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Archive entry for October 2020

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October 2020

Footnote - Argyll Socks


Socks created in two colours with the fair isle technique. Less common these days, now that we can create such exciting coloured socks with self-patterning yarns. Nonetheless quite satisfying since space dyed skeins cannot produce this lovely traditional Argyll pattern.


Each sock is worked in three (attached) sections - leg, upper foot, and lower foot - and mostly using only 2 needles, but these needles need to be double points (that is, pointed at both ends).
Note: When working from chart, carry the yarn not in use loosely across the wrong side of the work over not more than 3 stitches at a time to keep the fabric elastic.

Leg and instep

Starting at the top leg, using 2 needles and Main Shade (MS), cast on 78 stitches and work in k1/p1 rib for 4 inches, decreasing 1 stitch at the end of the last row : 77 stitches.

Start with a knit row, working in stocking stitch in pattern from chart, joining in Contrast (C), reading odd rows knit from right to left and even rows purl from left to right, until 75 rows have been worked.

Next row: pattern 18, increase in the next stitch, pattern to last 19 stitches, increase in the next stitch, pattern to end : 79 stitches.
Break yarns.

Slip first and last 20 stitches on spare needles for heel.
Rejoin yarns where required and continue on the centre 39 stitches for the instep, working in pattern from the chart, reading odd rows knit from right to left and even rows purl from left to right, until 76 rows have been worked.
Break C.

Continue in MS and stocking stitch (1 row knit one row purl), starting with a knit row, until foot is required length, allowing 2½ inches for toe shaping and ending with a purl row. Leave stitches on a spare needle.

Heel and sole:

Slip the 2 groups of 20 stitches on to one needle....
[Editor's note: Here you are joining the sock into its circular shape by folding in the edges to work the heel and sole - thus the stitches are arranged with the edges of the work meeting in the middle of your needle. You are continuing to work on two needles.]
...and with right side facing and MS, work as follows:

1st row: k19, k2tog, k19.
2nd row: purl.
3rd row: k1, * sl1 purlwise, k1; repeat from * to end.
4th row: purl.
Rep 3rd and 4th rows for 2½ inches, ending with a 3rd row.

Turn heel as follows:
1st row: k1, p19, p2tog, p1, turn.
2nd row: k3, sl1 knitwise, k1, psso, k1, turn.
3rd row: p4, p2tog, p1, turn.
4th row:
k5, sl1 knitwise, k1, psso, k1, turn.
5th row: p6, p2tog, p1, turn.
6th row: k7, sl1 knitwise, k1, psso, k1, turn.

Continue in this way until all the stitches have been worked : 21 stitches.

Next row: p21 stitches, then pick up and purl 18 stitches down side of heel piece, turn.
Next row: k39 stitches, then pick up and knit 18 stitches down other side of heel: 57 stitches.
Next row: purl.
Next row: k1, sl1 knitwise, k1, psso, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.
Repeat the last 2 rows until 35 stitches remain.

Continue straight until work matches the patterned instep piece, ending with a purl row.


Next row: k18 and now (finally) arrange the stitches on 3 needles for working the toe in the round as follows:
1st needle: k17 under foot stitches;
2nd needle: k39 instep stitches
3rd needle: knit remaining 18 underfoot stitches.
Slip the 1st from each end of the 2nd needle on to the end of the 1st and the beginning of the 3rd needle: 18/37/19 stitches.

Work in rounds shape toe as follows:
1st round:
1st needle:
knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1;
2nd needle:
k1, sl1 knitwise, k1, psso, knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1;
3rd needle:
k1, sl1 knitwise, k1, psso, knit to end.
2nd round: knit.
Repeat the last 2 rounds until 22 stitches remain.
Knit the stitches from the 1st needle on to the 3rd needle and graft or cast off stitches from two needles together.

Making up

Omitting ribbing, press parts lightly on wrong side following instructions on the ball band.

Sew seams down back of leg, and on each side of the sole, using a flat seam technique (not mattress stitch for example).

Sew in all ends.

Make a second sock to match.


3 x 25g balls of 3 ply yarn in main shade and 1 in lighter contrast.

Set of four No 13 (2¼mm) needles, pointed at both ends.
[Editor's note: The instructions assume you will work 78 sts on 2 of your DPNs so you need to ensure they are long enough, or use 2 extra DPNs that are.]


36 sts x 44 rows to 4 inches

Size matters

Length from top to base of heel: 13½ inches (34 cm);
length of foot: 10½ inches (27cm).


MS is main shade (Lovat Heather).
is contrast (white).

sl1: slip the next stitch

k2tog or p2tog: work 2 sts together to decrease.

psso: pass the slipped stitch over, ("sl1, k1, psso" also known as "ssk")

A Word on the Wool.

Original yarn was Patons Nylox 3ply in colours Lovat Heather (2002) and Snow White (504).

Disclaimer (well...almost)

In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading. If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.

© Christina Coutts 2007

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