Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Dragonfly Fibers
beauty shot


Octopodes are a pair socks with stranded colorwork on the foot, and helix knitting to stripe the ankle. All throughout, a pair of stripes shoot up the sides of the socks from toe to top, creating a strong visual line.

I've developed a fondness for cephalopods over the last 10 years. It started in college when one of my biology friends insisted that cuttlefish really were cute, and then extended as I learned just how smart -- in a completely non-human way -- creatures like octopi, squid and cuttlefish are. I wanted to share my geeky love for them. Plus, I love how many different forms of the plural octopus there are. The Oxford English Dictionary lists octopuses, octopi and octopodes as all correct forms. Although, technically octopi is hypercorrect, coming from the mistaken notion that the ūs in octopūs is a Latin second declension ending. Being perverse, I prefer the rarer form of octopodes, which is the ancient Greek plural, oktō-pous being from the Greek, meaning eight-foot.

When planning these socks I had some specific requirements: stranded, for warmth, with an afterthought heel [as I always wear my heels out, and afterthought heels are easier to replace since stranded knitting is a pain to darn in pattern]. However, I knew I wanted to carry the two colors of yarn into the ankle, but at the same time I didn't want the ankle in stranded knitting, as it would be too difficult to fit my heels into the socks. Since I have a fondness for helix striping combined with slip stitches, the ankle is as you see.

spacer photos: Jennifer Raymond
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XS[S, M, L, XL]
shown in size L

Circumference around ball of foot: 8[8.5, 8.75, 9, 9.5] inches
Foot length: 9[9.25, 9.5, 10, 10.25] inches, length can be added to adjust fit
Height from top of heel: 6.5[6.75, 7, 7.5, 8], adjustable to fit

A note on sizing: these stranded colorwork socks are not very stretchy. We recommend they be worn with zero ease -- that is, you should choose to make the size that most closely matches your foot circumference. If the sock is too short or too long for you lengthwise but fits your circumference, you can make it shorter or longer by knitting less or more rows in the foot before the chart.

A note on the heel: to accommodate enough room to slide the sock on, extra room has been added to the afterthought heel to increase the heel diagonal. If your heel diagonal is typically shallow, you might not want to work as many rows in the heel, or only work one repeat of the beginning heel decreases before going onto the 2nd heel decrease chart.



Dragonfly Fibers Djinni [80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 420 yd per 4 oz skein]
spacer [MC] Poseidon; 1 skeins
spacer [CC] Silver Fox; 1 skeins
Note: Design uses approximately 113[133, 156, 184, 221] yds of each color.

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer US #1/2.25 mm needles for working in the round

spacer Yarn needle
spacer Waste yarn
spacer Stitch Markers



36 sts/36.5 rounds = 4 inches in stranded colourwork
38 sts/44 rounds = 4 inches in helix knitting

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

The Turkish Cast on can be found here

Information on Helix Knitting can be found here and here.

Note: When working the Leg, make sure your sl stitches are a little bit looser than your normal k st, so the sl st can "reach" over 2 rounds of knitting.

Information on Color Stranding and Wrapping Floats can be found here.

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off can be found here.

Information on Grafting can be found here.

This pattern involves some long floats. Long floats can get caught on toes when putting the socks on. To avoid this phenomenon, it is best to "catch" floats longer than 1 inch in your knitting -- in this pattern that means stretches longer than 7-9 sts. See the references above for help. Make sure to keep your floats stretchy enough not to pucker your knitting, especially at the end of the octopus chart!

The charts for this pattern are very large and fit on a letter-sized page.
Click here and print the resulting page.


With MC, using the Turkish Method CO 15[17, 19, 21, 23] sts onto each of two needles -- 30[34, 38, 42, 46] sts total.

Distribute sts across your needles as you prefer and join for working in the round. Attach CC.

Rnd 1: [Work row 1 of Toe Chart, working 2-stitch repeat 5[6, 7, 8, 9] times] twice. First half of round forms instep; second half of round forms sole.

Continue as set, adding in addition repeats of the 2-stitch repeat until you have worked all four rows of the Toe Chart row 5 times, and work rows 1-2 once more. 37[39, 41, 43, 45] sts each on instep and sole; 74[78, 82, 86, 90] sts total.

Next round, shift start of round for patterning setup, sizes XS[S, M] only: Work even in pattern as set until 3[2,1] sts rem. This is the new start of round.

Next round, shift start of round for patterning setup, size XL only: Work 1 st in pattern as set. This is the new start of round.

For size L, start of round stays the same, no setup round required.

Foot round: Work Foot Chart around until foot measures 6.5[7, 7.25, 7.5, 8] inches short of full desired foot length; for an average length foot, this might only be a round or two of the chart.

Next round: Work Instep chart across first 43 sts of round; pm, work Foot chart across rem 31[35, 39, 43, 47] sts of sole.

Work in pattern as set until Row 18[18, 18, 18, 12] of Instep chart is complete.

To ensure you are set up correctly: Count (but do not knit) 15[17, 19, 21, 23] sts in from the beginning of the sole. The next st (the 16[18, 20, 22, 24]th st), should be white. If it is not, work another round of the sock in pattern as set.

Gusset round: Work across instep in pattern as set; work first 15[17, 19, 21, 22] sts of sole, place marker (for right side of gusset chart), work first row of Gusset Chart, place marker (to mark other side of gusset chart); continue in pattern as set on rest of sole.

Continue in pattern as set until 2 full repeats of the gusset chart have been worked. 8 gusset sts added. 82[86, 90, 94, 98] sts total; 39[43, 47, 51, 55] on the sole. Remove Gusset markers.

Continue even in pattern as set until Row 41 of the Instep chart is complete.

Next rnd: Work Row 42 of Instep chart across Instep as set, and Stop.

To setup Afterthought Heel:
Turn work so that WS of sole sts are facing. Join waste yarn at the start of the WS of the sole sts, and purl across the 39[43, 47, 51, 55] sts of the sole. Turn. K across 39[43, 47, 51, 55] sts of the sole.

Continue, working only on sole sts with waste yarn, working 6 more rows of st st. Cut waste yarn.

Turn work so that RS is facing, and return to working yarn at start of sole sts. Work across sole sts in pattern as set to end of round.

Next rnd: Work across instep in pattern as set. On sole, k1, k7[8, 9, 10, 11], k3tog] 3 times; k to end of sole in pattern, continuing in two-color pattern. (Decreasing with k3tog will ensure that the pattern remains the same.) 33[37, 41, 45, 49] sts on sole.

Continue in pattern as set until all rows of Instep chart have been worked. Take the marker that is used to mark the beginning of sole, and move it back 3 sts. This marker will now mark the beginning of the sole. 40 sts on instep; 36[40, 44, 48, 52] on sole.

The leg pattern is worked in helix knitting, with vertical stripes made using sl sts.

Using only CC (leave the MC yarn hanging), k1, sl1, k1, p3tog, [k1, p1] to 7 sts before the sole marker; k1, p3tog, k1, sl1, k1; k1, sl1, k1, p3tog, [k1, p1] until 7 sts left before end of round k1, p3tog, k1, sl1, k1]. 36 sts on instep and 32[36, 40, 44, 48] sts on the sole/back of leg. 68[72, 76, 80, 84] sts around.

Leg round 1: Using MC, sl 1, k1, sl 1, [p1, k1] to last 4 sts of instep, p1, sl 1, k1, sl 1; [p1, k1] to last st, p1.

Leg round 2: Using CC, K1, sl 1, k1, p1, [k1, p1] to last 3 sts of instep, k1, sl 1, k1; [p1, k1] to last st, p1.

Repeat Leg rounds 1-2 until Leg measures 6.5[6.75, 7, 7.5, 8] from top of Foot chart, or desired length.

Using MC, BO using Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy BO.

Weave in MC and CC ends.

Afterthought Heel
Remove waste yarn and return the sts to needles, arranged so that the 39[43, 47, 51, 55] sts from sole side are grouped together, and the 39[43, 47, 51, 55] sts from instep side are grouped together. 78[86, 94, 102, 110] sts total. With RS facing, join MC and CC at start of the instep sts.

Work 1 round, continuing Foot chart across all sts.

Next round, start heel chart: Work heel chart, working first 2-st repeat 18[20, 22, 24, 26] times across instep, and then working second 2-st repeat 18[20, 22, 24, 26] times across sole sts.
Continue, working Heel Decreases chart until there are 13 sts on instep and 13 sts on sole, 26 total.
After each repeat of the four rounds, there will be two fewer instances of the 2-st repeat on each side.

Graft toe closed with Kitchener stitch in MC. If you do not wish the line of single sts to show, pull yarn tight instead of matching to gauge, making the stitching invisible.


Weave in ends. Block socks: the stranded color work will lie much flatter if blocked!


designernamespacer Jennifer Raymond is a knit and crochet designer who creates quirky yet classic garments. She especially enjoys crafting crochet cardigans and knit socks. When not crafting she spends her time biking, spinning, and attempting not to kill her plants.

Visit her at, take a look at her patterns on Ravelry, or attend one of her classes in the Metro Washington DC area. Love this pattern? Sign up for the Tinking Turtle Newsletter to receive more news about Jennifer!