Critter Socks | Nishikigoi by Cate Carter-Evans

Critter Socks | Nishikigoi

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January 2015
Sport (12 wpi) ?
32 stitches and 35 rows = 4 inches
500 - 600 yards (457 - 549 m)
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This pattern is available from for $5.00.

Inspired by Japanese house socks, these whimsical two-color socks feature the friendly faces of koi (known as brocaded carp, or nishikigoi in Japanese) on the toe, and a fish-scale motif on the leg.

Adapted from traditional Turkish sock techniques, these socks are knit from the toe up. With increases across the hinge of the foot and decreases through the ankle, this pattern yields cozy socks with the best possible fit and unique style.

What makes house socks special? Across much of Northern Asia, you don’t wear shoes inside the house, ever. Most homes don’t have central heating, and in winter, your feet get really cold – and thus house socks were invented!

With their stranded pattern, these socks are extra thick to keep your feet toasty warm. They’re so thick and cushy they’re best enjoyed on their own without shoes!

I want you to end up with socks you love. I’ve tested this pattern in Helix and Helix SuperWash, and loved the results. If you substitute yarn, you’re rolling the dice. Please be mindful that Helix is an extra springy 2-ply natural Merino. This yarn does require some babying, but its stretchiness is what makes these socks so comfy.

The stranded fabric created by knitting with two yarns at a time has less width-wise stretch than the fabric created by knitting with a single yarn. To accommodate this characteristic, these socks have two unusual features.

The first is related to fit. These socks are wider and shorter than standard - i.e. they have negative ease in the length, and positive ease in the width.

The second is increases and decrease over the hinge of the foot, which is why they have a bulge in the middle when laid flat.

Skill Level: Intermediate / Advanced.

Skills Needed: Cast on, knit, purl, Fair Isle (stranded) knitting, simple decreases (k2tog, ssk), intermediate increases (M1R, M1L, kfb in two colors).

Finished Size: Foot width and length determined by the knitter. Calf circumference is 11 inches / 28 cm. Suggested leg length from bottom of foot is 8 inches / 20 cm, including 1 inch / 2.5 cm cuff.

Yarn: Infinite Twist Helix, MC: 240 yds / 80 gms; CC: 220 yds / 72 grams. Suggested combinations include Sakura / Red Devil, Natural / Goldfish, and Lady Midnight / Dovecote.

Needles: US 2 (2.5 mm) double-pointed needles, or size yielding gauge (see page 3 for details). Two sets of five needles recommended so both socks can be started at one time.

Supplies: removable stitch markers (two colors suggested), yarn needle, measuring tape.