Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Lorna’s Laces
Title
beauty shot

Tangy

My knitting philosophy has tended toward the organic -- I like knitted objects to look as if they had just grown, like crystals, rather than being built section by section. Even though I had knitted for years, I had never made socks, because the traditional construction is so visible, especially with the gusset and heel flap. But when some hand-dyed sock yarn somehow materialized in my stash, I had to figure out a sock design to go with it.

In addition to making the construction as inconspicuous as possible, I also wanted to minimize the appearance of striping -- these really are the anti-socks, here -- by using a mosaic pattern in a strongly contrasting yarn.

I only had about 30g of that contrast yarn to use in those first socks of mine, so I used it only on the instep, figuring that the tighter row gauge of the mosaic pattern would cancel out the difference of there being twice as many rows on the instep as on the sole. It didn't, quite, but a few short rows on the sole took care of that.

The next problem was to make the right-angle turn of the knitting around the heel without the abrupt change of the usual flap or short-row heels. The solution was to intersperse short rows on the sole/heel with rounds of the foot during the arch expansion (what I have since called an integrated heel), so that when the arch was finished the heel turn was also mostly completed. A smooth transition from the solid-color sole and heel to the patterned leg was enabled during the post-heel-turn decreases by continuing the expansion of the colorwork while pairing it with additional decreases in the sole/heel, wrapping the color patterning around the leg. The result looks bizarre when laid "flat", since it's not flat at all, but it fits like a glove.

These socks are named for my sister Wendy (whose name means "wanderer"), the recipient of the original pair, because of the patterning near the toe. When I was first charting out the colorwork pattern I fitted it into the shaping by putting a triangle, one of my favorite shapes, at the toe and some diamonds in the remaining space. The unexpected result of this was both a large W over the triangle and a rather reptilian face on the toe, both of which remind me of my lizard-loving sister.

A note on color choice: Selecting colorways for these socks is more difficult than it might seem. The solid color needs to contrast not only in hue but in value, and a multicolor with a wide value range (major harmony, for those familiar with Deb Menz's Color in Spinning) will tend to have sections where the pattern is difficult to see. When I was asked to reknit the socks in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, I used Adobe Illustrator to simulate several possible combinations, as shown in the graphic (yarn photos courtesy of The Loopy Ewe, used with permission). I found that the most successful combinations were those in which the hues in the multicolor were mostly of medium value (middle minor harmony), and the solid yarn was either high (light) or low (dark) in value. Not only does the patterning stand out, the solid yarn makes the colors of the multicolor glow almost iridescently rather than mixing into homogeneity as they do without the contrasting solid.

The multicolor yarn will behave differently depending on whether it is used as the main color (worked in rounds as well as in short rows on the sole and heel) or the contrasting color (worked back and forth on the instep). I have reversed MC and CC for the second of the socks shown to illustrate this different behavior. When the multicolor is CC it argyles from side to side on the foot until the arch expansion disrupts this; when it is MC, it spirals slightly on the foot. The degree of these color effects depend on the multicolor yarn itself, of course.

spacer photos: I-Gene Leong, Barbara Peters, Robin Peters

SIZE
S [M, L] (shown in size M). S fits a child's large/women’s small, M is a women's medium, L is a women's large/men's small.

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FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Foot circumference: 6.5[7.5, 9.25] inches
Leg circumference: 7 [8.5, 9.5] inches
Foot length: 6.75[8.5, 10.5] inches – adjustable to fit
Leg length: approximately 3 inches from end of shaping to end of cuff.

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MATERIALS
Yarn

spacer Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock [80% superwash merino, 20% nylon; 215yd/197m per 50g skein]; colors Purple Iris and Firefly, 1 skein each

Note: MC and CC were reversed for second sock of pair shown to illustrate the difference in how the multicolor yarn behaves as MC and as CC. If the two socks are made identically, two skeins of MC will be required but only about 30-50g of CC. Only one skein each of MC and CC are required if the colors are switched as shown, although it may be wise to purchase an additional skein of each if making size L, especially if lengthening the leg. Sole and cuff are worked in MC.

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 set US #1.5/2.5mm double-point needles
OR
spacer 1 US #1.5/2.5mm mm long circular needle for magic loop method
OR
spacer 2 US #1.5/2.5mm circular needles for two-circulars method

Notions
spacer Yarn needle
spacer 6 stitch markers

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GAUGE

spacer32 sts/52 rounds = 4 inches in stockinette stitch
40 sts/80 rounds = 4 inches in slip stitch pattern

PATTERN NOTES
[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

Important note: This pattern uses a variety of unusual techniques, and some of the chart symbols are non-standard. Please review these notes for more information on the chart symbols used.

A more detailed explanation of mosaic knitting.

Working the patterning in the round: To work the slipped stitch colorwork on the instep, the rounds are worked in an unusual manner: you first work twice over the instep stitches in rows, knitting the CC stitches and slipping the MC stitches, and then two full rounds in MC, knitting the MC stitches and slipping the CC stitches. After each repeat of this pattern, two full rounds have been worked in both colors.

Stitch pattern and chart: Charts are standard for mosaic patterns: each square represents two rows/rounds, designated (A) and (B) respectively.

Odd-numbered chart row (A): With CC, knit the CC stitches and slip the MC stitches with yarn in back. Turn (see below for specifics of wrap & turn).

Odd-numbered chart row (B): With CC, purl the CC stitches (the same ones you just knit) and slip the MC stitches with yarn in front.

Even-numbered chart row (A): With MC, knit the MC stitches and slip the CC stitches with yarn in back. Knit remainder of round (sole).

Even-numbered chart row (B): Repeat (A).

Shaping: All shaping and short-rows are worked on (A) of each MC (even-numbered) chart row. (B) of every even-numbered row is worked even -- k all MC sts, sl all CC sts -- with the occasional exception of knitting a wrap together with a stitch near the beginning of the sole.

Lifted make 1 (m1) increases are used, but with the usual symmetry reversed by having the twist go from left to right at the beginning of the needle and right to left at the end of the needle.

M1L: Lifted make 1, left-leaning (used on sole & first round after cast-on only): Insert tip of RH under thread between previous and next st from back to front, and knit this strand tbl, twisting this thread from right to left around the base of the new st.

M1R: Lifted make 1, right-leaning (used on sole & first round after cast-on only): Insert tip of LH needle under thread between previous and next st from back to front, and knit into the front of this thread, twisting it around the base of the new st from left to right.

The instep increases are a little more complex since they involve dealing with CC yarn -- the increase at the beginning of the instep weaves in the CC yarn, and the increase at the end of the instep is set up by the preceding CC rows, as follows:

M: Make 1/weave (MC only): Insert tip of RH needle from back to front under running thread between st just worked and next st on LH needle, making a new yo on the needle. Put CC yarn over RH needle from left to right. Insert tip of LH needle purlwise into CC yarn and MC yarnover and k1 from this position (similar to a ssk). 1 st made, with CC yarn woven in on WS.

&: Wrap/yo/turn (CC only): After working last CC st of (A) of charted row, bring working (CC) yarn forward. Insert RH needle tip from front to back under running MC thread between st just worked and st on LH needle and keep this yarn on needle (making a MC yo). Turn, bring working yarn forward, slip new MC yo onto RH needle and work rest of row as usual.

V: Make 1/work wrap (MC only): After slipping last CC st of (A) of charted row, insert the tip of the RH needle under the wrap at front of work and up through it, so that the RH needle is now pointing up through the wrap. From there, insert the RH needle through the front loop of the wrapped stitch (actually the MC yo made on the previous round by wrap/yo/turn, which ends up mounted the reverse of how yarnovers are usually mounted on the needle), so that there are now two loops on the RH needle -- the wrap itself and the wrapped yarnover. Knit these two together. This twists the previously-wrapped yarnover from left to right, as if it had been a simple m1R. (It may be easiest to put tip of RH needle first under CC wrap and then through front (leftmost) loop of MC yo and slip the MC yo off LH needle, keeping both the yo and the CC wrap on the RH needle, then insert tip of LH needle purlwise into both wrap and st and knit both loops tog as if ssk.) Tug a little as needed to make the CC wrap slip behind the twisted MC st. For best results, pull the slack of the CC wrap into adjacent CC st a few rows later.

w: Weave yarn (leg and MC rounds of foot section only): Insert RH needle into first st as if to knit and bring nonworking yarn over RH needle tip from right to left, then k the st and the nonworking yarn tog.

^: Centered double decrease (ss2k, MC end of heel only): Sl 1 knitwise, then sl 2 tog knitwise; insert point of LH needle into all three st on RH needle purlwise and knit them together from this position.

Wrapping and turning without increasing. This mainly occurs on the sole, which is written out rather than charted, but there are also some CC wraps and turns without increasing on the instep in the foot section. Multiple short rows may be worked on the sole of a single charted round, and the wrong-side wrap & turn is worked differently depending on whether or not the w&t is the last one to be done on that round. Follow these instructions carefully: after the turn, don’t slip the stitch back to the LH needle. Within the pattern, there are places where something needs to be done before the slip, and therefore specific slip instructions are given within the row/round.

<: Wrap & turn (w&t) on RS: Bring yarn forward to RS, slip next st knitwise, bring yarn to back & turn. Yarn is now wrapped around that stitch and the stitch is now mounted on the needle with the left leg in front of the needle instead of the right.

fin-w&t: Final wrap & turn on WS (MC only): Put yarn to back (RS) of work and slip st knitwise. Turn. Make yarnover by wrapping yarn around RH needle from back to front, and around to back (WS) of work again.
mid-w&t: Midrow wrap & turn on WS (MC only): Bring yarn to back (RS) of work) and slip st purlwise instead of knitwise, bring yarn to WS and then turn.

How to work a wrapped stitch on RS: When you come to a previously-wrapped st during a right-side row, insert RH needle tip under front of wrap and lift wrap over tip of LH needle to back of work, then k the st and wrap tog tbl. If that wrapped st was a fin-w&t, there will also be a very tight yo on the needle just ahead of the wrapped stitch; drop this yo off the LH needle (adding slack to the wrap) before working the wrapped stitch.

How to work a wrapped stitch on WS: Lift wrap from back (RS) to front (WS) of st and p2tog the wrap and the st.

Slipping stitches: Unless stated otherwise, all stitches are slipped purlwise with yarn at wrong side of work.

Tension: It will be necessary to individually adjust the tension of the stitches adjacent to the wraps and turns at beginning and end of instep. Ease the looseness of the stitches into the colorwork sections.

Charts
The charts for this pattern are very large. Each fits on a letter-sized page.
Click the chart name below and print the resulting page. Charts revised April 13, 2010.

Leg + cuff for all sizesSmallMedium Large

DIRECTIONS
TOE
Using Judy's Magic Cast-On and Main Color, cast on 13 stitches on each of two needles -- 26 stitches total.
Mark start and center of round. First 13 sts will be the instep; the second 13 will be the sole.

Round 1: K.
Round 2: [K1, m1L, k11, m1R, k1] twice to end of round. 30 stitches total.
Round 3 & 4: K.

Join CC.

Row 1 (CC): Work back and forth with CC as per chart, slipping MC sts.
Round 2 (MC):
(A):
Work instep sts as per chart, working MC sts and slipping CC sts; on sole, k1, m1L, k to last st, m1R, k1. 34 sts total.
(B): Work instep sts as per chart, working MC sts and slipping CC sts; knit all sole sts. 34 sts.

Continue according to chart for remainder of toe. Remember that you work the increases only on (A) of each MC round. At end of toe instep and sole are each 29[35, 41] sts. FOOT
Row 1 and all subsequent odd-numbered/CC rows in foot section (CC): Work back and forth with CC as per chart, slipping MC sts.
Rounds 2 and 4 (MC):
(
A):
Work instep sts as per chart, working MC sts and slipping CC sts.
Size S only: K all sole sts.
Sizes M and L only (sole): K1, k to last st, w&t, slip wrapped st to RH needle, p to last st, fin-w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle, k to end.
(B):
Work instep sts as per chart, working MC sts and slipping CC sts; knit all sole sts.

Rounds 6 and 8 (MC):
(A):
Work instep sts as per chart, working MC sts and slipping CC sts. Sole: K1, k to last st, w&t, slip wrapped st to RH needle, p to last st, fin-w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle, k to end.
(B):
Work instep sts as per chart, working MC sts and slipping CC sts; knit all sole sts.

Round 10 and all subsequent even-numbered/MC rounds in foot section (MC): work instep sts according to chart and k all sole sts.

For a longer or shorter foot, repeat or omit last six rows of the Foot Chart. Each 6-row repeat is approximately 3/4 inch long.

ARCH
Work instep of arch according to chart, and sole as written out below. Short rows are worked on the sole sts on (A) of MC rounds for shaping, and the instep is worked with increases similar to the toe.

Row 1 (CC) and all subsequent odd-numbered/CC rows in arch section: Work according to chart.

Round 2 (MC):
(A)
Work instep according to chart – 31[37, 43] sts on instep. On sole, k to last st, w&t, slip wrapped st to RH needle, place marker 1, p to last st, fin-w&t, slip wrapped st and yo to LH needle, place marker 2, k to end.
(B)
Work instep according to chart; k all sole sts.

Rounds 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 (MC):
(A)
Work instep according to chart (2 sts increased each round). Work sole with short rows as follows: knit to st before marker 1, w&t, remove marker, slip wrapped st to RH needle, replace marker, purl to st before marker 2, fin-w&t, slip yo to LH needle, remove marker, slip wrapped st and yo to RH needle, replace marker, k to end.
(B)
Work instep according to chart; knit all sole sts.

After round 12, the stitch markers should be 6 sts in from either side of the sole sts, and the instep should have a total of 41[47, 53] sts.

Round 14 (MC):
(A)
Work instep according to chart. On sole stitches:
Knit to st before marker 1, w&t, remove marker, slip wrapped st to RH needle, replace marker.
Purl to st before marker 2, mid-w&t, remove marker, slip wrapped st to RH needle, replace marker.
K to last st, w&t, slip wrapped st to RH needle, place marker 3.
P to last st, fin-w&t, slip wrapped st and yo back to RH needle, place marker 4.
K to end of sole sts.
(B) Work instep according to chart; k all sole sts.

There are now four stitch markers in the sole sts, with the outer pair six stitches away from the inner pair. Both sets will move toward the middle in the next few rounds. When looking at the sole from the right side, the markers are numbered from left to right: 3, 1, 2, 4.

Remainder of even-numbered arch rounds (MC): (A) Work instep according to chart. On sole needle:
Knit to st before marker 1, w&t, remove marker, slip wrapped st to RH needle, replace marker.
Purl to st before marker 2, mid-w&t, remove marker, slip wrapped st to RH needle, replace marker.
K to marker 3, w&t, remove marker, slip wrapped st to RH needle, replace marker.
P to marker 4, fin-w&t, slip yo to LH needle, remove marker, slip wrapped st and yo to RH needle, replace marker.
K to end.
(B) Work instep according to chart; k all sole sts.

HEEL
At this point there will be 47[59, 71] sts on the instep and 29[35, 41] sts on the sole. The inner pair of stitch markers (1 and 2) should be 11 sts apart, with the outer pair of markers 6 sts away from the inner pair. Do not move the stitch markers after wrapping and turning in this section.

In this section, you’re going to be working decreases at the sides of the foot to form the heel turn, and to increase the width of the patterned section so that it wraps around the foot. To facilitate this, stitches should be rearranged on the needles. The start of the round does not change, nor does the alignment of the stitches -- that is, any sts that were part of the instep before remain part of the instep and are worked according to the chart, even if they are grouped on the same needle(s) as the sole stitches. If you haven’t already got a marker in for the start of the round, add one now.

Row 1 (CC):
(A)
Move stitches from the instep needle(s) to the sole/heel needle(s) by using the same needle you just finished the previous MC round with to work the first 6[9, 12] sts of chart. Work the next 35[41, 47] sts of chart with usual instep needle(s). Work the remaining chart sts as if they were the beginning of the heel sts (that is, with the sole needle if using 2 circulars or magic loop, or free needle if using dpns), then wrap/yo/turn as usual.
(B) Work according to chart. Beg of round/row is now 6[9, 12] sts before the end of the stitches on the sole needle.

Round 2 (MC):
(A) Work instep according to chart. Work sole as follows:
K the sole sts up to marker 1, w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle.
P to marker 2, mid-w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle.
K to marker 3, w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle, p2tog.
P to marker 4, mid-w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle, ssk.
K to st that was made at the beginning of the round (the st before the first CC st), w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle.
P to the st made at the end of the instep, fin-w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle.
K to end of sole sts.
(B) Work instep sts according to chart; k sole sts. Then work the first st of the round -- this is now the last st of the round.

Each subsequent MC round of the heel will begin with the make 1/weave instead of k1, and each subsequent CC (A) will begin with k1 instead of sl 1. The wrap/yo/turn on CC rows and the make 1/work wrap on MC rounds should now be considered the last st of the instep (and is charted as such).

Row 3 and all subsequent CC heel rows: Work according to chart.

Rounds 4, 6 (MC):
(A) Work as per Round 2 (A).
(B) Work instep according to chart, k all sole sts. The number of sts on the sole between the outer and inner pair of markers will decrease each round, and you will be wrapping the same four sole sts on each (A) sole as well as the two new sts made on the (A) instep.

Round 8 (MC):
(A) Work instep sts as charted. Work sole as follows:
K to marker 3, removing markers 1 and 2 as you go, w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle, p2tog.
P to marker 4, mid-w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle, ssk.
K to st made at beg of round, w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle. Size L only: p2tog.
P to st made at end of instep, fin-w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle. Size L only: ssk.
K to end of sole.
(B) Work instep according to chart and k all sole sts. Not including the start of round marker, there are now only two stitch markers (3 and 4) on sole, 13 sts apart. These will move toward each other on each of the next 5 MC rounds.

Round 10 (MC): (A) Work instep sts as charted. Work sole as follows:
K to marker 4, ssk, k to two sts before marker 3, k2tog, k to st made at beg of round, w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle. Sizes M and L only: p2tog.
P to st made at end of instep, fin-w&t, sl wrapped st to RH needle. Sizes M and L only: ssk.
K to end of sole.
(B) Work instep according to chart and k all sole sts.

Rounds 12, 14 (MC):
(A) Work instep sts as charted. Work sole of (A) as follows:
Size S only: K to marker 4, ssk, k to two sts before marker 3, k2tog, k to end of sole.
Sizes M and L only: Ssk, k to marker 4, ssk, k to two sts before marker 3, k2tog, k to two sts before end of sole, k2tog.
(B) Work instep according to chart and k all sole sts.

Rounds 16, 18 (MC):

(A) Work instep sts as charted. Work sole as follows: Ssk, k to marker 4, ssk, k to two sts before marker 3, k2tog, k to 2 sts before end of sole, k2tog.
(B) Work instep according to chart and k all sole sts.

Round 20 (MC):
(A) Work instep sts as charted. Work (A) sole as follows:
Sizes S and M: Ssk, k5 (removing markers), k2tog.
Size L: Ssk, k3 (to marker 4), remove marker, ss2k, remove marker 3, k3, k2tog.
(B) Work instep according to chart and k all sole sts

Round 22 (MC):
(A) Work instep sts as charted. Work (A) sole as follows:
Sizes S and M: Ssk, k3, k2tog.
Size L: Ssk, k1, ss2k, k1, k2tog.
(B) Work instep as charted; k5.

Round 24 (MC):
(A) Work instep sts as charted. Sole: ssk, k1, k2tog.
(B) Work instep as charted; k3.

Round 26 (MC):
(A) Work all sts as charted (the only remaining sole st is the ss2k at the end of the chart row).
(B) Work according to chart.

There is now a total of 72[84, 96] sts.

LEG
From this point on you will be working only in the round, although you will still be working each round as charted twice. To avoid a visible jog, the start of the round shifts to the left at every color change; slip purlwise the stitches between the end of (B) of one color and the start of (A) of the next. The yarn is woven in at the beginning of the A part of each chart round to further minimize the jog.

Work Rounds 1-6 of leg chart a total of 3 times. Note: The leg is not very elastic due to the slip-stitch pattern, and the sock may become difficult to get on and off if the leg is lengthened.

CUFF
Rounds 1-3: Work as charted. (The start of the round will move as per the leg.) After round 3, the MC yarn will be positioned to knit the first of a set of 5 MC sts on the following round.

Round 4 (MC):
(A) K5, sl 1 all around, as charted.
(B) [P1, k1, p1, k1, p1, sl 1] to end.

Round 5
(CC):
(A) [Sl 1, p1, sl 1, p1, k1, p1] to end of round, weaving MC yarn in last rep, as charted.
(B) [Sl 1, p1, sl 1, p1, k1, p1] to end. Break CC yarn.

The remainder of the cuff is worked in a partially tubular/double-knit ribbing, with half the sts worked while the other half are slipped, alternated with rounds of [k1,p1] rib.

Round 6: [Sl 1 with yarn in back, p1].
Round 7: [K1, sl 1 with yarn in front].
Round 8: [K1, p1] to end of round.

Repeat Rounds 6-8 6 times.

Note: I found it helpful to use the CC tail as a simple row counter, moving it from RS to WS or the reverse after each rep of Round 8.

Knit Round 6 once more, then round 7 twice. Break yarn, leaving 1yd tail, and thread onto tapestry needle. Bind off in tubular rib (grafting just-knitted sst on RS to slipped sts on WS). Instructions can be found here.

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FINISHING
Weave in yarn ends.

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ABOUT THE DESIGNER

Robin Peters was nearly late to her own wedding because she was knitting her wedding shawl when she was supposed to be getting dressed. She has yet to finish the shawl, although she did successfully participate in the wedding.

She participates minimally on Ravelry as Alunissage, has an even less than minimal blog at alunissage.net, and dreams of selling batts at her as-yet nonexistent Etsy shop. Help drag her kicking and screaming into the '00s by contacting her at any of these venues and encouraging her to say and/or do something.

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