Leafy Lace Socks

This is a specialization of the simplest socks pattern.  They are designed for sock weight yarn.

I get listed gauge on recommended needles.  These are planned for a heavy sock weight at 60 sts around.  Directions are for magic loop: "first needle" refers to the front half of the sock, and "second needle" refers to the back half (sole).

Lace pattern

To be done in the round.  If you want to convert to flat knitting, purl even rows instead of knitting. A multiple of 8sts plus 1.

Abbreviations: dd (double decrease):  sl1, k2tog, psso.  A symmetric double decrease. Feel free to substitute your favorite.

  1. k1, *k1 yo, k2, dd, k2, yo* rep from star.
  2. k all sts
  3. k1 *k2, yo, k1, dd, k1, yo, k1* rep from star.
  4. k all sts
  5. k1, *k3, yo, dd, yo, k2* rep from star.
  6. k all sts
  7. k2tog, *k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, dd* rep from star.  End with k2, yo, k, yo, k2, k2 tbl.
  8. k all sts
  9. k2tog, *k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, dd* rep from star.  End with k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, k2 tbl.
  10. k all sts
  11. k2tog, *yo, k5, yo, dd* rep from star.  End with yo, k5, yo, k2 tbl.
  12. k all sts
The astute knitter will notice that the last 6 rows are identical to the first six rows, but that the pattern has been shifted by 4 sts.  

Make toes

Using figure-8 CO or other double-sided CO, CO 24 sts (12 per needle).  Follow this toe increase pattern until you have 60 sts, or a comfortable number given your yarn and gauge.

Odd rows: k all sts
Even rows: First needle: k1, m1l, k until 1 st rem on needle, m1r, k1.  Repeat for second needle.

Knit six more rounds plain.  Try the socks on to make sure they are a good width for your feet.

Make foot

On first needle, k2 then do three repeats of lace pattern.  End k3.  K second needle. When sock measures to the crotch of recipient's thumb (try on as for mitten), start increases for heel as follows:

  1. Remain in pattern
  2. On second needle, k1, m1l, k until 1 st rem, m1r, k.  On first needle: rem in pattern with lace
  3. Remain in pattern
  4. Remain in pattern
Continue increase pattern until foot measures just to the wrist of recipient's hand.  On second needle, k all sts onto waste yarn, slip them back to left needle, then k them with the sock yarn.  You are setting up for an "afterthought" heel (though it's not much of an afterthought if you're setting up for it now...).   If you do not like the afterthought heel, feel free to work a short-row heel now.  

Make leg

At the base of the leg, two interesting things happen at the same time.  You will decrease the extra sts for the heel.  You will also start the leafy pattern all around the sock.  If doing these at the same time makes you nervous, or if you prefer a smooth heel region, you may continue to k the second needle while decreasing.

If you look at your socks, there is a region of lace in the front.  At the sides of the socks, there is a little bit of stockinette, then some gusset stitches. In the back of the socks, there is a lot of stockinette.  It might be nice to place markers at the edges of the gusset sts on the second needle.  You have two options for joining the lace in the back:

  • Start another lacy section in the back, but continue to work the gusset sts in stockinette until they are decreased away.  This is easier.
  • Do a Cuban-like heel with a wavy yarn-over pattern up the center back.  You will "grow" the lace pattern around from the front to the back.  This is sexier, but harder.

Easy Way

On first needle, continue in patt.  On second needle, follow decrease pattern (k1 row, k2tog then k next row, k 2 rows... the reverse of the increase pattern) on gusset sts, then k1, do 3 lace repeats, k1, follow decrease pattern on gusset sts.  You should use the same row of the lace pattern for both the first needle and the second needle.

When there are 5 sts remaining before the lace on the second needle (k1, 2 gusset sts, k2, lace, k2, 2 gusset sts, k1), stop decreasing.  Work all sts in lace on both needles.  You have 64 sts around, 4 more than you started with.

Sexy Way

In the sexy way, you grow the lace pattern around the sock. Start with a lace row 1. Consider the 4 sts before the lace repeats and the 5 sts after the lace repeats (which are currently knit stitches).  Work the following pattern on those sts, starting with a lace row 1:

  1. k2tog, k2, yo, *k1 yo, k2, dd, k2, yo* rep from star 3 times, k1, yo, k2, k2tbl
  2. k all sts
  3. k2tog, k1, yo, k1, *k2, yo, k1, dd, k1, yo, k1,* k2, yo, k1, k2tbl
  4. k all sts
  5. k2tog, yo, k2, * k3, yo, dd, yo, k2* k3, yo, k2tbl
  6. k all sts
You have grown one more lace repeat.  Repeat these lace rows 1-6, repeating the starred section 4 times, then five times, etc, until all sts are lace. 

At the same time as you grow the lace pattern, you need to decrease the gusset sts. The decreases are done wholly on the second needle.  You should have an even number of sts on this needle, 30 originals plus all your gusset sts.  You will have to do a little math here, but I promise it is simpler than Elizabeth Zimmermann's math.  X is your number of gusset stitches.  You will work (X-3) pairs of rows to decrease them away (2x - 6 total rows).  Put a marker between the middle two stitches on the second needle.  Follow this pattern:

  1. knit in pattern until 2 sts before marker, then k2tog tbl, yo, k2tog. Knit remaining sts.
  2. K in pattern.  Make sure marker sits after the yo stitch.
  3. like 1. 
  4. K in pattern. Make sure marker sits before the yo stitch.



Finish top

When the body of the sock reaches its final height minus 3 inches (or the bottom of the toe), insert an afterthought heel.  You have two pretty options for the top finishing:

  • Convert to k2p2 ribbing.  Insert an eyelet row into the ribbing about one inch from the top: *k2tog, yo, p2tog, yo*.  BO loosely and weave a pretty ribbon through the eyelets.  
  • Continue in pattern for two more inches.  Convert to stockinette for 0.5 inch.  Do an eyelet row: *k2tog, yo*.  Do stockinette for another half inch, then fold sock on eyelet row and stitch down.  Run 3/8 inch elastic inside the picot-hemmed bind-off.  

Block if you want to.