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Simply Socks Yarn Company

I love cables, the more intricate the better. And I like knitting socks. So when I decided to branch out from plain socks to patterned socks, I wanted to use cables on the legs.

However, socks are little. Even allowing for the thin yarn, they've got fewer stitches than sweaters or sleeves. I was afraid that standard cables wouldn't fit. The solution? Little cables!

The smallest a cable can be is one knit stitch, so that's what I used. I am particularly fond of one-stitch cables for their ease. While you can work them using a cable needle, it's not really necessary. Techniques borrowed from lace decreases work fine instead. This makes mini-cables faster and easier than their bigger cousins.

The daring will work cables on the heel (making these extraspicy), but the socks will look fine with the piquant version (with a plain reverse stockinette heel.)

photos: Ariel Barton

SIZE

A[B, C, D, E] (shown in size C)
To fit foot circumference: 6.5[7.5, 8.5, 9.25, 10.25] inches.

 
FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Foot circumference (approx.): 6[6.75, 7.5, 8.5, 9.25] inches
Leg length: 6 inches to top of foot

 
MATERIALS
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Nearly Solids [80% Superwash wool, 20% nylon; 215yd/196m per 50 gr skein]; color: Denim; 2[2, 2, 3, 3] skeins

1 set of five US 0/2.00mm double-point needles
Tapestry needle
Safety pin or split ring marker (optional)

 
GAUGE
40 sts / 58 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch
 
PATTERN NOTES

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

Grafting:
Instructions for grafting can be found here.

If you have wide feet, you may wish to substitute a slightly thicker yarn to make the socks knit up more quickly. To determine which size to make if substituting a different yarn, multiply your foot circumference by your stockinette gauge (number of sts per inch), then divide this number by 10. Compare this number to the measurements listed under "Foot Circumference" in the Finished Measurements above. The size with the finished foot circumference closest to your number, will be the size to knit.

[Example: 9-inch actual foot circumference x 8 sts/inch = 72 / 10 = 7.2; choose size C (Foot Circumference = 7.5 inches)]

If you substitute a thicker yarn, note that the cable pattern uses more yarn than stockinette, so buy about 40% more yarn than you use for plain socks.

In several places, it will be necessary to work a cable crossing using stitches on different needles. (It will generally be a left-slanting crossing.) The best way to do this is as follows:

Hold the double-point needle with one stitch left, to the front of the work.

Knit one stitch from the next needle onto the right needle. Slip the remaining stitch on the held needle to the beginning of the next needle; the now-empty needle will be the next working needle. When you knit this stitch onto the new working needle, the cable crossing is complete.

Four different ways of working mini-cables may be found here: [Ariel's article].

Techniques:

Cable 2 left: Slip next 2 sts knitwise, one at a time, to right needle (as if to work an ssk). Insert left needle through both slipped sts, from right to left, and drop from right needle.

On RS: Knit both sts through front loops.
On WS:
Purl both sts through front loops.

Cable 2 right: Slip next 2 sts together, knitwise, to right needle (as if to work a k2tog. Insert left needle through both slipped sts, from left to right, and drop from right needle.

On RS: Knit both sts through back loops.
On WS: Purl both sts through back loops.

Twist 2 left: Slip next 2 sts knitwise, one at a time, to right needle (as if to work an ssk). Insert left needle through both slipped sts from right to left, and drop from right needle. Purl 1 through front loop, knit 1 through front loop.

Twist 2 right: Slip next 2 sts together, knitwise, to right needle (as if to work a k2tog). Insert left needle through both slipped sts from left to right, and drop from right needle. Knit 1 through back loop, purl 1 through back loop.

Note: Twist 2 left and Twist 2 right are worked in the same way whether on RS or WS.

DIRECTIONS

Cuff
CO 62[72,80,90,98] sts, dividing sts between 4 needles as follows:

Needle 1: 18[18,18,18,27] sts

Needle 2: 18[18,27,27,27] sts

Needle 3: 18[18,18,18,18] sts

Needle 4: 8[18,17,27,26] sts

Join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist. If desired, place safety pin or split ring marker in work after the first few rounds, to indicate beginning of round.

Round 1: [P1, k1] to end.
Repeat this round 13 times more.

Sizes A, C, E Only:
Work Rounds 1 - 2 of Chart B, working section between red lines 3[-, 4, -, 5] times, then proceeding to section to left of red lines. 84[-, 108, -, 132] sts.

Work Rounds 3-18 of Chart B four times. Proceed to Heel Flap.

Sizes B, D Only:
Work Rounds 1 - 2 of Chart A, repeating chart -[4, -, 5, -] times in each row. -[96, -, 120] sts.

Work Rounds 3-18 of Chart A four times. When working Rounds 13-18, work the section to the right of the first red line once, then work section between the red lines -[3, -, 4, -] times, then work from the first red line to the blue line.

Note: When working Rounds 13-18, the end of the round will not fall at the point between Needle 4 and Needle 1; it will fall at this point when working Rounds 3-12.

Proceed to Heel Flap.

Heel Flap
Note: Heel Flap is worked back and forth. This means that cable crossings will be worked on the WS of the work. The instructions given in the Pattern Notes above include directions for working the cable crossings on the WS. If you do not wish to work the cables on the heel flap, alternate directions are given below for a plain reverse stockinette st heel.

Work Row 1 of Chart C[C, D, D, C], working section between red lines 2[2, 2, 2, 3] times only; if you are working Chart D, also work the section to the left of the red lines. You will have just worked all the sts on Needles 1 and 2. Slip the first st from Needle 1 to Needle 4. Slip the last st just worked from Needle 2 to the new working needle; it will become the first st of Needle 3.

The 46[46, 58, 58, 70] sts on Needles 1 and 2 will form the instep, once the heel is complete. The heel flap will be worked back and forth over the 38[50, 50, 62, 62] sts on Needles 3 and 4 (including the st on the new working needle). If you are working a cabled heel flap, proceed as follows; if you are working a reverese stockinette st heel flap, proceed to "Reverse Stockinette Stitch Heel Flap".

Note: For Sizes A, C and E, when working Row 1 of the heel flap ONLY, omit the last cable crossing on the chart. Work [p1, k1] instead.

Set-Up Row [RS]: Work Row 1[1, 9, 9, 1] of Chart D[C, C, D, D], repeating section between red lines 1[2, 2, 2, 2] times, p last st on Needle 4.

Row 1 [WS]: Sl 1, work next row of Chart D[C, C, D, D], k last st.

Row 2 [RS]: Sl 1, work next row of Chart D[C, C, D, D], p last st.

Note: If you are working from Chart C, work Rows 10-16 by working between the sts to the right of the first red line once, working between the red lines _[1,1,_,_] times, working from the first red line to the blue line once, and then working [k1, p1] on RS and [p1, k1] on WS. Note that Chart C is symmetrical, so you may follow the chart from right to left on the WS as well as the RS.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 9[10, 12, 13, 15] times more, then work Row 1 once more.

Next Row [RS]: Sl1, k3, [k1, k2tog] 10[14, 14, 18, 18] times, k4. 28[36, 36, 44, 44] heel flap sts remain. Proceed to "Turn Heel".

Reverse Stockinette Stitch Heel Flap [alternate heel]
Set-Up Row [RS]: P3 (4 sts now on working needle), [p1, p2tog] 10[14, 14, 18, 18] times, p4. 28[36, 36, 44, 44] heel flap sts remain.

Row 1 [WS]: Sl 1, k27[35, 35, 43, 43].
Row 2 [RS]: Sl 1, p27[35, 35, 43, 43].
Repeat these 2 rows 10[11, 13, 14, 16] times more. Proceed to "Turn Heel".

Turn Heel
Note: Do not turn work after the last row worked for your size.
Row 1 [WS]: Sl 1, p16[20, 20, 24, 24], p2tog, p1. Turn work.
Row 2 [RS]: Sl 1, k7, ssk, k1. Turn work.
Row 3 [WS]: Sl 1, p8, p2tog, p1. Turn work.
Row 4 [RS]: Sl 1, k9, ssk, k1. Turn work.
Row 5 [WS]: Sl 1, p10, p2tog, p1. Turn work.
Row 6 [RS]: Sl 1, k11, ssk, k1. Turn work.
Row 7 [WS]: Sl 1, p12, p2tog, p1. Turn work.
Row 8 [RS]: Sl 1, k13, ssk, k1. Turn work.
Row 9 [WS]: Sl 1, p14, p2tog, p1. Turn work.
Row 10 [RS]: Sl 1, k15, ssk, k1. Turn work.

Sizes B, C, D, E, Only:
Row 11 [WS]: Sl 1, p16, p2tog, p1. Turn work.
Row 12 [RS]: Sl 1, k17, ssk, k1. Turn work.
Row 13 [WS]: Sl 1, p18, p2tog, p1. Turn work.
Row 14 [RS]: Sl 1, k19, ssk, k1. Turn work.

Sizes D, E, Only:
Row 15 [WS]: Sl 1, p20, p2tog, p1. Turn work.
Row 16 [RS]: Sl 1, k21, ssk, k1. Turn work.
Row 17 [WS]: Sl 1, p22, p2tog, p1. Turn work.
Row 18 [RS]: Sl 1, k23, ssk, k1.

All Sizes:
18[22, 22, 26, 26] sts remain; RS is facing. If you have not already placed all remaining sts on one needle, do so now. You will have 2 empty needles available for the next step.

Gusset
Using an empty needle, pick up and k13[14, 16, 17, 19] sts along edge of heel flap and in space between top of heel flap and held sts of instep (approx. 1 st in each slipped st and 1-2 sts between flap and instep). From this point, this will be designated Needle 1.

Work Row 2 of Chart C[C, D, D, C] over held sts of instep, omitting first and last sts of Chart; these will be designated Needles 2 and 3.

Using remaining empty needle, pick up and k13[14, 16, 17, 19] sts along edge of heel flap and in space between top of heel flap and held sts of instep; continuing with same needle, k first 9[11, 11, 13, 13] sts of heel. This will be designated Needle 4. Slip last 9[11, 11, 13, 13] sts of heel to Needle 1.

Slip last st of Needle 1 to beginning of Needle 2. Slip first st of Needle 4 to end of Needle 3.
90[96, 112, 118, 134] sts.

Gusset Round 1: K to last 2 sts of Needle 1, k2tog; work next row of Chart C[C, D, D, C] over sts on Needles 2 and 3; ssk, k to end of Needle 4.
Gusset Round 2:
K to end of Needle 1, work next row of Chart C[C, D, D, C] over sts on Needles 2 and 3, k to end of Needle 4.
Repeat these 2 rounds 7[6, 8, 7, 9] times more. 48[48, 60, 60, 72] instep sts (Needles 2 and 3) and 26[34, 34, 42, 42] sole sts (Needle 1 and 4) remain; 74[82, 94, 102, 114] sts in total.

Note: If you are working from Chart C, work Rows 10-16 by working the sts to the right of the first red line once, working between the red lines 1[1, -, -, 2] times, working from the red line to the blue line once, and then working [k1, p1].

Continue in patt as set, working Chart C[C, D, D, C] over instep sts and working sole sts in stockinette st, until foot measures 2[2, 2, 2.5, 2.5] inches less than desired length.

Toe
Next Round: K to end of Needle 1; k3, [k1, k2tog] 14[14, 18, 18, 22] times, k3 (you will be at the end of Needle 3]; k to end of Needle 4. 60[68, 76, 84, 92] sts.

Sizes A, C, E Only:
Slip the first 2 sts of Needle 2 to Needle 1.
Slip the last 2 sts of Needle 3 to Needle 4.

All Sizes:
If sts are not divided evenly between Needles 2 and 3, divide them now.
15[17, 19, 21, 23] sts on each needle.
K to end of Needle 1; this point (between Needles 1 and 2, at side of foot) will now be end of round.
K 5[3, 1, 4, 2] rounds.

Toe Decrease Round: [K1, ssk, k to end of needle, k to last 3 sts of next needle, k2tog, k1] twice. 4 sts decreased.
K 1 round.
Repeat these 2 rounds 9[11, 12, 14, 15] times more, then work Toe Decrease Round once more. 16[16, 20, 20, 24] sts remain (4[4, 5, 5, 6] sts on each needle).

Break yarn, leaving a long tail. Slip sts from Needle 3 to Needle 2, and sts from Needle 4 to Needle 1 (all sts for top of toe on one needle, and sts for bottom of toe on other needle).

FINISHING

Graft sts of Needle 1 to sts of Needle 2.
Weave in ends.
Block if desired.

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

Ariel is a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Chicago. In her spare time, she reads, plays bridge, folds origami, and, of course, knits.

You can read about her knitting projects in her journal.