Xanthophyll by Hunter Hammersen


September 2009
Any gauge - designed for any gauge ?
blocked stockinette
US 1 - 2.25 mm
300 - 450 yards (274 - 411 m)
Written in four sizes and six gauges to fit most anyone, see below for more details
Free Pattern also available for free: info in notes
This pattern is available for $10.00 USD
A free version is also available. buy it now

My sock model had a scheduling conflict, and I like to do sock photos on a person. But I'm impatient and wanted to get this out now! So until I can get a second photo shoot scheduled, I'm making the pattern free to anyone on patreon (yes, even the folks on the free tier, you can literally get it for zero dollars). I'll take that down once I get more photos (and don't worry, you'll get the update whenever that happens), but until then, we'll just do it as a little treat over there!

Leaves are magic. They really are. But they’re one of those little everyday bits of magic that we’re surrounded by all the time, so sometimes we sort of stop noticing them. But if you pay attention, you’ll see leaves do all sorts of things. They grow, they change shape, they move around, and, maybe best of all, they change color.

Xanthophyll is one of the things that helps with that color change. It’s a yellow pigment that is usually hidden behind the green pigment chlorophyll. For much of the year you can’t see it, but it’s protecting the leaf from the stress that can be caused by sudden bursts of bright sunlight. When the green chlorophyll fades away, the yellow xanthophyll becomes visible again, which is part of why leaves turn yellow in the fall.

And I kind of love that. I kind of love the idea of something being there, quietly protecting you in the background, even if you can’t see it. And then when the circumstances are right, and you do get to see it, it’s beautiful!

It seems like a lovely way to think about handknit socks. They’re there, quietly protecting you, even though you might not see much of them as you go about your day. But when you do catch sight of them, they’re so lovely they stop you in your tracks. And that feels like a sort of magic too!

General information

This 16-page pattern makes beautiful socks and holds your hand through all the sticky spots that can sometimes make socks feel tricky.

Skills & scope

Socks are really just a tube with a bend in the middle, so don’t let them scare you! These are top down socks with a heel flap, which means they’re easy to try on to check the fit as you go and easy to adjust to suit your feet. If you’re comfortable following charts and working in the round, these can totally be your first socks. And if you’re already a fan of socks, you’ll have great fun with them!

The pattern uses charts, so you will need to know how to follow a knitting chart.

Yarn, gauge & sizing

The socks comes in four sizes (from a 56 stitch leg to an 80 stitch leg) and are written for six gauges (from six and a half to nine stitches per inch in half stitch increments).

That means you can use just about any weight of yarn from fingering up through worsted, and there will be a size to fit pretty much anyone’s foot. Basically anything that will give you a nice dense sock fabric at one of those gauges will work.

The socks in the pictures took about 350 yards of fingering-weight yarn and are shown on EU size 43, US women’s size 12, US men’s size 10 feet. The very biggest socks in the very smallest gauge can take up to about 450 yards, but usually 400 yards is plenty to make socks with fingering, sport, or dk-weight yarn, and 375 is plenty for worsted-weight yarn.

The stitch patterns differ very slightly from size to size, so your socks may look very very slightly different from ones in the pictures. All the sizes create a nice tidy rib and spiky cables, but sometimes the cable or the purl columns are a stitch wider to work better at different stitch counts.

That approach did a much better job of keeping the feel of the pattern consistent across the sizes, even though it does mean they all look a teeny tiny bit different (you probably won’t notice unless you zoom way in and count stitches). I just wanted to mention it so you don’t worry if yours looks a bit different than the pictures! It’s intentional, and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong.

Tools & supplies

You’ll need needles that let you work in the round (circulars or DPNs) in whatever size lets you get a sturdy fabric with your chosen yarn plus the general knitting tools you need for most projects (scissors to cut your yarn, a darning needle to weave in ends, the occasional stitch marker).