When I first learned to knit, I tried some mosaic patterns from Barbara Walker as a way to introduce color variety without dealing with more than one yarn at a time. Knit with one color, slip stitches from the previous row to pull contrasting color into the current row. Because these patterns were designed for single pointed needles, all rows are worked in parallel pairs. Knit the pattern with one color across the row, then turn and duplicate the pattern back to return the yarn to its original side. Switch yarns and pattern across, then back. The slipped stitches are pulled vertically over not one, but two rows, causing quite a bit of vertical compression. This restricts the elasticity from top to bottom. Mosaic patterns also frequently slip three consecutive stitches, which creates a float, causing horizontal compression. Stretch is reduced from side to side. A sock made with these patterns was disappointingly inelastic.
I liked the idea of only managing one yarn at a time, so I decided to try some patterns that would reduce the compression problems in mosaic knitting. It was easy to fix most of the vertical compression since socks are knit in the round. You really don't need a duplicate row to return the yarn to the starting gate, so it was eliminated. An increase in top-to-bottom elasticity resulted. The excess horizontal compression could be fixed only one way: no more than one consecutive slipped stitch in any round. The resulting sock fabric is uniformly stretchy and doesn't have any noticeable floats on the reverse side. [See photo below for a view of the reverse side of the work.]
A few of these types of slip stitch patterns have been published before, but I've never seen them specifically defined as I thought of them. Many of my original designs reminded me of Maori tattoos, so I named the technique "tattoo knitting."
This is a pair of tattoo socks with a seamless leg, two-color heel flap, and striped gussets.
Adult S [M, L]
(shown in size L, modelled on a man)
FINISHED MEASUREMENTS Foot circumference: 6[7, 8] inches Foot and leg length: adjustable to fit.
Elann Sock It To Me [75% super wash wool, 25% nylon; 225 yd/50g skein];
black; 2 skeins
white; 1 skein
Recommended needle size [always use a needle
size that gives you the gauge
listed below -- every knitter's
gauge is unique]
US #2/2.75mm needles for working in the round
4 stitch markers
36 sts/52 rounds = 4 inches in pattern stitch
PATTERN NOTES [Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
Slip all slipped stitches as if to purl.
A relaxed yarn tension is beneficial for fabric consistency, especially at needle changes. A few practice rounds are helpful for developing a feel for this technique.
Picking Up the Gusset Sts:
The edge sts were slipped while working the heel and are alternately sts worked with MC and sts worked with both yarns. Each slipped edge st represents 2 rows of the heel, so just pick up under each one.
For MC edge sts, insert the right needle under the top 2 threads, wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit, and pull through a st.
For sts worked with both yarns, insert the right needle under the front 2 threads of the slipped st, wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit, and pull through a st.
To pick up the top st of the gussets, insert the right needle into the front of the stitch a row below the beginning of the heel flap, wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit, and pull through a st.
To pick up the top st of the second gusset, insert the right needle into the front of the stitch a row below the beginning of the heel flap, wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit, and pull through a st.
Charts The charts for this pattern are very large. Each fits on a letter-sized
Click below and print each resulting
With MC, loosely cast on 56[64, 72] using the method of your choice. Distribute across needles as you prefer and join for working in the round.
Ribbing round: [K2, p2] around.
Work ribbing as set for 1.5 inches.
Join CC. Leg round: Work appropriate size Leg Chart around. Note: Even numbered chart rounds are worked only with MC -- all CC sts are slipped purlwise;
odd-numbered chart rounds are worked only with CC -- all MC sts are slipped purlwise.
Work as set until all 26 chart rounds are complete.
Next round, start of round shift, setup for next chart repeat: [K1 CC, k1 MC] 3[4, 3] times, k1 CC 1[0, 0] times. This is the new start of round.
Repeat Chart and start of round shift as set until leg measures approximately 6[7,8] inches long, or to desired length, ending with a round start shift.
Two-Color Flap Heel
Divide Stitches for Heel
Heel setup: With CC, knit first st of next round. This is the new start of round. The last 29[33, 37] sts of the round will form the instep; slip to one needle or a holder as desired.
The first 27[31, 35] stitches of the round will be the heel sts, and will be worked back and forth in rows.
Work the Heel Note: the last st of each even row is worked with both yarns held together. On following rows, treat any double-yarn stitch as a normal st, slipping or purling both strands together.
Row 1 [RS]: With CC, [sl 1, k1] to last st, sl 1. Don't turn -- slide the sts to the right end of the needle. Row 2 [RS]: With MC, k across to the last st, k the last st with both yarns. Turn. Row 3 [WS]: With CC, [sl 1, p1] to last st, sl 1. Don't turn -- slide the sts to the right end of the needle. Row 4 [WS]: With MC, p to last st, p the last st with both yarns. Turn. Row 5 [RS]: With CC, [sl 1, k1] to last st, sl 1. Don't turn -- slide the sts to the right end of the needle. Row 6 [RS]: With MC, k to last st, k the last st with both yarns. Turn. Row 7 [WS]: With CC, [sl 1, k1] to last st, sl 1. Don't turn -- slide the sts to the right end of the needle. Row 8 [WS]: With MC, p to last st, p the last st with both yarns. Turn.
Repeat Rows 5 - 8 5[6, 7] more times. There should be 14[16, 18] slipped edge stitches on each side of the flap. These will alternate between MC sts and sts worked with both yarns.
Switch to the appropriate Foot Chart. Pick up MC to continue.
Note: here's where you pick up additional stitches along the heel flap to accommodate the larger part of the foot with a gusset on each side of the sock. Those extra stitches will affect the pattern. I tried adding an additional skull on each side of the foot to fill the gussets, but soon those stitches got decreased and the gusset skulls disintegrated. Interesting symbolically, but not very aesthetic. So this sock uses a striped gusset, which is a very easy way to fill the extra stitches when tattoo knitting. See above.
On the leg, there were 4[4, 6] skull patterns repeated around. When the gussets are added, there will continue to be 4[4, 6] skull patterns around. The extra stitches become striped gussets which do not interfere with the skull repetition. Eventually the striped gussets are decreased away and only skull patterns remain.
Setup new start of round: Size S only: (K1 CC, k1 MC) 3 times, k1 CC. Size M only: (K1 MC, k1 CC) 4 times, k1 MC. Size L only: (K1 CC, k1 MC) twice.
For Sizes S and M, you will be at the center of the heel; for Size L you will be 1/5 of the way across the heel stitches. This is the new start of round. Place a marker if required.
Gusset setup, round 1: Using CC, work across the remaining 8[10, 17] heel sts according to appropriate size Foot chart, pick up and knit 16[18, 20] sts along the first edge of the heel flap. PM to mark the beginning of the instep sts. Restart the 1st row of the chart with the first waiting instep st; work across instep sts in pattern as set (final instep st is 1st st of a chart repeat). PM to mark the end of the instep and beginning of the next gusset. Pick up and knit 16[18, 20] sts along the second edge of the heel flap.
There should be 7[9, 4] heel sts remaining in this rnd. Continue with the same needle and work these sts using the last 7[9, 4] sts of row 1 (start on st # 8[8, 9] of the first row of the chart). There should be 76[88, 98] sts in the rnd, with 29[33, 37] instep sts and 47[55, 61] gusset/sole sts.
Gusset setup, round 2: Using MC k8[10, 17], k tbl 6[6, 7], PM for the beginning of the first gusset; k tbl 8[10, 11], k2tog; work across instep in appropriate size foot pattern; ssk, k tbl 8[10, 11] PM for end of the second gusset, k tbl 6[6, 7], k 7[9, 4].
Decrease the gussets, starting with row 3 of the chart. CC round: Work 1[1, 2] repeats of the pattern as set to the first gusset marker, k to the instep marker. Work 2[2, 3] repeats of the pattern plus 1 st across the instep, k to the end of the second gusset, work a final repeat of the pattern beginning on st 2.
MC round: Work 1[1, 2] repeats of the pattern as set to the first gusset marker, k to 2 sts before the instep, k2tog. Work 2[2, 3] repeats of the pattern plus 1 st across the instep, ssk, k to the end of the second gusset, work a final repeat of the pattern beginning on st 2.
Repeat the last 2 rounds until 58[66, 74] sts rem -- 29[33, 37] on instep and 29[33, 37] sts on sole, including 1 remaining gusset st per side.
Work another CC round.
Final gusset round: Work in pattern as set to 1 st before first gusset marker; remove the marker and k2tog. Work across instep in pattern as set. Remove the second gusset marker, ssk. Beginning with st 3, work to end of round in Chart pattern as set. 56[64, 72] sts -- 28[32, 36] sts on instep and sole
The foot charts place a slightly noticeable seam on the sole of the foot, eliminating the need to shift the start of round after each skull pattern completion. Sizes S and M have the seam in the center of the sole, size L has the seam 1/3 of the way across the sole.
Foot round: Work appropriate size Foot Chart around.
Work as set until the sock is 1.75[2, 2.25] inches shorter than the foot of the intended wearer. End after any CC row. Mark this row on the pattern for later reference when making the second sock.
Toe Size L only, adjust start of rnd to center of sole: [k1 CC, k1 MC] 3 times.
Set-up round (all sizes):
With MC, k14[16, 18], PM, k28[32, 36], PM, k14[16, 18]. The markers indicate the sides of the foot.
Rnd 1: With CC, [k1, sl 1] around.
Rnd 2: With MC, k to 3 sts before first marker, ssk, k1. After first marker, k2, k2tog, k to 3 sts before the second marker, ssk, k1. After second marker, k2, k2tog, k to end of round.
Rnd 3: With CC, [k1, sl 1] to 3 sts before first marker, k2, sl 1. After first marker, k1, sl 1, k2, sl 1, [k1, sl 1] to 3 sts before the second marker, k2, sl 1. After the second marker, k1, sl 1, k2, sl 1, [k1, sl 1] to end.
Rnd 4: As Rnd 2.
Repeat these 4 rnds until 16[20, 20] total sts remain, 8[10, 10] on each side of foot. End after a MC rnd. Cut CC, leaving a 6 inch tail.
Set up to graft the toe by arranging the stitches on two needles.
Size S: With MC, sl 1, k1, sl 1, k2tog, dropping the marker between them. This is the new start of round. Sl 8, pass the 7th slipped st over the 8th and off the needle. Place the next 7 sts on a second needle. There are 7 sts on each of 2 needles.
Sizes M and L: With MC, [sl 1, k1] twice, k2tog, dropping the marker between them. This is the new start of round. Sl 10, pass the 9th slipped st over the 10th and off the needle. Place the next 9 sts on a second needle. There are 9 sts on each of 2 needles.
Graft the toe closed. Weave in ends.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Barry is a retired math teacher who likes puzzles. He sometimes knits for relaxation, but is just as intrigued by the mathematical aspects of designing patterns. He recently moved from Michigan to Florida and wonders what will happen to his wool.