.

6. DROP RIBBER ONE STEP DOWN – PUT REGULAR CARRIAGE BACK ON MAIN BED TO TURN THE HEEL – On the 36 sts on MB, knit exactly as in “turn toe” – don’t forget to lower your tension to 3.2.

7. RESUME CIRCULAR KNITTING – Put ribber carriage back on main bed and ribber back into position for knitting. Set for circular knitting. Using transfer tool, put ends sts from the ribber onto MB and end sts from the MB onto RB, thus crossing sts on each side to prevent holes.  Raise your tension back to T- 4.

8. KNIT EVEN FOR 40 ROWS. DROP RIBBER DOWN: Remove ribber sts onto stitch holders or scrap yarn. Transfer every other stitch from MB to RB and knit in 1×1 rib for 90 rows at ribbed leg tension. Or you can choose to remove your sock from the machine onto circular needles and hand knit your ribbing.  This will eliminate any seams at all in this sock.

9. TENSION 8/8: Pull up rest of ribber MB needles. With H pitch on ribber, K 1r from left to right. Drop sts off the extra needles that you just pulled up (the ones not in use during the 1×1 rib. Transfer ribber sts to MB and bind off around 2 gate pegs.

10. REPLACE sts from stitch holder or scrap yarn onto MB and ribber and transfer for 1×1 rib.  Repeat steps 8 and 9.


Originally posted to Fibercrafts Section 3 Machine Knitting Msg #862792 June 20, 1995 10:42:03  Revised edition 10/17/02

Hand Knit Version – Toe-Up Circular Socks

Yarn – same as above

Knitting needles – 2 circular size 1 knitting needles (USA needle size) or set of double pointed knitting needles  size 1

Cast on 36 stitches with contrast color waste yarn. Use only 2 needles because you are knitting straight back and forth stockinette. ( A repeat of 2 rows – knit one row, purl one row)   Knit  4-6 rows and then knit one row with a yarn that will easily slide out of your stitches.  A smooth cotton works well, or dental floss in a pinch. Make sure it is in a contrast color to the main yarn. 

With main yarn, knit one row.  Then short row shape the toe by your preferred method down to 13 stitches, and back up again to 36 stitches. You should have a little pouch hanging from your knitting needle. 

Now you’ll need your other double pointed needles to pick up from the first row of your sock.  It is very easy to see the loops from your first row.  Pick up 18 stitches on one needle, then 18 on the second needle.  You have 36 stitches on a third needle.  If you have 5 double pointed needles you can further divide the number of stitches on that needle.

I like keeping them divided on 3 needles because it is easier for me to place a pattern on the 36 top stitches and remember to keep the bottom of the foot in plain stockinette if I want.  After all the stitches are on the needles, carefully remove the one row of smooth cotton or dental floss and the waste yarn you knit at the beginning of the pattern will fall off the sock. This is a good time to check to see you picked up all the stitches properly.

Knit the foot of the sock.  You can use any small repeat pattern you like for just the top, or all around the foot.  Knit till the base of the heel.  For my size 9 feet that is 69 rows. 

Short row the heel exactly the way you did the toe.  Start with 36 stitches, work down to 13, and back up again to 36.  When I’m short rowing my heel, I put all 36 stitches on one needle. You’re knitting straight back and forth. 

On the last heel shaping row, divide the stitches evenly onto 2 needles again.  Before you begin circular knitting again, I like to cross the each edge heel stitch with the edges stitches from the front of the foot.  This prevents a hole from forming when you resuming circular knitting.

Knit circular for another 2 inches.  If you’d like your leg section to be in ribbing, start now and knit for whatever length you prefer.  I like 6” of ribbing on my socks. 

If you’d like to keep the small design from the front of your foot going up your leg, this is a good time to start the design all around the leg.  Knit for another 5 inches or so and then knit an inch of ribbing.  This will help to keep your socks up. 

Bind off your stitches.  There are many bind offs around.  I like using a needle one size large than pattern size and the Icelandic bind off – * knit 2 stitches together.  Put the stitch you just knit back onto the left needle. *  Repeat from * to * till you are left with one stitch on your right needle.  Pull the yarn tail through the remaining stitch and weave in your yarn end.



15 Responses to “The Penny Sock Pattern”

  1. steel breeze Says:

    Thanks for reposting this (I only just found my way back here, my bad!) it’s my favourite-est sock pattern!

  2. Jeanette Laney Says:

    I really like your sock and would like the lace instructions too please. Thank you

  3. Says:

    You really put together several superb stuff in your article, “The Penny Sock Pattern Dimity’s Fiber Adventures”. I may end up coming to ur blog before long. Thank you -Ellis

  4. Lea Wisdom Says:

    Thanks for keeping those wonderful machines alive.

  5. Linuxgirl Says:

    Very nice instructions and beautiful socks. Could you please leave the lace instructions for machine knitting, too?

  6. D Keener Says:

    I would also like the lace instructions

    • dianemiller Says:

      I can’t believe it, but I lost them. I’m really sorry I can’t share the graph. If I ever do find them, I’ll add them to the instructions.

  7. june braid Says:

    I too still have that pattern from 80,s.

  8. Christina Says:

    Hello I just found this wonderful pattern. Would it be ok for you if I made a video out of this? I myself struggle with the various written MK patterns out there and wish there were more videos about this difficult topic.

    Kind regards,

    • dianemiller Says:

      This is my copyrighted pattern, and as such, please don’t use this for a video. I offer the pattern for free, but would not like a video using my pattern on the internet. Thank-you for asking.

      • Christina Says:

        I did not want to use a single word or number of your pattern in a video or showing part of the pattern or whatever. I rather wanted to share with the people where I got the idea from. You know giving credit where credit is due? I even wanted to make it in a whole other language so that even more people could benefit from the method.
        What exactly is copyrighted about this pattern? Certainly not the idea to use a shortrow toe, weigh it, knit a tube on it, knit another short row heel and another tube onto that and you have a sock? Because if this “recipe” was copyrighted others are infringing your copyright already ( and (

      • dianemiller Says:

        I misunderstood your intention. It is fine with me if you want to refer people to my blog for this pattern. That is what hwoodgroup does.

        I am aware of junebugsplace infringing on my copyright, and have asked her to remove the pattern, but she wouldn’t. I contacted my lawyer, and decided not to pursue legal action due to the cost. I am not happy there is no reference to my pattern, but some people don’t respect others intellectual property. It’s sad that some people think it’s all right to behave this way.

        My pattern was originally printed on the CompuServe Knit board in the 1980’s, and I taught it at seminars around the country. Most people in the machine knitting world know where it originated.

  9. Knit-Obsessed Says:

    Reblogged this on Crochet and Knitting Tidbits and commented:
    Great Sock Patterns!

  10. Sabine Says:

    I found a tutorial of your pattern at the world wide web, and asked the author for permission to translate it into german. The author gave the permisson for the translation. But now I know that the original pattern is made by you. So I will ask you for permission to translate it into german with note to your website.

    • dianemiller Says:

      Yes, and thank-you for asking, and could you please send me the url for this. I’d like to see what it looks like in the German language.

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