Riff: (in popular music and jazz) a short repeated phrase, frequently
played over changing chords or harmonies.
Some people get bits of songs stuck in their head. I’m
susceptible to stitch patterns. After encountering twisted
stitches in another pattern I couldn’t stop thinking
of ways in which to employ them.
At the same time my middle
child was asking me to knit him socks. He’s been
my most dedicated wearer of hand knits and I wanted a pattern
that would complement his sweet, quirky, and orderly self.
Thus were born the Riff socks.
construction of these socks is Cat Bordhi inspired and has a
gentle rise from the toes through the arch, ensuring a comfortable
fit. The pattern, which begins on the foot, is echoed on the
heel. The front and back meet and repeat the pattern on the sides,
flowing seamlessly into the ribbing. These socks are offered
in 4 sizes, enough to fit the whole family!
4 sizes to fit mid-foot measurements of 7[8, 9, 10] inches.
find your size, measure the circumference of the arch of your
foot, midway between the ball of your foot and the heel.
Circumference: 6[7, 8, 9] inches unstretched
Foot length: variable, to fit
Yarn Pink socks
in Color Smooshy [100% Australian Superwash
Merino; 450 yd per 4 oz. skein]; color:
Punky Fuschia; 1 skein
XXL [75% Superwash wool, 25% Nylon;
459 yd/420 m per 100g skein]; color:
331; 1 skein Blue socks
Sock [100% Superwash merino; 440 yd
per 3.5 oz skein]; color: Azules; 1
Kraemer Jeannie [80% Superwash merino, 20% Nylon;
420 yd per 100g skein]; color: Kool Aid dyed (1 packet Cherry, 2 packets
Tropical Punch, 4 packets Orange, 5 packets Lemonade); 1 skein. For info
about Kool Aid dyeing, see this
Recommended needle size [always use a needle
size that gives you the gauge
listed below -- every knitter's
gauge is unique]
32 inch or longer US #1.5/2.5mm circular
2 24 inch US #1/2.5mm circular needles OR
1 set US #1/2.5mm dpns
removable stitch markers
34 sts/52 rounds = 4 inches in stockinette stitch in the round
PATTERN NOTES [Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
LT - Left twist: knit second stitch on left needle
tbl, leave stitch on needle, then knit the first stitch. Slip
both sts off the left needle.
RT - Right
twist: knit second stitch on left needle,
leave stitch on needle and knit first
stitch. Slip both sts off the left
M1L (make one, leaning left): insert
left needle into left leg of stitch
two rows below the first stitch on
the right needle. Lift the leg
onto the left needle, knit this stitch
through the back loop.
M1R (make one, leaning right): insert
right needle into right leg of stitch
below the first stitch on the left
needle. Lift this stitch onto the left
needle, knit this stitch.
Wrap & Turn [w&t]: On the RS: Bring the working
yarn to the front, slip the next stitch
purlwise from left to right needle,
move the working yarn to the back ,
turn the work and slip the wrapped
stitch to right needle. On the WS: Bring the working
yarn to the back, slip the next stitch
purlwise from left to right needles,
move the working yarn to the front,
turn the work and slip the wrapped
stitch to left needle.
Working Wraps Together with
Wrapped Stitches: On the RS: Insert the tip of
the right needle into the front of
wrap from bottom to top, and then into
the stitch. Knit the two together by
wrapping the yarn as normal, then bringing
the yarn through the old stitch and
the wrap. On the WS: Insert the tip of
the right needle into the back (that
is, on the knit side of the stockinette
fabric) of the wrap from bottom to
top, and left it onto the left needle.
Purl the wrap together with the stitch.
Instructions for Judy’s Magic Cast On can
be found here.
Instructions for Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy
Bind-off can be found here.
The charts for this pattern are very large. Each fits on a letter-sized
Click the chart name below and print the resulting page.
Using your favorite toe-up cast on method
(mine is Judy’s
magic cast on),
cast on 20[24, 28, 32] sts. Distribute
stitches as you prefer, and mark start
and center of round with stitch markers.
Throughout this pattern we will refer to
the first half of the stitches as the instep stitches
and the second half as the sole stitches.
Toe increases: Round 1: Knit.
Round 2: [K1, m1R, k until
1 stitch before end of instep marker,
m1L, k1]; repeat once more for sole
Repeat the last two rounds until you
have 52[60, 68, 76] stitches total.
Knit 2 more rounds even.
Using appropriately sized Foot Chart
work instep stitches in the chart pattern; knit sole
Work until sock measures 3[4.65, 5.25, 5.85] inches shorter
than the total length of your foot from toe to back of
heel, ending after an even-numbered chart round. (.65 inch
= five-eighths of an inch, .85 inch = seven-eighths of
Gusset: Gusset round 1: Work instep
sts in chart pattern; k1, m1R, k to
1 st before end of round, m1L, k1.
Gusset rounds 2 & 3: Work
instep sts in chart pattern; knit to
end of round.
Repeat Gusset rounds 1-3 11[13, 15,
17] more times.
Repeat Gusset rounds1 &
2 once more,
and work half of round three, ending
after the instep sts. 78[90, 102, 114]
sts total, 52[60, 68, 76] sole stitches.
Make a note of which Chart row you’ve just worked.
The 52[60, 68, 76] sole stitches will be worked to form
All work in this section will occur exclusively
on the 52[60, 68, 76] sole stitches.
7[8, 9, 11] stitches wrapped on each
side, and 10[12, 14, 14] unwrapped stitches in the center.
Row 1 [RS]: K10[12, 14, 14], pick up and k7[8,
9, 11] wrapped stitches together with their wraps, ssk.
Turn. Row 2 [WS]: Sl1, p17[20, 23,
25], pick up and p7[8, 9, 11] wrapped
stitches together with their wraps,
You should now have 26[30, 34, 38] sts in the center between
the gaps caused by the ssk and p2tog and 12[14, 16, 18]
sts on each side of the center stitches. (Not including
the instep stitches.)
Now count down 24[28, 32, 36] rows in the Foot Chart from
where you left off at the end of the Gusset. This
is where the pattern on the heel flap will begin.