While I have a love of all things Doctor Who, this quote has stuck with me since the first time I heard it, which was before I had begun my quest to hoard a yarn store in my closet. Once I started doing some (minor) design work, this quote kept cropping up but it wasn’t until I acquired the yarn (Wollmeise Twin in Campari Piccolo, an orange-red that reminded me, quite aptly, of fire) that I had an actual idea in my head. A peruse through the Barbara Walker Stitch Dictionaries (Bibles may be a more accurate term) had netted something I could to use but I found the charts and written directions a little…well, I had some changes I wanted to make. Thus, my Fire Socks were born. And, not one to mess around, I just charted out everything, did a little bit of math for other sizes, kept notes, and started knitting full-scale.
All-over patterned socks (stitch pattern, slightly adjusted, from Barbara Walker) knit on two long circulars, using uncommon stitch counts based in groups of seven (7), a modified Eye of Partridge heel flap (found in Hermione’s Everyday Socks), rounder heel (found here), a double gusset heel decrease (found here), and a wedge toe that is Kitchener stitched at the end. Substitutions can be made, if you feel adventurous (heel turns, common placement of gusset decreases, stitch patterns for the heel flap, etc.)
Finished sizes Extra Small (XS – 7.5”/19 cm around), Small (S – 8.45”/21.45 cm around), Medium (M – 9.3”/23.6 cm around), and Large (L – 10.25”/26 cm around)
Shown in size Medium
Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon; 510 yards [466 meters]/150 grams): Campari Piccolo, 1 skein
Two US #1 (2.25 mm) long circulars (24”/60 cm at minimum but I wouldn’t go longer than 40”/100 cm)
Two locking stitch markers (for heel), though you may optionally want them for each pattern repeat (XS – 6, S – 7, M – 8, L – 9); tapestry needle; crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches (which you would never, ever do), probably a B-1 (2.25 mm)
30 sts and 48 rnds = 4” [10 cm] on US #1 (2.25 mm) in St st after wet blocking (stitch gauge is more important than row gauge)
N1: Needle 1
N2: Needle 2
SKP: Slip 1, knit 1, PSSO
The socks are worked one at a time, cuff-down, with a heel flap & turn (Modified Eye of Partridge; Rounder Heel, found here), gusset (Double Gusset Heel Decrease, further instructions with photos can be found here), and Kitchener Stitched at the toe.
Work heel flap slipped stitches on the edges as s1p
Work heel flap slipped stitches in pattern as s1k
Chart shows even numbered rnds. Odd numbered rnds are knit around.
Those of you that are very interested in my photographs may notice that while the original was knit in size Medium, I did my gusset decreases to 30 sts instead of 34 sts. I prefer the fit a little tighter. Instructions are for general sizing and you can adjust accordingly.
Let’s get started!
CO 56 (63, 70, 77) sts using a stretchy CO (long-tail, Jeny’s Stretchy CO, etc.) onto one circular needle.
Situate sts onto two needles thusly (N1 will become the heel, N2 will become the instep):
56 sts (extra small): 28 sts on each needle
63 sts (small): 28 sts on N1, 35 sts on N2
70 sts (medium): 35 sts on each needle
77 sts (large): 42 sts on N1, 35 sts on N2
Note: if you are making either a size S or L, you may flip flop the number of sts on the needles if you prefer a slightly wider (S) or narrower (L) heel. If you do this, follow the heel flap, turn, and gusset instructions for size M
Join to begin knitting in the rnd and be sure not to twist your sts!
Work in ribbing for 1”-2” (2.5-5 cm) using one of the following:
Option 1 (works for all sizes): *K1tbl, p1, k3tbl, p1, k1tbl*
Option 2 (works for XS and M): *K2tbl, p2*
Option 3 (works for M): *K3tbl, p2*
Option 4 (works for S): *K2tbl, p1*
Option 5 (works for S): *K2tbl, p2, k1tbl, p2, k2tbl*
(Original used *K3tbl, p2* ribbing for approximately 1”)
Work 3-5 full pattern reps (original had 3 reps), ending after rnd 24. The chart is all even rnds. All odd rnds are knit rnds (or, if you prefer, “rest” rounds).
Stitch pattern (worked over a repeat of 7 sts)
Rnd 1 (and all odd numbered rounds): Knit around
Rnd 2: *Skp, k5, m1r*
Rnd 4: *Skp, k4, m1r, k1*
Rnd 6: *Skp, k3, m1r, k2*
Rnd 8: *Skp, k2, m1r, k3*
Rnd 10: *Skp, k1, m1r, k4*
Rnd 12: *Skp, m1r, k5*
Rnd 14: *K3, k2tog, m1l, k2*
Rnd 16: *K3, k2tog, k1, m1l, k1*
Rnd 18: *K3, k2tog, k2, m1l*
Rnd 20: *M1l, k2, k2tog, k3*
Rnd 22: *K1, m1l, k1, k2tog, k3*
Rnd 24: *K2, m1l, k2tog, k3*
Heel flap (worked flat)
You will now be working on N1 only (let N2 dangle with the instep stitches – you’ll get to them in a little bit)
Decrease Row: If you are working MEDIUM (or have flip-flopped the number of sts for small or large sizes – 35 sts on N1):
S1p, p2, *k1, s1k* x6, k2tog, s1k, *k1, s1k* x7, k3 (34 sts – this will count as row 1 for the first pattern repeat of the Modified Eye of Partridge Heel Flap noted below; you only need to do it this way for the first time; continue on with row 2 and so on and when you get back around to row 1, complete as written below)
If you are working XS, S, or L sizes
Begin with row 1 of the Modified Eye of Partridge Heel Flap noted below and continue on your merry way!
Modified Eye of Partridge Heel Flap
(repeat the four row pattern a total of 8x, ending after row 4, ready to start a RS row – 32 rows)
Row 1 (RS): S1p, p2, *k1, s1k* to last 3 sts, k3
Row 2: S1p, k2, p to end of row
Row 3: S1p, p2, *s1k, k1* to last 3 sts, k3
Row 4: S1p, k2, p to end of row
You will be working a Rounder Heel but you may substitute for another heel, if you have a favorite. Just understand that if you substitute, your numbers could be different.
Turn the heel
(trust me, it works and it’s magic!)
Row 1 (RS): S1p, k16 (16, 19, 23), ssk, k1, turn (yes, turn your work around!)
Row 2: S1p, p7, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 3: S1p, k8, ssk, k1, turn
Row 4: S1p, p9, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 5: S1p, k10, k2tog, k1, turn
Work in this fashion, adding one more stitch on each row until all sts have been worked, ending after working a WS row.
(set-up – begin working in the round again)
Rnd 1: S1p, k across heel sts, PM (place stitch marker). Using N2, pick up 18 sts along side and knit them onto N1 (16 sts from the slipped sts on the heel flap and one extra at each end to close up inevitable holes)
Work Rnd 1 of stitch pattern on N2 (instep sts) as normal
Rnd 2 (new beg of the rnd):Using N1, pick up and knit 18 sts along the side (again, 16 from the slipped sts on the heel flap and one extra at each end to close up the holes), PM (place stitch marker), continue knitting across N1, slipping the st marker.
Work Rnd 2 of st patt on N2
Gusset decreases (part 1)
(on N1, starting on Rnd 3 and dec on every odd round; work N2 in pattern)
Rnd 1: K to first SM, slip SM, ssk, k to 2 sts bef second SM, k2tog, slip SM, k to end of N1; work N2, cont patt
Rnd 2: K across N1, slip SMs as needed; work N2 in patt
Repeat Rnds 1 & 2 (keeping N2 in pattern) until 2 sts rem between the SMs, ending after an even numbered rnd. Remove SMs.
Gusset decreases (part 2)
(on N1, decrease on every odd round; work N2 in pattern)
Count your sts on N1. You will want to get back to 28 (28, 34, 42) sts on N1 when you finish this set of decreases: (or your preferred number of sts). To get to that point, count inwards from the ends of N1: 13 (13, 16, 20) sts, place SM (this is why you want locking SMs). Repeat for the other side. If you prefer a tighter/looser fit than what your numbers would give you, take your preferred amount of total sts on N1, divide in half, take away one from that number, and count in that number of sts from the end and place SMs.
Example (because that’s as clear as mud): say you want 38 sts on N1 when you’ve finished. 38/2 = 19 sts, which will give you the exact middle but you want two sts left in the middle (like above) so you count in one less than that (18 sts) on each side and place the SM so when you get to the point where there are 2 sts left between the SMs, you have: 18 side sts + 1 middle st + 1 middle st + 18 side sts = 38 sts.
Now that you’re set up again, you can continue working the second part of the gusset dec, which is done the same way as the first gusset dec.
Rnd 1: K to first SM, slip SM, ssk, k to 2 before second SM, k2tog, slip SM, k to end of N1; work N2, continuing patt
Rnd 2: K across N1, slip SMs as needed; work N2, continuing patt
Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 (keeping N2 in pattern) until 2 sts remain between the SMs, ending after an even numbered round. Remove SMs. You should now have your preferred number of sts on N1: 28 (28, 34, 42) (or whatever your preferred number was).
Work N1 in stockinette; work N2 in continuing pattern until approximately 1.5” (3.8 cm) from the end of your longest toe. This should be about where your foot starts separating into toes, hopefully you will be able to end after round 12 or round 24 (but if you absolutely cannot do that, it’s not that big of a deal)
Toe decreases: even up!
If you need to “even up” your sts, this is where you will do it. If you knit size XS, you will not need to even anything up (skip to “Toe decreases: finish up!”). All other sizes:
Size S: 28 sts on the heel flap, 35 sts on the instep (if you flip-flopped your st counts for the heel flap, flip-flop directions for N1 and N2 for the dec).
Rnd 1: N1: Knit across (28 sts)
N2: K1, k2tog, k13, k2tog, k14, ssk, k1 (32 sts)
Rnd 2: Knit
Rnd 3: N1: K across (28 sts)
N2: K1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1 (30 sts)
Rnd 4: Knit
Rnd 5: N1: K across (28 sts)
N2: K1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1 (28 sts)
Rnd 6: Knit
Size M: 34 sts on the heel flap, 35 sts on the instep
Rnd 1: N1: Knit across (34 sts)
N2: K16, k2tog, k17 (34 sts)
Rnd 2: Knit
Size L: 42 sts on the heel flap, 35 sts on the instep (if you flip-flopped your st counts for the heel flap, flip-flop directions for N1 and N2 for the decreases)
Rnd 1: N1: K1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1 (40 sts)
N2: K16, k2tog, k17 (34 sts)
Rnd 2: Knit
Rnd 3: N1: K1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1 (38 sts)
N2: Knit across (34 sts)
Rnd 4: Knit
Rnd 5: N1: K1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1 (36 sts)
N2: K across (34 sts)
Rnd 6: Knit
Rnd 7: N1: K1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1 (34 sts)
N2: K across (34 sts)
Rnd 8: Knit
Toe decreases: finish up!
Rnd 1: N1: K1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1 (26, 26, 32, 32 sts)
N2: Worked as N1
Rnd 2: Knit
Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 until the toes are covered, ending after Rnd 2 (decreasing 4 sts per odd-numbered rnd).
Kitchener stitch the toe closed.
Weave in ends to the inside.
Wash according to instructions or handwash in cold water. Lay flat to dry or, alternatively, dry on sock blockers.
Wear and, most importantly, enjoy.
About the Designer – Renee Anne
Renee began her quest to hoard a yarn store in her closet in 2008, with designing coming soon after. While she resides near San Francisco, she will always call Wisconsin home. When she isn’t knitting, she is a mama and a wife. You can find her on Instagram & Twitter @reneeanneknits, on Ravelry as renny1780, and on her blog, Confessions of a Yarn Addict.