To me, nothing says "happy" better than a cheerful pair of patterned socks.
I love to wear handknit socks in the fall, and I love to knit small pattern repeats; Solidago combines these two loves. I flipped through my own book 200 Fair Isle Motifs: A Knitter's Directory, to find a perfect 8-stitch pattern repeat. For color, I chose the hues of a fall meadow.
The colorwork looks more complex than it actually is, employing only 4 colors and never more than two in any round, ideal for those new to Fair Isle knitting and interesting enough for more experienced knitters. Half the fun is trying out different colorways and socks are the perfect vehicle for this.
I used beautiful Harrisville American Shetland yarn which comes in a million fabulous colors. Since the skeins are large, you'll have yarn left over, perfect for working another pair with a different color arrangement, see what you can come up with! Solidago is the Latin term for the goldenrod plant, whose name means, "to strengthen or make whole". May your new socks make you strong!
Recommended needle size [always use a needle
size that gives you the gauge
listed below -- every knitter's
gauge is unique]
1 set US 2/2.75mm needles
1 set US 3/3.25mm needles
28 sts/32 rounds = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on smaller needle
28 sts/26 rounds = 4 inches in Fair Isle pattern stitch on larger needle
PATTERN NOTES [Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
The cheerful pattern on these socks is worked in Fair Isle-style stranded colorwork, with only two colors in every round. Strand the color not in use loosely across the wrong side of the piece.
Stranded colorwork results in a tighter gauge than plain stockinette stitch, therefore the Fair Isle section of the socks is worked on the larger sized needles. The ribbing and plain stockinette stitch sections are worked on the smaller sized needles.
Instructions for grafting can be found here.
Directions and tips for stranded colorwork (Fair Isle) can be found here.
With MC and smaller needles, CO 48[56, 64] sts. Distribute sts as you prefer and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist. Note or mark start of round.
Ribbing round: [K1, p1] around.
Work ribbing as set for 1.5 inches.
Final cuff round,Sizes S & L only: [(K1, p1) 3[-, 4] times, m1] 8 times around. 56[-, 72] sts.
Final cuff round,Size M only: [(K1, p1) 3 times, k1, m1, (p1, k1) 3 times, p1, m1] 4 times around. 64 sts.
Change to larger needles.
Work 3 rnds in MC.
Work Rnds 1-13 of Fair Isle chart, joining and breaking colors as required.
Change to smaller needles and work 1 inch in MC.
Turn so that WS is facing. Break MC. Join CC1 -- heel flap and turn are worked only in this color.
With RS facing, rejoin MC at start of heel sts. Gusset setup round: K16[18, 20] heel sts; with RS facing, pick up and knit 14[16, 18] sts along first side of heel flap, using slipped sts as a guide. Knit across instep sts. Pick up and knit 14[16, 18] sts along second side of heel flap, using slipped sts as a guide. K8[9, 10] sts. You"re at the center of the heel -- this is the new start of round.
Gusset round 1: K to 3 sts before instep, k2tog, k1; knit across instep sts; k1, ssk, k to end of round. 2 sts decreased. Gusset round 2: Knit.
Knit even until foot measures 6[6.5, 7] inches from back of heel, or 2[2.25, 2.25] inches less than desired total foot length.
Rejoin CC1. Sock is finished in CC1.
Toe round 1: K to 3 sts before instep, k2tog, k1; k1, ssk, k to 3 sts before end of instep, k2tog, k1; k1, ssk, k to end of round. 4 sts decreased. Toe round 2: Knit.
Rep Toe rounds 1-2 5[7, 9] more times, until 32 sts remain. Work Toe round 1 4 more times. 16 sts rem.
Setup for Graft: Knit to start of instep.
Use Kitchener Stitch to graft the two sets of eight stitches together.
Weave in all loose ends. Snug up the stitches in the corners of the gusset, where the heel meets the leg of your sock, if you need to. Wash your pretty new socks in tepid water with a mild soap. Rinse thoroughly. Gently squeeze out moisture then carefully press between towels to absorb excess moisture. Dry on sock blockers, or press gently into shape and dry flat.