Friday, November 17, 2006

free pattern friday: wildflower socks

The days are becoming short and gray - just the time to knit up some bright socks that make you want to dance! These socks are named for the "wildflower purl" stitch pattern (from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns). The stitch pattern is easy to memorize and very forgiving - if you do make a mistake, it will be practically invisible, especially with variegated yarn. If you do use variegated yarn, you will get an impressionist effect of single-color "wildflowers" on a multi-colored background.

You can re-size these socks to fit any wearer, just keep in mind that the stitch pattern requires a multiple of 8 st when knit in the round.

This pattern is now available as a printer-friendly free Ravelry download!

size: women's XS-S (M-L)
gauge: 7.5 st/in in stockinette stitch

  • 1 skein Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (shown in "Gold Hill" colorway) 100g / 430 yd 
  • Size US 1 DPN's
  • Stitch markers
wildflower purl stitch pattern
Rnd 1 - 3: Knit
Rnd 4: K5, *[P3 tog, leave these stitches on the needle, YO, P the same 3 st tog again, then slip them from the needle, K5.] Repeat from *.
Rnd 5-7: Knit
Rnd 8: K1, Repeat from * above to end.

wildflower purl close-up

beginning at the top
Using 2 needles held together, CO 56 (64) st.
Divide evenly across 3 DPN's. Place M for knitting in the round.
Join yarn and knit in K1, P1 rib until sock measures 1.5 inches from CO edge.
Change to wildflower purl stitch pattern. Knit in patt until sock measures 7 1/2 (8) inches (or desired length) from CO edge. End with rnd 8 of st pattern.

heel flap
K 13 (16), turn work, Sl 1, P 27 (31). Place rem st on 2 DPN's to hold for later. You will now knit the heel flap with the 28 (32) st on needle one (your st marker should be in the middle of these).
R 1: *Sl 1, K1. Rep from * to end. Turn work.
R 2: Sl 1, P to end.
Repeat these two rows until you have knitted 28 (32) heel flap rows. There will be 14 (16) selvedge st.

wildflower heelflap - back

turn heel
R1: Sl first st, K 14 (16). SSK, K1, turn work.
R2: Sl 1 purl-wise, P4 (5), P2tog, turn.
R3: Sl 1 purl-wise, K to 1 st before gap, SSK (1 st from each side of gap), K1 turn.
R4: Sl 1 purl-wise, P to 1 st before gap, P2tog, P1, turn.

Rep rows 3 and 4 until all heel flap st have been worked, ending with a WS row. 16 (18) st rem.

Note: If you are knitting the smaller sock size, your stitch marker is a little off-center. As you knit back across, just move your marker over so that there are 8 st on each side of it. This will make your life a little easier during the decreases that are coming up.

heel gusset
K across all heel st, and with the same DPN, pick up and K 14 (16) selvedge st along the heel flap. Using another DPN, K across the 28 (32) instep st you were holding. With a third needle, pick up and K 14 (16) selvedge st up the other side of the heel flap and K across heel to marker. Now you're back to knitting in the round, beginning at the center back of the heel.

Important aside: Now that you're back to knitting in the round, you will be knitting in the stitch pattern again - in fact, you have just completed rnd 1 of the pattern. While making the decreases in the heel gussset, I prefer to knit the heel section in stockinette st, and the instep section in the pattern. Use stitch markers to make this easier - on your next knitting round, place a marker at the end of the heel gusset st, knit across the instep st, and then place another marker at the start of the heel gusset st. It's also a bit easier if these markers are a different color from your first marker, which marks the beginning of the round.

Back to the knitting...

begin heel decreases
Next rnd: Knit to 3 st before end of needle 1, K2tog, K1. [This is a good time to place that marker I mentioned above]. K in patt across instep st on needle 2. [Again, here's where you would place the other marker]. K1, SSK, K to end of needle 3. 2 st decreased.

Knit one round without decreasing, taking care to follow the st patt along the instep st.

Continue decreasing 2 st every other rnd in this manner, maintaining the patt in the instep st, until 56 (64) st rem.

wildflower sock #1

Now you can resume your stitch pattern throughout the whole sock as you did before getting to the heel. You may need to move your primary stitch marker back to the actual beginning of the rnd to get your stitch pattern lined up right. Work even in patt until sock measures 6-1/2 (8) inches from heel, or approximately 2 inches less than your desired overall foot length.

You are all done with the wildflower purl so you can just forget about it now and knit the toe in regular old stockinette st as you start decreasing. If you still have those other two stitch markers on there, you're going to move them around a little.
Knit one rnd in st st as follows: K 14 (16), PM, K 28 (32), PM, K to end. Now your markers are properly placed for the toe decreases.

Rnd 1: K to 3 st before M, K2tog, K1, sl M, K1, SSK. Knit to 3 st before next M, K2tog, K1, sl M, K1, SSK. K to end. 4 st decreased
Rnd 2: Knit.
Continue decreasing 4 st every other rnd in this manner until 28 (32) st rem.

Now decrease 4 st on every rnd until 8 st rem.
Graft the remaining toe st using Kitchener Stitch.

Weave in your loose ends, and then make another one just like the first!

important notice: This is a free pattern and you are welcome to use it for all the non-commercial purposes you like. However, you may not reproduce this pattern to sell, and you may not sell what you make with it. You may donate what you make with it to charity, and you may use it for charity fundraisers only if 100% of the proceeds are donated to the charity (and by charity I don't mean your kid's college fund). Thanks for understanding!


  1. yeah! i was such a lucky knitter-girl to be able to fondle these earlier today!!!
    they are BEAUTIFUL! i love the variegated and stitch pattern mix :)

  2. these are
    really cute
    in your
    great photo)!
    what size
    do i make
    to fit our
    happy feet?!

  3. A little clarification on sizing: I considered women's XS/S to be about size 5-7, and women's L/XL to be about size 7 1/2 - 9 1/2. Ya'll with the big feets will need to size yourselves up a little more - please just email me if you need help: f[dot]pea[at]airpost[dot]net.

  4. Yep, like Grey I think that texture suits the yarn really well. Very nice!

  5. Great socks! Thanks for posting the pattern. I'm always looking for stitch patterns that will not get lost in variegation, as I seem to keep buying variegated sock yarn even though I'm a texture junkie...

  6. maybe i should bust out some of my lorna's laces (ps. we just got a new shipment) and knit these instead!!!

  7. I love them and I've just completed my own pair. They are gorgeous.

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