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Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008

(If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.)

I made tabi socks again!

(At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.)

I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit.

Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern.

Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks

I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials:
Socks 101
How to Knit Socks
The Sock Knitter’s Companion
A video of turning the heel
Sock Knitting Tips

Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle.

The following pattern is for fingering weight yarn.
Needles: size 1
Gauge: 8 stitches per inch, 12 rows per inch
This sock fits me, and I have a 7.5 size foot. For a larger or smaller sock, cast on more/less stitches, and below I show how to calculate for the split toe stitches.

Cast on 60 stitches.

Do a k2, p2 ribbing for about one inch (12 rows).

Switch to stockinette stitch until leg is as long as you like. I stopped mine at 5 inches.

Divide stitches evenly for the heel. I did 30 stitches for the instep and 30 for the heel.

Make whatever heel you like.

For the heel flap, I did:
Row 1: *sl1, k1 repeat from * until the end
Row 2 and every even row: sl1, p to the end
Row 3: sl1, *sl1, k1 repeat from * until the end.
Do as many rows as there are heel stitches.

I did a heel slightly modified from the French heel in Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush:
Row 1: sl1, k14, sl1, k1, psso, k1, turn
Row 2: sl1, p1, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 3: sl1, k2, sl1, k1, psso, k1, turn
Row 4: sl1, p3, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 5: sl1, k4, sl1, k1, psso, k1, turn
Continue in pattern until all the stitches have been worked. Basically, you slip the first stitch, then knit or purl until the stitch just before the gap in the stitches, then either sl1 k1 psso or p2tog, and then k1 or p1 stitch past that. End on a WS row.

Knit all stitches. Pick up the gusset stitches. Knit in stockinette stitch over the instep and heel.

Next row: knit into the back loop of all gusset stitches, knit in stockinette stitch over the instep and heel.

Row 1: Knit to 3 stitches before instep, k2tog, k1. Knit instep stitches. K1, k2tog sl1, k1, psso, knit to end of round.
Row 2: Knit
Continue to decrease 2 stitches every other row until gusset and heel stitches match instep stitch number.

Knit in stockinette stitch until foot measures 2 inches less than the length of the foot.

Split for toe:

Both the toe and cap are going to be about 1.5 inches long. If you have longer or shorter toes, then add or subtract rows. I have long toes, so I made my a little longer than 1.5 inches, I did a total of 22 rows for the toe and cap. I like to figure out the number of rows based on gauge, but you could also measure it if you like.

The left side toe consists of the 10 first instep stitches in the round, 10 stitches cast on between the toes, and the 10 last heel stitches in the round. It’ll form a nice triangle. The cap is the rest of the stitches from the instep and heel, plus knitting from the 10 stitches cast on between the toes.


Knit 10 instep stitches.

With another needle, cast on 10 stitches using a provisional cast on. I like to use the Invisible (Provisional) Cast-On (also known as Looped Cast-On), but you can use any one you like.

Separate your heel stitches into the last 10 stitches on one needle and the rest on another needle or waste yarn. Knit from your provisional cast on to the last 10 heel stitches. This should join the round for your toe.

I knit 18 rounds. You can knit however many rounds you want to fit your toe, reserving 4 rounds for the decreases.

Decrease rounds:
Row 1: *k1, k2tog, repeat from * to the end. If it’s not even, don’t worry about it.
Row 2: knit
Row 3: k2tog all around. If it’s not even, don’t worry about it.
Row 4: repeat row 3.
Draw tail through remaining stitches and then inside the toe, weave in ends.


Starting with the instep stitches, attach a new piece of yarn and knit the instep stitches, then the heel stitches.

Knit the 10 provisional cast on stitches between the toes.

Knit one round.

Decrease rounds:
Row 1: knit to three stitches before the end of the instep stitches, k2tog, k1. You’re now in the heel stitches—k1, sl1, k1, psso, knit to the end of the round.
Row 2: knit
Repeat decrease round pattern for the same number of total rounds as the toe, or if you have shorter or longer toes, many rounds as you like.

Finish the cap with kitchener stitch.

Repeat for right side, but reverse directions for toes.

Calculating for toe split:

If you cast on fewer or more stitches, here’s how to calculate how many stitches for the toe, cap, and the provisional cast on between the toes:

Toe stitches and provisional cast on between the toes:
Number of cast on stitches divided by 6 = number of instep stitches, number of heel stitches, and number of provisional cast on stitches for toe.

For example, if you cast on 78 stitches, you’d have 13 instep stitches, 13 heel stitches, and 13 provisional cast on stitches for the toe. If it’s not a whole number, just round up or down.

Cap stitches:
Number of cast on stitches divided by 3 = number of instep stitches and number of heel stitches for cap.

For example, if you cast on 78 stitches, you’d have 26 instep stitches and 26 heel stitches for the cap (as well as 13 provisional cast on stitches between the toes). If it’s not a whole number, just round up or down.

Other weight yarns:

The formula above works for other weight yarns, too. For example, when I did my first tabi sock on worsted weight yarn, I cast on 40 stitches (I have a narrow ankle and foot). My gauge was about 6.5 stitches and 8 rows per inch.

For the toe, I had 7 instep stitches, 7 heel stitches, and 7 provisional cast on stitches. For the cap, I had 13 instep stitches and 13 heel stitches (as well as the 7 provisional cast on stitches between the toes).

I did a total of 14 rows for both the toe and the cap (a little less than 2 inches).

If you like romance novels, please check out my list of free short stories, novellas, and novels available on my blog! I write Christian contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Camy Tang, and Christian Regency romance as Camille Elliot. Click here to knit the antique scarf pattern from my Regency romance novel, The Spinster's Christmas.


  1. I've been a lurker for awhile...sorry! LOVE these socks, maybe someday I will learn how to knit/crochet and can try my hand at something like this. Excellent work and blog:)

  2. I'm not a knitter, but my daughter would love those socks!

  3. Camy,
    Wish I had taken up the hobby. would you have a pattern for a cloth pair?

  4. Snazzy socks. Does anyone have a crochet version? I never mastered the art of knitting.

    Susan :)

  5. Thanks, guys!

    Sorry, Reihaisha and Susan, no cloth or crochet pattern. I'm not that good! LOL


  6. Thanks for the pattern and for explaining how to convert any top down sock pattern! These are going to be great for my favorite footware of choice, flip flops!

  7. You're welcome, Jeannie! If you're on Ravelry, message me when you finish the socks! I'm camytang.

  8. Hi!
    I read your pattern and calculation for the tabi socks and had big plans for making some, but I was always too lazy to get up and find the pattern when I got to the toe portion of the socks. Then I went camping last week and I took along my knitting bag with a pair of socks that just needed the toe portion grafted together. I took them out, remembered how you calculated to split the toe and cap portion, ripped out the toes and made a big toe and cap. Then I was even able to reverse it so I had a left and a right. Thank you, thank you, thank you! So cute, so fun, so warm and perfect with my sandals. They are worsted weight boot socks so they are perfect for camping. I am going to use some sock weight yarn for my next pair, and not be too lazy to make the split toe. So fun!

  9. Jeannie that is so awesome!!! Thanks for posting that! I'm so glad this pattern was so easy for you! :)

  10. Thanks for posting this pattern Camy. My daughter in law just asked this morning if I could make a pair for her with the toe split. I have knit tons of socks before but never with the toe split so this will be something new for me.
    Thanks again. Now I just hope I can do these. :)

    1. You're welcome, Darlene! I hope these turn out well for you!

  11. I love tabi socks but attempting this as my 2nd pair of knit socks ever seems to have been too much for me. I really got stuck with what to do after the provisional cast-on. A serious bummer. If you have any tips I'd appreciate it. Otherwise I'll have to beg my local yarn shop to help me. Or just finish these socks without the toe split. Bummer.

    1. Nancy, you don't need to do the provisional cast on if you don't want to. Instead, just do a regular cast on (backward loop or knitted cast on or whatever you like). Then when you have to do the cap, just pick up stitches from the cast on.

  12. Wonderful socks. Thank you for also including the info to knit a bulkier yarn.

  13. hi... I don't suppose you have a video to follow for these do you please??? my Sister is a long time sufferer of plantar fasciitis & had asked me to make her some of these types of socks so she can still wear her flip flops (they are specially designed for this condition) am not so good at following text but I can follow step by step if I can watch it at the same time.... please let me know... thanx so much for your awesome help :) xXx

    1. Hi Angie,
      No, sorry I don't have a video for this. However if you do a search for tabi socks or split toe socks on youtube you might find something.


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