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Pick Up Sticks


A 2006 poll commissioned by McGregor Socks revealed an interesting tidbit: East Coast Canadians are more likely than anyone else in the country to leave our socks on while, um, coupling. How fitting that this pattern should be born in Nova Scotia and written for a Nova Scotia yarn! If warm summer nights find you still needing a little something to keep your feet cozy, curl up for a weekend with your iced tea and your needles. The end result will give new meaning to slipping into something a little more comfortable.

The stitch pattern is a modified version of the Fancy Trellis Stitch from Mon Tricots 1300 Pattern Stitches, printed in France in the third quarter of 1979. This book, in tatters and marked up by its previous owner, was a terrific yard sale find that I find invaluable for design purposes. The stitch sequence is almost too simple to be called lace. Repeated over just 7 stitches and 8 rows, it will find its way into your memory in no time.

Sea Wool is an exciting new blend of wool and Seacell, a soft, highly breathable fiber derived from seaweed. Seacell has anti-inflammatory properties, has been shown to protect the skin and possesses a decadent sheen.

Coupling is worked from a short-row toe with lacy gusset increases and a no-gap reverse heel flap. The stitch pattern has a fair bit of stretch, particularly in the vertical direction. Leave the foot length just a bit on the short side to really wake up the stitch detail.

photos: Nancy McLaughlin (blue sock), Deb Barnhill (green sock), Todd Barnhill (headshot)

To fit an adult womans foot, with instructions included for a higher instep
Directions are written as follows:
Regular [Higher instep]
Circumference: 7.5 inches unstretched; will comfortably stretch to fit up to 12.5 inches
Length: To fit

Fleece Artist Sea Wool [70% merino wool, 30% seacell]; 385 yd/350 m per 115g skein]; color: Periwinkle [shown above] Spring [shown below]; 1 skein
Small amount smooth waste yarn

2 US #2/3mm circular needles, 20 inches or longer
Crochet hook
Small amount smooth waste yarn
Tapestry needle

30 sts / 48 rows = 4 inches in charted pattern, unstretched

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

These socks are worked from the toe up on two circular needles. If you are unfamiliar with this technique, instructions may be found here.

If you prefer, the socks may be worked using the "Magic Loop" technique, or on double-point needles. If using double-point needles, take care when dividing stitches over patterned portion, to ensure that yarn overs are not missed or dropped.

Throughout the pattern, when instructed to "m1" (make one stitch), insert the left needle from front to back under the horizontal strand which lies between the last stitch worked and the next stitch, and knit into its front loop. This will produce visible, lacy increases over the gussets. When worked this way within the charted pattern, there is no need to work a yarn over at the beginning or end of the needle (see the Cheater Chart).

Crochet Cast On
Using waste yarn, work a crochet chain several sts longer than the number of sts to be cast on. Starting 1 or 2 sts in from end of chain and using working yarn, pick up and k 1 st in the back loop of each ch until the required number of sts have been picked up. Later, the chain will be unraveled and the resulting live sts picked up.

1x1 Twisted Rib (Worked over an even number of sts):
Round 1: [K1 tbl, p1] around.
Repeat this round for 1x1 Twisted Rib.

Chart Notes:
You may choose to work from either the Basic Chart or the Cheater Chart below. Both will give the same result, but the Cheater Chart uses m1 increases in place of the yarn over increases which would be worked at the ends of the needles. (It may look odd, but try it; it works!)
If you are unfazed by the prospect of working a yarn over at the beginning or end of a needle, go ahead and use the Basic Chart.
If you are working from the Basic Chart, the chart pattern will be repeated 4 times on each needle. If you are working from the Cheater Chart, the chart is worked once for each needle, and the Pattern Repeat section will be worked twice.


Using Crochet Cast On, CO 28 sts.
Row 1 [WS]: P all sts.
Row 2 [RS]: K27, W&T.
Row 3 [WS]: P26, W&T.
Rows 4-19: Work as for Rows 2 and 3, working each row 1 st shorter than the last.

Row 20 [RS]: K10, W&T.
Row 21 [WS]: P10, p next st together with its wrap, W&T.
Row 22 [RS]: K11, p next st together with its two wraps, W&T.
Row 23 [WS]: P12, p next st together with its two wraps, W&T.
Rows 24-37: Work as for rows 22 and 23, working each row 1 st longer than the last, and omitting wrap at the end of Row 37.

Row 38 [RS]: Sl1, k26, k last st together with its two wraps.
Remove crochet chain from CO edge and place resulting 27 live sts onto a second needle, k these sts, m1. 56 sts (28 sts on each of 2 needles). K 1 round.

Note: Throughout this pattern, the first needle of the round will be referred to as Needle 1; the second needle will be Needle 2.

Set-up Round: Work 28 sts on Needle 1 in chart pattern; k to end of Needle 2.
Continue in pattern as set, working sts on Needle 1 in chart pattern and sts on Needle 2 in stockinette st, until work measures approx. 3.25[3.5] inches less than desired foot length, ending with Round 3 or Round 7 of chart pattern.

Increase Round: Work in patt to end of Needle 1; k1, m1, work to last st of Needle 2, m1, k1.
Work 1 round in pattern.
Repeat these 2 rounds 8[10] times more, then work Increase Round once more. 76[80] sts: 28 sts on Needle 1, 48[52] sts on Needle 2. You should have just worked Round 2 or Round 6 of chart pattern.

Turn Heel
Heel is worked back and forth over the 28 sts on Needle 2.
Row 1 [RS]: Work in pattern to end of Needle 1 (Round 3 or Round 7 of pattern); k first 33[35] sts of Needle 2. Turn work.
Even-numbered Row 2-10 [WS]: Sl 1, p17. Turn work.
Odd-numbered Rows 3-9 [RS]: Sl 1, k17. Turn work.
Row 11 [RS]: Sl 1, k15, W&T.
Row 12 [WS]: Sl 1, p13, W&T.
Row 13 [RS]: Sl 1, k11, W&T.
Row 14 [WS]: Sl 1, p9, W&T.
Row 15 [RS]: Sl 1, k7, W&T.
Row 16 [WS]: Sl 1, p5, W&T.
Row 17 [RS]: Sl 1, k5, [k next st together with its wrap, k1] 3 times, pick up and k 5 sts (1 st in each slipped st) along edge of flap. Turn work.
Row 18 [WS]: Sl 1, p16, [p next st together with its wrap, p1] 3 times, pick up and p 5 sts (1 st in each slipped st) along edge of flap. Turn work.
You will now have 58[62] sts on Needle 2: 28 heel flap sts, and 15[17] gusset sts on each side of the flap sts.

Row 19 [RS]: [Sl1, k1] 13 times, sl 1, ssk. Turn work.
Row 20 [WS]: Sl 1, p26, p2tog. Turn work.
Repeat rows 19-20 13[15] times more. 30 sts on Needle 2.

Repeat row 19 once more, but do not turn work. Proceed to Leg.

Next Round: Knit across sts of Needle 1; k2tog, k to end of Needle 2. 56 sts. This will count as Round 4 or Round 8 of chart patt.
Next Round: Beginning with Round 5 or Round 1 of chart, work all sts on both needles in chart pattern.

Continue in pattern as set until leg measures 1.5 inches less than desired length, ending with Round 4 or 8 of pattern.
Work 1.5 inches 1x1 Twisted Rib.
Loosely BO all sts.

Weave in ends.

Deb Barnhill sleeps barefoot and chases two beautiful toddlers in Nova Scotia. Her duties as a part-time hospital pharmacist include knitting socks for all of her coworkers’ husbands. 

She blogs her brains out here.