Rainbow Road Ankle Socks Free Knitting Pattern

Rainbow Road Ankle Socks Free Knitting Pattern

Sizes: Adult Small (Medium, Large)
Finished Sock Circumference: 7” (8”, 9”)
Designed for a Foot Circumference of 8” (9”, 10”), allowing for approximately 1” of negative ease.

Leg Length and Foot Length: ankle sock size, foot size is adjustable to fit
Yarn: Fingering Weight Sock Yarn, approximately 50g of the main color (MC) and an additional 20g of a contrasting color (CC).  Sample sock pictured used a Granite State Yarns Rainbow Road Sock Set (MC "Rainbow Road" and CC "I've Been Inked")
Needles: US 1/2.25mm, or size needed for proper gauge.
Set of 4 double pointed needles, one long (24-32”) circular for magic loop, or whatever sock knitting method you prefer.
Notions: stitch markers, tapestry needle
Gauge: 8 stitches per inch, stockinette, in the round.



st/sts Stitch/stitches

CO Cast On

k Knit

p Purl 

sl Slip

sl1p Slip 1 purlwise

wyif with yarn in front

wyib with yarn in back

k1tbl Knit 1 through back loop to twist the stitch

k2tog Knit 2 stitches together

ssk Slip, Slip, Knit: slip 2 stitches individually knit wise then knit both stitches together through their back loops

p2tog Purl 2 stitches together

RS/WS Right Side/Wrong Side

Instep Front of sock

Sole Bottom of sock

PM Place marker

BOR Beginning of round

[ ] Repeat instructions as specified


CO 56 (64, 72) sts. I recommend the German Twisted cast on. 

Distribute sts across needles as preferred and join in the round, being careful not to twist sts.

Round 1: [k1tbl, p1], repeat to end of round.

Continue in ribbing as set for 5 rounds or until cuff measures approximately 0.5” from CO.


The leg is worked in the Rainbow Road textured pattern on the front half of the socks, which are the first 28 (32, 36) stitches. This stitch pattern is a 4 round repeat. The second 28 (32, 36) stitches of the back of the sock are knit in plain stockinette.

Round 1: P 28 (32, 36), k 28 (32, 36).

Round 2: [K1 in next st through st below, k1], repeat 14 (16, 18) times, k 28 (32, 36).

Round 3: P 28 (32, 36), k 28 (32, 36).

Round 4: [K1, K1 in next st through st below], repeat 14 (16, 18) times. On this last round of the leg, you will now immediately begin the heel on the back half of the sock.

The slip stitch heel flap is worked back and forth on the back half of the leg sts. To make the striped effect, you will alternate using the CC and the MC.
Drop (do not cut) MC. With CC:
Row 1 (RS):     [Sl 1 purlwise with yarn in back, K1] 14 (16, 18) times. Turn.
Row 2 (WS):     Slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in front, and then purl across the entire row. Turn.
Drop (do not cut) CC. With MC:
Row 3 (RS):     [Sl 1 purlwise with yarn in back, K1] 14 (16, 18) times. Turn.
Row 4 (WS):     Slip the first stitch purlwise with yarn in front, and then purl across the entire row. Turn.
Repeat rows 1-4 a total of 7 (8, 9) times.  This will give you a total of 28 (32, 36) rows on your heel flap.

Heel turn:
Cut CC and continue with the MC only.
​Row 1 (RS): sl 1 purlwise with the yarn in back, then K14 (16, 18) stitches, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 2 (WS): sl 1 purlwise with the yarn in front, P3, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 3: sl 1 purlwise with the yarn in back, K to the stitch before the gap, SSK to close the gap, K1, turn.
Row 4: sl 1 purlwise with the yarn in front, P to the stitch before the gap, P2tog to close the gap, P1, turn.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all stitches have been worked. Cut CC.


Using the stitches that you slipped at the beginning of each heel turn row, we will pick up stitches along the heel flap to form the gusset and then begin decreasing to fit the foot.

First you will knit a partial “set-up” round since you are beginning at the heel turn. K 16 (18, 20) across the heel, pick up the first set of 14 (16, 18) gusset stitches in the slipped sts along the heel flap.  Pick up an extra stitch in the ladder in the corner of the heel flap, p the 28 (32, 36) instep sts as established in the pattern, and PM to mark beginning of round. For this first complete round, pick up a stitch in the corner, pick up the 14 (16, 18) stitches along the heel flap, knit even across the heel and down the other side, then across the instep as established in the pattern.

Decrease round: K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before instep begins, K2tog, K1. K instep as established in pattern for 28 (32, 36) sts (2 sts decreased).

Plain round: K all sole stitches, then K instep as established.

Repeat these two rounds until you have decreased to 28 (32, 36) sts on the sole: 56 (64, 72) sts total. Remember to continue the Rainbow Road stitch pattern on the instep stitches only.

Continue knitting as established with no further decrease rounds until the sock is approximately 2 inches shorter than desired sock length. Tip: For a well-fitting, snug sock, the desired sock length should be about half an inch shorter than the wearer’s foot length.
Example: for a 10” long foot, the desired foot length is 9.5”, so you should stop knitting the foot when it is about 7.5” long.

Note: In the sample sock, I knit the last 6 rounds alternating the MC (purl row) and CC to give a striped effect. 


Cut MC.
Round 1: Using CC, K 56 (64, 72) sts.
Round 2 (decrease): K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before instep, K2tog, K1, K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before sole, K2tog, K1 (4 sts decreased).
Round 3: K all sts.
Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until 28 (32, 36) sts remain, then repeat round 2 until 16 sts remain. Graft together remaining sts using the kitchener stitch.  Weave in all ends and block if desired.

I love to see your works in progress and finished socks, so please feel free to tag me on Instagram if you share pictures! @granitestateyarns #rainbowroadanklesocks

You are welcome to sell finished projects made with this pattern if you credit me as the pattern designer.  The pattern itself is for your personal use only, and is ©2024 by Lauren Cairns.
Happy Knitting!

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