Knitting with self-patterning yarn can be great fun — it’s hard to put down your work when you’re watching the colors change with every row — but can present a challenge to someone who doesn’t (always) like to knit stockinette socks. A solution came to me after many hours of trying to find an interesting pattern that would not be overpowered by the very strong color changes of the Schoeller+Stahl Sockina Cotton. The long stretches of solid color can be knit up into any pattern, while the faux fair isle parts can be knit in stockinette. This creates an unusual sock that incorporates both texture and color, much like a sampler Afghan or quilt. Any patterns with short repeats will work for the solid color areas, so you are limited only by your imagination and perhaps the number of stitch dictionaries you have on hand.
Approximately 7.5” (19 cm) around; will fit a foot up to 8.25” (21 cm) around. 10% negative ease is recommended.
Schoeller+Stahl Sockina Cotton (55% cotton, 25% nylon, 20% acrylic; 339 yds (310 meters) /100 gms skein): Color 01: blue/white/black: 1 skein
US #1 (2.25 mm): either a 40″ circular for Magic Loop, or two shorter circulars, or a set of 4 or 5 double pointed needles (or size needed to obtain gauge).
32 sts = 4” (10 cm) in St st knit in the round.
2 stitch markers (optional); tapestry needle; 3 feet (90 cm) narrow ribbon or narrow elastic to sew into top of sock
Please see our standard list of abbreviations.
LT (left twist) – knit into the second stitch on the left needle through back loop (DO NOT drop stitch), then knit into first stitch. Now drop both stitches from left needle.
RT (right twist) – knit two stitches together (DO NOT drop from needle), then knit the first of those stitches again. Now drop both stitches from left needle.
Instructions are written for the Magic Loop method but can be easily adapted to two circulars or double pointed needles.
The pattern is written for toe-up socks with a Strong heel, to fit a woman’s average width foot, but it can be easily adapted to be worked cuff-down or for a smaller or larger size foot.
To make a larger(or smaller) sock, make more (or fewer) increases in the toe and gusset, and adjust the number of short rows for the heel. To make the socks cuff-down, work a picot edge as follows: cast on provisionally, knit 5 rows, work a row of *yo, k2tog*, knit 5 more rows; then join stitches for the cast-on edge to live stitches on the needle. Alternatively, use your favorite stretchy cast-on. The Strong heel can be worked toe-up or cuff down, so after working the cuff to desired length, simply follow the instructions for the gusset and heel. The gusset triangle will be oriented differently than in the standard heel flap/gusset socks but the fit will be good. A wedge toe with symmetric decreases every other row most closely resembles the toe in the pattern.
Sockina Cotton does not have much stretch or memory so the design incorporates an eyelet band for a ribbon at the top, and picot bind-off. If a sportier look is desired, sew a narrow elastic ribbon to the inside of the cuff and/or knit the top 1-2” (2.5-5 cm) in an elastic rib pattern and/or use a yarn with more stretch.
The pattern will look best with a self-patterning yarn that has both long and short repeats of colors, such as the self-patterning lines of Regia, Trekking, Opal, Confetti, Meilenweit, etc., or self-striping yarns that have long stripes, such as Vesper. Yarn manufacturers usually provide pictures of how their self-patterning sock yarns will knit up as stockinette socks, so if you like to plan ahead, you may want to look up the yarn you are considering using. For an even crazier sock, put together leftovers from socks you’ve made before.
Suggested texture patterns for instep and cuff. All of these patterns are written for working in the round. Note, when switching colors, you may want to knit an entire row in the new color for a smooth change. Purling with the new color will have a pretty but more rustic look of the two colors mixing. Any stitch pattern will work (so long as it is worked over a number of stitches that is a multiple of the number of stitches in the circumference of the sock). Use this as an opportunity to test an interesting pattern or texture you want to use in a future pair of socks or garment knit from a solid colored yarn.
Stitch Pattern A
Slip stitch garter rib (worked over a multiple of 3 stitches):
Rnd 1: knit
Rnd 2: *p1, sl 1, p1*
Stitch Pattern B
Seed stitch (worked over an even number of stitches):
Rnd 1: *k1, p1*
Rnd 2: *p1, k1*
Stitch Pattern C
Reverse stockinette (worked over any number of stitches):
purl every rnd.
Stitch Pattern D
Lacy rib (worked over a multiple of 3 stitches):
Rnd 1: *p1, yo, ssk*
Rnd 2: *p1, k2*
Rnd 3: *p1, k2tog, yo*
Rnd 4: *p1, k2*
Stitch Pattern E
Twisted stitch boxes (worked over a multiple of 10 stitches):
Rnd 1: *LT, k6, RT*
Rnd 2: *k1, LT, k4, RT, k1*
Rnd 3: *k2, LT, k2, RT, k2*
Rnd 4: *k3, LT, RT, k3*
Rnd 5: *k2, RT, k2, LT, k2*
Rnd 6: *k1, RT, k4, LT, k1*
Rnd 7: *RT, k6, LT*
Stitch Pattern F
Lace Hearts (worked over a multiple of 10 stitches):
Rnd 1: *k2, yo, ssk, k6*
Rnds 2, 4, 6: knit
Rnd 3: *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k5*
Rnd 5: *k7, yo, ssk, k1*
Rnd 7: *k5, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk*
Rnd 8: knit
Stitch Pattern G
Eyelet band for ribbon(worked over a multiple of 6 stitches):
Rnd 1: purl
Rnds 2 and 3: knit
Rnd 4: *k4, yo, ssk*
Rnds 5 and 6: knit
Rnd 7: purl
Stitch Pattern H
Rnd 1: knit
Rnd 2: purl
Stitch Pattern I
2×2 Rib (worked over a multiple of 4 stitches)
Rnd 1: *k2, p2*
CO 24 sts using Magic 8 cast on as follows:
Hold two needles together, tips facing right. Leave a 4”(10 cm) yarn tail in front, bring yarn between needle tips and wind it around the top needle toward you from back to front. Bring the yarn back between the needles and wind it around bottom needle from back to front. Bring the yarn back between needles. There is now one loop on the top needle and one loop on the bottom needle. Repeat until there are 12 loops on the top needle and 12 loops on the bottom needle.
Rnd 1: K12, place 1st marker, k12 tbl, place 2nd marker.
Rnd 2: [K1, m1, knit to within one stitch of next marker, m1, k1] twice
Rnd 3: Knit
Rep rnds 2 and 3 until there are 60 stitches on the needles. Remove markers.
Work any desired combination of patterns over the 30 instep stitches (work the sole stitches as stockinette), changing patterns as the colors change, and working any faux-fair isle sections in stockinette, until work measures 2”(5cm) shorter than the desired length of the foot.
Rnd 1: Work across instep stitches in desired patt, k1, m1, k to within one stitch of the instep, m1, k1
Rnd 2: Work across instep stitches as desired patt, knit all sole stitches.
Rep rnds 1 and 2 until there are 84 stitches. Rep rnd 1 once more; then work in pattern across instep stitches only. There are 86 stitches on the needles: 30 instep stitches and 56 sole stitches.
The heel is worked back and forth in short rows, on sole stitches only.
Row 1: k29, ssk, k1, turn
Row 2: sl1, p3, p2tog, p1 turn
Row 3: sl1, k4, ssk, k1, turn
Row 4: sl1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 5: sl1, k6, ssk, k1, turn
Row 6: sl1, p7, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 7: sl1, k8, ssk, k1, turn
Row 8: sl1, p9, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 9: sl1, k10, ssk, k1, turn
Row 10: sl1, p11, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 11: sl1, k12, ssk, k1, turn
Row 12: sl1, p13, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 13: sl1, k14, ssk, k1, turn
Row 14: sl1, p15, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 15: sl1, k16, ssk, k1, turn
Row 16: sl1, p17, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 17: sl1, k18, ssk, k1, turn
Row 18: sl1, p19, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 19: sl1, k20, ssk, k1, turn
Row 20: sl1, p21, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 21: sl1, k22, ssk, k1, turn
Row 22: sl1, p23, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 23: sl1, k24, ssk, k1, turn
Row 24: sl1, p25, p2tog, p1, turn
Resume work in the rnd: sl1, k26, ssk, k1, work across instep sts, k1, k2tog, k28
Work in pattern as desired all around, working the eyelet band for the ribbon when the cuff is approximately 1/2” (1 cm) shorter than desired height. Work 4-6 rows of stockinette following the eyelet band. For a sportier look, work the top 1-2” (2.5-5 cm) of the cuff in a 2×2 rib or other elastic rib instead of the eyelet band.
If using picot bind off: *CO 4 sts, bind off 10 sts, rep from * to end. Cut yarn, leaving a 4”-6” (10cm-15cm) tail.
For a more traditional look, use Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind off, as follows:
Break yarn, leaving a 36” (100 cm) tail. Using tapestry needle, sew through the first two stitches from right to left (as if to purl). Sew through the first stitch from left to right (as if to knit) and move it to the other needle. The first stitch becomes the last stitch of the row. *Sew through the first two stitches from right to left (as if to purl). Sew through first stitch from left to right (as if to knit) and drop stitch from the needle.* When only one stitch is left on the needle, drop it from the needle.
Weave in all ends. Block, if desired. If using elastic, sew narrow elastic to the inside of the cuff, approximately 1/4” (0.5cm) from the top to help the cuff stay up.
About the Designer: Yuliya Sullivan
Yuliya is a recovering sock knitting addict who teaches sock classes at Compatto Yarn Salon. Her favorite projects are done on tiny needles with plant-based yarns.
Pattern and images © 2008 Yuliya Sullivan.