Ah, spring! That transitional time when you’ve given up your boots, but aren’t yet ready to start wearing sandals. Calf-length wool socks look and feel too wintry, but it’s not yet warm enough to go entirely without. And my sneakers rub if I wear them on my bare feet.
How about a cotton sock? Pure cotton isn’t great for handknit socks, as it lacks stretch and can be hard to work with, and doesn’t necessarily feel very good on your feet. In addition, because cotton absorbs rather than wicks moisture, pure cotton socks – especially when worn with sneakers – can get, shall we say, a bit fragrant.
The Feel Good Sock Yarn company offers an excellent solution. Their Sliver Spun sock yarn is a cotton and elastic blend, easier to work with and holds its shape better, and a thread of sterling silver – yes, really! – that has antibacterial, and therefore anti-smell, properties.
This design is worked toe up, and features a fun and springy lace edging on the fold-over cuff. Because I don’t want full-length socks on a warm spring day in my sneakers. I think they look rather kicky and fun with a skirt. (The fashionistas are wearing socks with sandals too; this design would be ideal for that, too, if that’s your thing!)
I’ve used my current favourite cast-on method, the Chinese Waitress. It’s stretchy and gorgeous but doesn’t require a long tail. It’s explained in Cap Sease’s excellent book ‘Cast On, Bind Off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting’, and derives its name from how it was discovered: a friend of Cap was taught the method by a waitress in a restaurant in China.
Using Judy’s Magic Cast-on, CO 20[20, 24, 24, 24] sts –10[12, 12, 12] sts on each of two needles.
If you’re working on DPNs, start as follows: Round 1: K10[10, 12, 12, 12] with one needle, k5[5, 6, 6, 6] with a second, and k5[5, 6, 6, 6] with a third. The first stitch may be loose – twist the tail around the working yarn when you work it.
If you’re working with magic loop or 2 circulars, start as follows: Round 1: K10[10, 12, 12, 12] with one needle, and k10[10, 12, 12, 12] with a second. The first stitch may be loose – twist the tail around the working yarn when you work it.
Place a safety pin or marker in the toe to indicate the start of the round, and a second to indicate the center of the round.
Round 2, increase: Kfb, knit to 2 sts before center of round, kfb, k1; kfb, knit to 2 sts before end of round, kfb, k1; 4 sts increased. Round 3: Knit around.
Repeat the above two rounds 8[9, 9, 10, 11] more times, until you have 56[60, 64, 68, 72] sts total on your needles.
Knit all rounds until sock measures 3.25[3.5, 4, 4.25, 4.5] inches short of full foot length (approximately 4.25[4.75, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 6.75, 7.25, 7.5] inches), measured slightly stretched.
Shape Gusset Gusset setup round: Knit around, until 1 st remains. To make the gusset increases simpler, slip this remaining stitch to the first needle of the round.
Gusset Round 1: Kfb, place first heel marker, knit to 1 st before the center of round, kfb; knit to end of round. 2 gusset sts increased; 58[62, 66, 70, 74] sts total. Gusset Round 2: K to 1 st before the center of the round, place second heel marker, k to end of round.
You should be set up as follows: There will be 2 sts before the first marker, the sole stitches (half the total stitch count) between the two markers, 1 (newly created) gusset st after the second marker. For ease of working, keep all these sts grouped together on one needle.
The remaining 28[30, 32, 34, 36] sts of the round form the instep. If you’re on DPNs, split them across two needles; if you’re on Magic Loop or Two circulars, they should be grouped together on the other side/needle.
Round 3: Kfb, k until 1 st remains in gusset, kfb; knit to end of round. 2 gusset sts increased. Round 4: Knit around.
Repeat Rounds 3-4 9[10, 11, 12, 13] more times. 78[84, 90, 96, 102] sts total.
The Short Row Gusset Heel
This is worked back and forth in rows on the stitches between the heel markers.
To setup, knit the first st on the sole, and slip that to the last needle of the round. This restores the original start of round. Short Row 1 [RS]: Knit to first marker, slip marker, knit to 1 st before second marker, w&t. Short Row 2 [WS]: Purl to 1 st before marker, w&t.
Working only on the heel stitches, continue: Short Row 3 [RS]: Knit to st before last wrapped st, w&t. Short Row 4 [WS]: Purl to st before last wrapped st, w&t.
Repeat Short Rows 3-4 7[8, 9, 9, 10] more times, until 10[10, 10, 12, 12] sts remain unwrapped in the middle, ending with a WS row.
At this point, you can remove the heel markers.
Heel Flap Row 1 [RS]: K10[10, 10, 12, 12], knit the next 8[9, 10, 10, 11] sts together with their wraps; work an ssk on the last heel stitch (together with its wrap) and the first of the gusset stitches. Turn. Row 2 [WS]: Sl1, p18[19, 20, 22, 23], purl the next 8[9, 10, 10, 11] sts together with their wraps; work p2tog on the last gusset stitch (together with its wrap) and the first of the gusset stitches. Turn. Row 3 [RS]: Sl1, k26[28, 30, 32, 34], ssk, turn. Row 4 [WS]: Sl1, p26[28, 30, 32, 34], p2tog, turn.
Repeat the last 2 rows 8[9, 10, 11, 12] more times, until all but one of gusset stitches on each side have been decreased. 58[62, 66, 70, 74] sts remain. RS will be facing.
The Leg & Cuff
From here, you will restart working in rounds. The two final gusset decreases are worked in the first round of the leg. Note: I find that delaying these final two gusset decreases makes the top of the heel neater, the join smoother, and helps reduce the risk of that pesky hole.
First leg round: Sl1, k26[28, 30, 32, 34], ssk, k across instep sts; k2tog, k27[29, 31, 33, 35] to end of heel sts. This is the new start of round. 56[60, 64, 68, 72] sts.
Next leg round, start ribbing: [K1, p1] around.
Work ribbing as set for 2 inches.
For second and fifth sizes, proceed to Edging.
First size only, setup for Edging: [(K1, p1) 13 times, k2tog] twice. 54 sts. Third size only, setup for Edging: [(K1, p1) 16 times, m1] twice. 66 sts. Fourth size only, setup for Edging: [(K1, p1) 16 times, k2tog] twice. 66 sts.
Turn work so WS is facing. Using the Chinese Waitress Method, CO 18 sts.
Work Lace edging from written or chart instructions. The decrease worked at the end of RS rows attaches edging to cuff, and decreases away one stitch of the cuff.
Work Lace edging around until you have worked 9[10, 11, 11, 12] full repeats.
After final row, BO, and cut yarn, leaving a 4-inch tail.
Wash socks to block. Fold cuff down towards the outside, and with RS facing, seam together CO and BO edges of edging, making sure you close up any gaps where the edging meets the cuff top at the join. Weave in ends.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
After a long cold winter, Kate likes to feel the sun on her legs.