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Turkish Sock Motif

Knitting
January 2011

This motif came from a collection of patterns made by Betsy Harrell in an Istanbul shantytown in 1981. There, it was entitled “curtain,” with a notation that it is also called “kilim stitch”. In a collection of traditional patterns by Kenan Ozbel in 1976, the same pattern appears without the first and last row and is called “apple.” This motif appears
over and over again in Turkish stockings with many slight differences and many different frames.

There is no doubt that the motif began its existence in rug making. I have a knotted rug from eastern Turkey dated in the 1880s with this motif as the center of the medallion design. It is a Kurdish rug and the motif is typically Kurdish. It probably moved into knitting, however, from its flat-weave rendering because of the shape of diagonal extensions. In rug making, this motif is usually embedded within a hexagonal
frame. In knitting, the frame is diamond shaped since this develops easily and naturally on the needles. Extra space at the sides is filled in with the ubiquitous 1-3-1 motif that decorates the center in both rug and stocking designs.