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Pink Needles
spacer photos: Suzi Anvin


Blackrose was born when I got once again hooked on spinning, this time in an effort to produce sock yarns that have elements both of self-striping yarns and of ragg yarns. I wanted a pattern that was simple enough to show off the yarn, yet would have enough pattern to draw interest (namely MY interest!)  I searched for a lace panel that would do well even in dark or colorful yarns, and designed these socks around it.

The lace is a simple 4-pattern- row repeat that is easily memorized and constructed. It lines up perfectly with the gusset decreases to form an elegant curve down the outside of your leg. The panel is placed on the outside front edge of each sock so that it is easily visible from either the front or the side of your foot. 

Much to my joy, I had about 1/3 of my yarn left, so I also threw together some matching wrist warmers.  If you're looking for a quick gift with 50 grams of yarn or less, these warmers might just be the ticket!  They are constructed as a simple tube with a small gusset for a well fitting thumb, and can be completed in just a few hours. If you've got small feet you may have enough leftovers from your socks to make both. 

If you're not a spinner, these socks will do well in most yarns suited to the gauge (thick fingering to very light sport).  I particularly recommend darker shades of hand-painted yarns. 


S [M, L, XL]
Socks shown in size M, wristlets in size S.


Sock Circumference: 7.5[8, 8.5, 9] inches around ball of foot.
Wristlet circumference: 6.5[7, 7.5, 8] inches around hand just below fingers.
Wristlet length: 7.5[7.5, 8,8] inches.


spacer 100% superwash merino roving, color: Ember, 4 ounces
Approx. 220[260, 310, 350] meters of heavy fingering yarn - 17 WPI   
Approx 110[120, 135, 145] meters of heavy fingering yarn - 17 WPI

Commercial yarn alternatives:

spacer Blue Moon Socks That Rock Lightweight  [100% superwash merino, 360yds/329m per 4.5 ounce skein] color: any colorway in the Raven clan; 1 skein for pair of socks; you may have enough leftover for wristlets.
spacer Koigu KPPPM [100% merino wool, 170 yds/155 meters per 50 gram skein]; color: P300, P852, P857 or similar;  2 skeins for socks, 1 skein for wristlets.

Recommended needle size:
spacer 1 32-inch US #2/2.75mm circular needle – see Pattern Notes for details on adapting pattern to work on 2 circular needles, or a set of 5 double pointed needles
spacer 2 spare DPNs for heel flap pick up
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]

spacer Tapestry needle

32 st/44 rows = 4 inches in stockinette


When spinning for socks and other hard wearing garments, you want to spin with higher twist than normal, and also ply with higher twist than normal to achieve a balanced yarn that is sturdy enough for socks.  However, it is possible to over spin - you want yarn, not rope!  If possible choose a faster ratio on your wheel than you would normally use for spinning this weight to create that touch of extra twist.  I used the highest ratio on my Kromski Minstrel. I split the roving bats into sections, trying to create some that were primarily black/gray, and some that were primarily red/pink.  I used these in somewhat random order, trying to space out the pinker sections.  I spun an entire 4 ounce bobbin of singles, wound it into a center pull ball and plied it back on itself  (ply together inner and outer strands) to create a random striping ragg 2-ply yarn.

I use a strand of finished commercial yarn to help me keep my spinning even.  Every time I change hooks on the flyer, I folded a small length of the singles in half creating a 1 foot long strand of 2-ply yarn.  I compare this to my commercial sample to see if I am spinning the right thickness of yarn, and to make sure I am neither over- or under-spinning.  If my test strand is thicker than the sample, I need to spin finer.  If its thinner, I need to spin thicker.   I then gently un-ply it before continuing spinning.  If you can't gently unply it without tangles, you are over-spinning.  Check as often as needed to keep your spinning on target!

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

This pattern is worked differently for right and left socks, so that the lace pattern is always aligned with the outside front of the sock.  Ribbing, heel and toe are worked the same for both socks.  Wristlets are worked differently for each hand, including ribbing.

Working with Two Circular Needles
This pattern is written for the magic loop technique. It can easily be adapted for working with two circular needles as written - simply use 1 circular needle for each side of the magic loop.

Working with 5 Double pointed needles
For socks, place stitches from the first side of the magic loops so that the entire lace panel of 17 stitches are on one DPN (on the first DPN for right sock, on the second DPN for left sock), the remaining 13(15, 17, 19) stitches of the front of the sock are on the other DPN.  Divide the 30(32, 34, 36) stitches of the second side  evenly across the third and fourth DPNs. 

For wristlets, divide stitches onto 4 DPN's as follows: 9 (11, 13, 15) stitches on first and fourth  DPN, 17 stitches each on second and third DPN.

M1: Knit one stitch into back of bar running between last stitch and next stitch.
SK2P: Slip 1 knitwise, k2tog, pass slipped st over. 2 sts decreased.

Blackrose Lace Pattern (over 17 sts):
Round 1 and all following odd: K all sts.
Round 2: Ssk, yo, k2, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, sk2p, yo, k1, yo, SSK, k2, yo, k2tog
Round 4: Ssk, k3, yo, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, SSK, yo, k3, k2tog.
Round 6: Ssk, (k2, yo) twice, k2tog, k1, SSK, (yo, k2) twice, k2tog.
Round 8: Ssk, k1, yo, k3, yo, k2tog, k1, SSK,  yo, k3, yo, k1, k2tog.



CO 60[64, 68, 72] stitches, placing 30[32, 34, 36] on each side of your magic loop.  Your first side is the front of the sock, and your second side is the back/underside of the sock.  Join for working in round.

Ribbing round: [K2, p2] to end. 
Work 10 Ribbing rounds in total.

Set up lace pattern as follows:
Right Leg: Work Blackrose lace pattern on first 17 sts, k to end.
Left Leg: K 13[15, 17, 19]  work Blackrose lace pattern on next 17 sts, k to end.

Work 8 full repeats of the Blackrose lace pattern, and knit one additional plain round.

Heel Flap
Work the heel flap only on sts on second side of magic loop.  
Rows 1 & 3 [WS]: Slip 1, purl to end.
Row 2 [RS]: [Sl 1, k1] to end.
Row 4 [RS]: Sl 1  [s1, k1] to last st, k1.
Repeat these 4 rows until heel flap is 2.5 inches long or desired length -- approximately 33 rows.  End after a WS row.

Turn Heel
Continuing on sts of heel flap.
Row 1 [RS]: Sl 1, k16[17,18,19], SSK, k1, turn.
Row 2 [WS]: Sl 1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 3 [RS]: Sl 1, k6, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 4 [WS]: Sl 1, p7, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 5 [RS]: Sl 1, k8, SSK, k1, turn.
Row 6 [WS]: Sl 1, p9, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 7 [RS]: S 1, k10, SSK, turn.
Row 8 [WS]: Sl 1, p10, p2tog, turn.
Repeat rows 7 and 8 until all stitches of flap have been worked.
Final heel turn row [RS]:  Sl 1, k to end.

Gusset Setup
Setup round 1: Using a spare DPN, pick up and knit one st along edge of heel flap for each slipped stitch (approx 17 stitches), plus one extra stitch at upper corner of heel flap.
For the right sock: work 17 stitches of row 2 of stitch pattern, k13[15, 17, 19].
For the left sock: K13[15, 17, 19] stitches, then  work 17 stitches of row 2 of stitch pattern.
Using another spare DPN, pick up and knit one extra stitch from upper corner of heel flap, then pick up and knit one stitch along edge of heel flap for each slipped stitch (approx 17 stitches).
With second side of magic loop, k all 12 heel flap stitches, then k9[10, 11, 12] stitches from the DPN onto this side of the magic loop.  Slip all remaining picked up stitches to the first side of the magic loop.

Setup round 2: With first side of magic loop, k all but last of picked up stitches, k2tog with last gusset stitch and first top of foot stitch, k all but last stitch, then SSK with last stitch on magic loop and first gusset stitch on DPN.  Knit all but 9[10, 11, 12] stitches from DPN onto first magic loop side.  Slip rem 9[10, 11, 12] stitches to second side of magic loop, then knit all sts on the second side of the magic loop.

Gusset decrease
Right sock – Round 1: K all gusset sts, stopping before the one you k2tog last row.  Work 17 stitches of next row of stitch pattern, then knit 13[15, 17, 19] plain stitches.  Knit all rem gusset sts, and K30[32, 34, 36] on bottom of foot.

Left sock – Round 1:  K all gusset sts, stopping before the one you k2tog last row.  K13[15, 17, 19] stitches, then  work 17 stitches of row 2 of stitch pattern. Knit all rem gusset sts, and K30[32, 34, 36] on bottom of foot.

Both socks – Round 2: Knit all but last gusset stitch,  k2tog; k28[30, 32, 34], SSK, knit the rest of the gusset stitches.  K30[32, 34, 36] on bottom of foot.

Repeat these 2 rounds (for left or right sock as appropriate) until all gusset stitches have been used up and 30[32, 34, 36] stitches remain on the first side of your magic loop.  60[64, 68, 72] sts total.

Continue as you did for leg until foot measures 1.75 [1.75, 2, 2] inches less than full length of foot to end of toe.  End after a plain round.

Decrease round: SSK, knit all but last 2 on top, k2tog.  K2tog, knit all but last 2 on bottom, SSK.

Alternate decrease rounds and even rounds until 14[16, 16, 18] sts remain.

Graft toe and weave in all ends.



CO 52[56, 60, 64] stitches, placing 26[28, 30, 32] on each side of your magic loop. Join for working in the round.

Work 8 rounds ribbing as follows:

Ribbing round – Sizes S & L, Right: [P2, k2] to end.
Ribbing round – Sizes S & L, Left: [K2, p2] to end.
Ribbing round – Sizes M & XL, Right: [K2, p2] to end.
Ribbing round – Sizes M & XL, Left: [P2, k2] to end.

Work 8 rounds ribbing in total, as established.

Body round – Right: K26[28, 30, 32], work 17 sts in Blackrose pattern, k9[11, 13, 15].
Body round – Left: K9[11, 13, 15], work 17 sts in Blackrose pattern, k26[28, 30, 32].

Work in pattern as established until piece measures 3.5 inches from cast-on. End after an even numbered row.

Thumb Gusset
Round 1: Work to last st in pattern as established, M1, K1.
Round 2: K1, M1, work to end of round in pattern as established.
Work these 2 rounds 5[5, 7, 7] times more for a total of 12[12, 16, 16] rounds.

Round 1: K to last 7 sts, p2, k2, p2, k1.
Rounds 2-6: K1, p2, k2, p2, work in pattern as established until 7 sts rem, p2, k2, p2, k1.
Round 7: K1, p2, k2, p2, work in pattern until 7 sts rem, p2, k1, BO 4[4, 6, 6].
Round 8: BO an additional 4[4, 6, 6] sts. Continue in pattern as established until you reach the first of the bound-off sts. Turn. From here, you'll work back and forth in rows.

Row 9 & 11 [WS]: S1, work in pattern as established, turn.
Row 10 & 12 [RS]: SSK, work in pattern as established until 2 sts rem, k2tog, turn.
Row 13 [WS]: Sl 1, p to end of row, turn.
Row 14 [RS]: Sl 1, work as established to end of row.  Do not turn. 
For a larger thumb hole, repeat rows13 and 14 as needed before continuing.

At end of last thumbhole row, instead of turning, join for knitting in the round again by simply knitting into the first stitch of the round.

Work in pattern as before for 1 inch or until entire piece measures just under 7  inches.
Work 8 rows ribbing as before.  Bind off loosely.


Weave in all ends.


Suzi Anvin is a child psychologist who has been knitting for about 6 years, and designing her own patterns more or less since she learned how to knit and purl. Her patterns can be found here.

When she's not turning sheep fluff into socks, she's out running in them, and completed her first marathon in August. Suzi lives in the Bay Area, CA with her husband Peter, a python named Perl,  and her new bunnies, Dash and Eclipse.


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