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© Knitty 2002-2008. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. This means you.spacer

Patterns<click for more! Print With Images Print Without Images
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Pink Needles
Simply Sock Yarns
spacer models: Sadie Bellegarde, Kristen Watson spacer photos: Amy Florence, Sadie Bellegarde


The fishtail lace design featured in these socks is inspired in part by the mermaids of J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan, and in part by the mythology behind mermaids themselves.

Mermaids have many different mythological attributes ranging from the ability to shipwreck sailors to curing the sick.

In Peter Pan, when Peter takes Wendy and her brothers to visit the Mermaids’ Lagoon, the mermaids become jealous of Wendy and try to drown her to keep Peter for themselves.

Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid allows herself to die rather than to slay the man she loves. A common theme in all mermaid mythology is that of a strong will and heart. Knitting this sock requires neither.




Circumference: 8.5 inches before blocking.
Length: adjustable.

spacer Shibui Sock [100% Superwash Merino; 191yds/175m per 1.75 oz/ 50g skein]; Color 3115 “Sky”; 2 skeins

Recommended needle size:
spacer 1 set of 5 US #3/3mm double-point needles
spacer 1 24 inch or longer US #3/3mm circular needle
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]

spacer Tapestry needle
spacer Stitch holder (optional)
spacer Stitch markers (optional)


24 sts/34 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch.

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

Important: The socks  as photographed are worked with all-over twisted knit stitches – that is, all knit stitches are worked through the back loop (k tbl). The pattern is written for this.

If you wish, you can work all knit sts through the front loop. Just ignore the “tbl” in both the written and chart instructions. Note that you may need to adjust needle size down to achieve the same gauge if you choose to work untwisted knit stitches.

S2KPO: Slip 2 sts knitwise at the same time. Knit the next st, and pass the two slipped stitches over the knit stitch.  2 stitches decreased.

1x1 Rib:
Row 1: [K1 tbl, P1] rep to end of round.




CO 68 sts. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist. Place a marker to indicate the beginning of the round if you wish.

Work in 1x1 Rib for 1 inch.

Start working chart.
Work chart three times, and then work 11 rows of a fourth repeat. 

Heel Flap
Work back and forth on the first 34 stitches of the round.  The rem 34 sts – the instep sts – will be held while you work the heel.  Slip them to a holder if you wish.

Row 1 [RS]: [Sl1, k1 tbl], rep 16 more times. (17 reps total).  Turn.
Row 2 [WS]: Sl1, p33.  Turn.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 sixteen more times (17 repeats total).

Turn Heel
Row 1 [RS]: K19, SSK, k1 tbl, turn.
Row 2 [WS]: Sl1, p5, p2tog, k1 tbl, turn.
Row 3 [RS]: Sl1, k6 tbl, SSK, k1 tbl, turn.
Row 4 [WS]:  Sl1, p7, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 5 [RS]: Sl1, k8 tbl, SSK, k1 tbl, turn.
Row 6 [WS]:  Sl1, p9, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 7 [RS]: Sl1, k10 tbl, SSK, k1 tbl, turn.
Row 8 [WS]: Sl1, p11, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 9 [RS]: Sl1, k12 tbl, SSK, k1 tbl, turn.
Row 10 [WS]: Sl1, p13, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 11 [RS]: Sl1, k14 tbl, SSK, k1 tbl, turn.
Row 12 [WS]: Sl1, p15, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 13 [RS]: Sl1, k16 tbl, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 14 [WS]: Sl1, p17, p2tog, p1, turn.  20 sts rem.

Setup round: K tbl across heel stitches. With the same needle, pick up 17 sts along heel flap edge.  Knit tbl across the previously held sts for the instep. Pick up 17 sts on other side of heel flap, and k tbl10 sts from the heel sts. The beginning of the round is here, at the center of the heel.

From here, you will work the instep sts in the chart pattern starting again at Row 1, and work the sole sts as k tbl. 

Round 1: K tbl to 3 sts before the instep, k2tog, k1 tbl. Work instep sts in chart as established; k1 tbl, SSK, k tbl to end of round.
Round 2: K tbl all sts up to instep, work instep sts as per chart as established; k tbl to end of round.
Rep Rounds 1-2 until 34 sts remain on the sole – 68 sts total.


Continue as established, keeping sts of sole as k tbl, and working instep sts as per chart until foot from back of heel measures approximately 1.5 inches less than desired sock length.

It looks best if you finish a full chart repeat before you start the toe, but it’s not critical.

Decrease round: K tbl to 3 sts before the instep, k2tog, k2 tbl, SSK, k tbl to 3 sts before the end of instep, k2tog, k2 tbl, SSK, k tbl to end of Round.

Work an even round.

Repeat these two rounds until 20 sts rem.

Work the first 5 sts of the round once more so that the yarn is positioned at the side of the sock for grafting.

Slip the 10 sole sts to one needle, and the 10 instep sts to another.

Graft sts together to close toe.


Weave in ends.

designernameBlank Sadie is an avid knitter who loves nothing more than to enjoy time with her pets, a good book, and a challenging pattern.

You can read her blog here.