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earth faire

I've always loved herringbone patterned socks, so I decided why not knit a pair? This pattern is an easy way to try your hand at stranded knitting with two colors.

The foot of the sock is a single color to minimize thickness, since stranded knitting is thicker and less elastic.

The afterthought heel and rounded toes are knit in the contrasting color for added fun. Perhaps these socks will provide a great distraction the next time someone mentions your ever-growing sock yarn stash.

Just whip them out and exclaim "But LOOK at these socks I knit!"

photos: Cookie A

Women's medium

Foot circumference: 8 inches
Leg circumference at widest point: 9 inches
Foot length: You decide!

Note: The herringbone pattern is worked using the stranded colorwork technique, resulting in a thicker fabric and less elasticity than stockinette st worked with a single yarn. For this reason, the leg is wider than the foot.

Tess Designer Yarn Super Socks & Baby [80% merino, 20% nylon; 450 yd/411m per 100g skein]; 1 skein each color
[MC] Brown
[CC] Red
Note: If substituting with 50g balls of sock yarn, use 2 balls of MC and 1 ball of CC.

2 US #2/2.5mm circular needles (any length)
Safety pin or split ring marker
Smooth waste yarn (mercerized cotton works well)
Tapestry needle

32 sts/48 rows = 4 inches in stockinette st

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

1x1 Rib (Worked in the round over an even number of sts):
Round 1: [K1, p1] to end of round.
Repeat this round for 1x1 Rib.

Working with Two Circular Needles
This project is worked in the round using 2 circular needles. If you are unfamiliar with this technique instructions may be found here.

This sock is worked using an "afterthought heel". The heel sts are worked using waste yarn, then they are worked again using the working yarn. When the rest of the sock is complete, the waste yarn is removed and the resulting live sts are placed on the needles. The heel is then worked on these sts.

Instructions for grafting can be found here.



Using MC, CO 72 stitches. Divide sts evenly between needles (36 sts on each needle) and join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist. Place safety pin or split ring marker in work to indicate beginning of round.

First Needle of round will be designated Needle 1; second needle will be Needle 2.

Work in 1x1 Rib until work measures 1 inch.

Join CC and work Rounds 1-4 of Herringbone Chart until work measures 9.5 inches. Break CC, leaving a 4-6 inch tail. Continue using MC only.

Next Round: K first 18 sts of Needle 1 onto Needle 1; k last 18 sts of Needle 1 and first 18 sts of Needle 2 onto Needle 2 - this will be new end of round, move marker to this point; k last 18 sts of Needle 2 onto Needle 1. 36 sts on each needle.

K to the end of Needle 1, then k all sts on Needle 2. The "seam" (end of colorwork rounds) will now be at center of Needle 1; these sts will form the back of the sock.
K 2 rounds.

Decrease Round: [K1, ssk, k to last 3 sts on needle, k2tog, k1] twice. 68 sts.

K 3 rounds.

Work Decrease Round. 64 sts.
K 2 rounds.

Heel Placement Round: Using waste yarn, k all sts of Needle 1, break waste yarn, leaving a tail; slide these sts back to the other end of the needle and k them again using MC; k all sts of Needle 2. Foot length is measured from this round.

Cont in stockinette st using MC until work, from Heel Placement Round, measures 3.5 inches less than desired length of foot. Break MC, leaving a 4-6 inch tail.

Note: The toe is worked using CC. Unlike the popular wedge toe, this is a more rounded toe that narrows slowly at first, then more quickly toward the end.

Using CC, k 4 rounds.

Work Decrease Round as above. 60 sts.

K 3 rounds.
Work Decrease Round.

Repeat these 4 rounds once more. 52 sts.

K 2 rounds.
Work Decrease Round.
Repeat these 3 rounds once more. 44 sts.

K 1 round.
Work Decrease Round.
Repeat these 2 rounds once more. 36 sts.

Work Decrease Round twice. 28 sts.

Graft sts of Needle 1 to sts of Needle 2.

Carefully remove waste yarn from Heel Placement Round, placing resulting live sts on needles. There will be 32 sts on one needle (Needle 1) and 33 sts on the other (Needle 2). Pick up an additional st at each end of each needle: 34 sts on Needle 1 and 35 sts on Needle 2. Attach CC.

Next Round: Ssk, k to last 2 sts on Needle 1, k2tog; ssk, k to last 3 sts on Needle 2, k3tog. 64 sts.

K 1 round.
Next Round: [Ssk, k to last 2 sts on needle, k2tog] twice. 4 sts decreased.
Repeat these 2 rounds 9 times more. 24 sts rem.

Graft sts of Needle 1 to sts of Needle 2.


Weave in all ends and block well.


Cookie is an obsessed knitter living in California. In her spare time, she co-authors a blog and maintains a website for the Lacy Knitter's Guild.