Back to Basics by Deb Barnhill

Back to Basics

September 2007
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
33 stitches and 46 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette
US 1½ - 2.5 mm
360 yards (329 m)
one size, with option for larger leg
Flag of English English
This pattern is available for free.

Small correction made to pattern September 15, 2007.

Lately, I’ve been all about intricately patterned socks that occupy both my fingers and my brain. These provide the added bonus of slowing my mad consumption of sock yarn, which has peaked at upwards of 50 grams per day.

It seems we may not all agree about that. My recent scan of the blogosphere revealed that a mighty proportion of knitters have no interest in changing up their sock knitting practices. Their prevailing opinion? Hand-knitted socks shall have a stockinette foot and a ribbed leg. Period.

Point taken, but does this group not deserve to have their own fun?

This toe-up pattern features a stockinette foot and ribbed leg, with the rib starting in some unlikely places for visual interest. The gussets are moved to the front, where the rib starts from a point at center front. On the back, the rib pattern starts on the heel flap. A small change to the usual toe increases gives an additional bit of geometric appeal. As an added bonus, when I accidentally donned the sample socks inside out, I loved the look! Weave your ends in neatly for an excellent second wearing option.

Measure carefully against a favorite sock so as not to overshoot the beginning of the gusset increases. They are larger than in your usual sock pattern, to prevent wear at the turning point between the foot and the leg. What may seem like an enormous number of stitches before the heel turn will be cinched in nicely by the rib pattern.

The idea of tinkering with a sock’s structure is not mine. Cat Bordhi has been exploring alternate forms of sockitecture (her term, not mine) for several years now, and will soon have multiple books to show for it.

Mix it up while you go back to basics.