Market Socks by Donna Druchunas
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Market Socks

March 2013
DK (11 wpi) ?
22 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches
in Stranded colorwork
US 5 - 3.75 mm
320 yards (293 m)
81⁄2" (22 cm) foot circumference

These socks can be made in DK or worsted weight yarn on fairly large needles, as are most of the socks sold in the tourist market in Vilnius. The motif on the leg is recognized as an eight-petal flower blossom in Lithuania, but if you look closely you’ll see that it is the same motif that is called a snow- flake, a star, or a rose in other places. This eight-pointed motif is actually one of the most popular shapes wherever color work knitting is done. Today in the mar- ket, socks are usually made in white or cream yarn with one or two dark colors for patterning.

Sometimes the market socks have the entire foot knitting in plain white yarn, as I’ve done on one example, and sometimes the color work pattern is repeated on the foot after the instep decreases are complete, as I’ve done on the second sample pair. The socks sold in the market include many different designs, some of which are not at all based on Lithuanian traditional patterns, and some of which are not even hand-knitted.

This design is one that is knit by hand, but on a mass-produced level of production, and you can find socks with identical designs in many different booths. There are some sellers who make unique creations, and I have bought some one-of-a-kind socks that had extra yarn and the yarn label tucked inside the toe. This pair features a Dutch heel and a round toe, both frequently used on socks sold in the markets as well as on many of the socks in museum collections around the country.