Lesser Evil Socks

Featuring Fleegle's Toe-Up No-Flap, No-Hassle Sock Pattern


  • Desirable yarn.
  • Long, circular needle in appropriate size for the yarn. Cable should be at least 32 or 40 inches long. Knit Picks and Addi Turbos have superior cables: soft and flexible.
  • Stitch markers; coil-less safety pin type is recommended.
The Evil Genius Socks are made with the "Magic Loop" method. When knitting, the back half of your sock hangs in the middle of your needle cable. There will be two big loops of cable on either side, and you work across the front of your sock with the ends of the circular needle. You can find videos and illustrated instructions on the web by typing "magic loop" into your favorite search engine, or see if your local yarn store carries the official Magic Loop booklet by Fiber Trends.

The "Lesser Evil" sock uses Evil Sock Genius methods to build Fleegle's Toe-Up No-Flap, No-Hassle Sock Pattern, an ingenious, uncomplicated pattern that produces an attractive, wedge-shaped heel. 

Evil Geniuses hate wasting time. Just start knitting.

The toe of your sock is your gauge swatch. Grab a circular needle in the size indicated on the yarn band (or one size smaller), then use Turkish Cast-On.

Knitting the Toe

Turkish Cast-On

  • Hold your circular needle so that both ends are together, pointed to the right.
  • Pull the bottom needle to the right, so your top needle is held together with the bottom cord.
  • Start your yarn in back of the needles, leaving a 12" tail hanging.
  • Wrap the yarn over toward you, down across the front and up the back of the needles.
  • Wrap until you have the same number of loops as the yarn label says there are in an inch.

Rounded Toe

  • Knit across the stitches on the "top" needle. Be sure to keep your stitches snug on the "bottom" needle.
  • Hold working yarn and tail together, and work 1 round. (This doubles the number of loops on each side.)
  • Drop the tail, and knit one round, working one stitch in each loop.

Toe Increases

  • Knit 2, YO, knit until 2 stitches remain on that side, YO, knit 2. Repeat for other side.
  • Knit round, making sure to twist the yarnovers by knitting into their backs. (Note: You can "mirror" the increases by twisting them in different directions).
  • Repeat these two rounds until your toe is the right circumference. I find that 8.5 inches around is a good target, or about 10% less than the circumference of the intended wearer's foot.
By the time you reach the desired circumference, you are far enough that you can check your gauge and whether you like the resulting fabric. Not much time is invested, so it's easy to start over, but if it's good, then you didn't waste that time doing a gauge swatch.

Be careful not to increase too many times. If the sock toe fits over all five toes, then it's too big. If it fits over all except the "pinkie" toe, then it's probably the right size.

Evil Geniuses can knit both socks at once, but they don't always want to.

Before going on to knit the foot, decide whether you want to knit one sock at a time, or both at once. It's not that tricky to do both at once. The tubes sit side by side on your loop. You knit across the front stitches of one tube, drop the yarn, then knit across the front stitches of the other.

Yarmando finds that he works faster knitting one sock at a time, but when he wants to avoid tedious row counting to make the second sock match the first, he'll do both at once. He makes one toe, sets it aside, makes the second toe, and then puts both socks on the loop. When he reaches the heel, he sets one sock aside; it's too much trouble doing both heels at once.

Knitting the Foot

Now you just keep knitting around until you've reached the desired length before your gusset increases. If you wish, you can work ribbing or some other pattern across the instep. Meanwhile, it's time to begin plotting your domination of the gusset and heel.

Evil Geniuses aren't afraid of a little math.

Using Rounds-Per-Inch

Count how many rows (or rounds) work out to an inch. 
Multiply that by the length of the foot this sock is meant
to fit.  Got it?  (This chart should help).

You will need to subtract from that the number of rounds
that you will knit for gusset increases.  This will vary,
depending on the type of gusset and heel treatment

This the "Lesser Evil" Heel.  It's a simple, attractive heel
based on the wedged-shaped heels from WendyKnits and
Fleegle's websites.  The gusset increases are almost 50%
of the total sock circumference -- 50% minus 6 (or about
an inch).  Enter that number on this chart.

Subtract the number of designated gusset/heel rounds
from your total number of rounds.  You now know how
many rounds to knit before starting the gussets.

Rounds per inch =

Length of foot =


Multiply together for
total sock length


Gusset increases =
(Circumference / 2) - 6


Subtract to find length
of sock before gussets


Gusset Increases

If you haven't yet decided, decide now which side of your sock is the top (instep) and which is the bottom (sole).
  • On the sole side, knit 1, YO, knit until 1 stitch remains on that side, YO, knit 1. Knit instep side plain (or in pattern that you've established).
  • Knit round, making sure to twist the yarnovers by knitting into their backs. (Note: You can "mirror" the increases by twisting them in different directions).
  • Repeat these two rounds until the sole/heel/gusset side contains six stitches less than your total number of stitches.  (There's a chart below that might help).

Original circumference 48 52 56 60 64 68 72
Gusset/Heel Stitches 42 46 50 54 56 60 64
Total Stitches 66 72 78 84 88 94 100

Turning the Heel

(adapted from http://fleeglesblog.blogspot.com)

Place a marker at center of your sole stitches.
  • Knit to 3 stitches past the center.  K2tog, K1, turn.  Pull the yarn tight.
  • Slip 1 purlwise.  Purl to 3 stitches past the center marker.  SSP, P1, turn.  Pull the yarn tight.
SSP: Slip 2 stitches knitwise. Move them back to the LH needle and purl them together through the back loop. Or just work a P2tog if you would rather, but I will deduct Genius points.
  • Turn. Slip 1, knit back to the gap, knit the stitches before and after the gap together. Knit 1.
  • Turn. Slip 1, purl back to the gap, SSP the stitches before and after the gap together. Purl 1.
Repeat these two rows, knitting the heel flap upwards while consuming your gusset stitches.  Finish when your K2tog leaves only one stitch remaining before the instep stitches (two stitches remain on the other side of the heel flap).
  • Knit the last stitch, then knit across instep.
  • Knit the first stitch after the instep, SSK, knit to the last two stitches of heel, K2tog.
  • Knit across the instep stitches.
  • Decrease the first two stitches on the heel side with SSK.


Work the leg of your sock in whatever pattern strikes your fancy. A simple ribbing is always a good choice. The length is completely up to you.

Stretchy Bind-Off

Nothing ruins your work on a pair of socks like binding off too tightly. There are a few techniques you can use to make sure socks aren't too tight at the top: bind off with a larger needle, Jeny's Suprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off, etc.

This one is easy, fast, and elastic. Work two stitches in pattern, then slide them both back over to the left needle and knit them together through the back loops. Work the next stitch, slide the two active stitches back to the left hand needle and knit them together through the back loop. Continue until finished.

Evil Geniuses gloat.

Break yarn, weave in the ends, and laugh your Evil Genius laugh as you ponder the masterpiece of your perfect sock creation.

Evil Geniuses credit their muses.

Yarmando licenses "Evil Sock Genius Lessons" under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.  Feel free to use for non-commercial purposes, and if you adapt it, please give credit, especially to Fleegle.