Jane Murison - Manhole Socks

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A sturdy top-down sock with textured heels and toes for sturdy urban living. The fabric is reminiscent of non-slip metal treads, and the heel and toe take their texture from manhole covers.

The cross-hatch pattern accentuates the texture of the yarn, and works well with block colours, kettle-dyed yarn with minimal variegation or to showcase the colour changes in a fancy, high-contrast yarn that you fell in love with.

The pattern uses slipped stitch cables in a short, easy-to-memorise repeat, and a striking textured afterthought heel.

This pattern has been tech edited and test knitted.

You should be able to make a pair of socks in small or medium sizes out of a single 400m skein of sock yarn, assuming a shoe size of UK size 9 (Eur 43, US 9.5) or lower. Otherwise you might need a second skein.


Small (Medium, Large)
To fit foot circumference 21cm (23cm, 25cm) / 8.25” (9”, 10”)
Actual foot circumference of sock unstretched 18cm (20cm, 22cm)/ 7.25” (7.75”, 8.5”)
Leg length to the top of the heel is 12.5cm (5”), although you can make it longer with more repeats of the cross-hatch pattern.
Foot length is adjustable within the pattern, with the instructions creating a sock approx 1cm (0.5”) shorter than measured foot length for a snug fit.


Countess Ablaze Bluefaced Baron Fingering (4ply/fingering weight; high twist 100% Bluefaced Leicester wool; 385m/420yds; 110g) x 1 in the Urbex colourway, or approximately 400m of any 4ply/fingering sock yarn.

NEEDLES (always use the right size to match the recommended gauge)

2.25mm (US size 1) circular needles (at least 80cm long for magic loop) or double-pointed needles


35 stitches and 49 rows = 10cm/4” over stocking stitch, blocked


Darning needle
Stitch markers
Waste yarn (optional)


The cross-hatch texture is quite firm, so it’s worth checking your gauge, and perhaps going up a size.

The heel and toe are made identically, and there are instructions for both the textured version or a plain smoother one if you’d prefer something simpler. As the sock is knit as a “tube”, you can get used to the “manhole” instructions on the toe before doing it on the afterthought heel.