Cleave by Hunter Hammersen


January 2016
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
32 stitches = 4 inches
in stockinette stitch, after blocking
US 1 - 2.25 mm
400 - 600 yards (366 - 549 m)
Written in five sizes and three gauges to fit most anyone (see notes below for more).
Flag of English English Additional languages which are not in the download: Finnish, German
Out of print. This pattern was available for $7.50.

This pattern (along with most of my earlier work) was retired in the summer of 2022. However, it may be available for a few days once or twice a year. Read on for details!

In the summer of 2022, I realized that maintaining a back catalog of hundreds of patterns was kind of overwhelming. I couldn’t do it and still release new things. So I took my old patterns down so I could keep doing new work.

Since then, a handful of my favorites have come back, and lovely new things have come out. But the vast majority of the old patterns are retired and will no longer be generally available.

However, enough folks have asked about some old favorites that I’m planning to make many of the retired patterns available for a few days once or twice a year (most likely in late spring and then again in the fall around Thanksgiving).

  • If you see the buy buttons on this page, you’ve caught it on one of the days it’s available, and you’re welcome to grab it!
  • If you don’t see the buy buttons on this page, then it’s not currently available.
  • If you want to hear when the retired patterns will be available, subscribe to the mailing list or patreon, or keep an eye on my instagram.

Cleave verb split or sever, especially along a natural line or grain

These socks start out like a standard top-down sock, but things take a little twist when you get to the heel. Instead of setting half the stitches aside and working a heel flap on the other half, you’ll keep working in the round, increasing at the beginning and midpoint of the round to form the heel flap and gusset. Then you’ll switch to working in rows to turn the heel and work a bit of the sole. Finally, you’ll resume working in the round again to finish off the foot.

This construction is comfy and looks great, but it also eliminates the need to pick up stitches along the sides of the heel flap (a process that many knitters dislike). Also, if your socks tend to wear out under the heel (as mine so often do), you can easily carry a reinforcing thread along with your yarn when working the section in rows for added durability. If you’ve only ever made top-down socks with heel flaps in the past, this approach is a simple, nonthreatening way to branch out into another type of construction.

But don’t worry, if you’re feeling like different is hard (and really, we all have those days), there’s a variation included in the individual version to let you work them with a traditional heel flap. Because really, that cable is pretty enough to carry the show without any extra fancy bits!

They’re written in five sizes (56, 64, 72, 80, and 88 stitch cast ons) to fit most anyone. And of course you should feel free to adjust your gauge a bit to fine tune the fit of the sock. Just be sure that you’re working at a gauge that gives you a sturdy sock fabric with your chosen yarn!

I recommend working at something around 7, 8, or 9 stitches per inch, and I’ve included a table to help you figure out what gauge you’ll want to use for the size you need. With that range of sizes and gauges, the socks will fit a foot (measured around the ball of the foot) between 6.75 and 13.75 inches (with lots of points in between).

These are perfect for you if:

  • You want to play with a fun way to put socks together…but without letting things get too wild
  • You share my fondness for that beautiful cable

They’re not for you if:*

  • You don’t like charts (the pattern uses charts)
  • You hate swatching (you need to swatch to check your needle size)

Just as a heads up, a version of the pattern was originally included in the book New Directions in Sock Knitting and had since been published in a few other collections. Those version do not include the traditional heel variant or the alternate gauge information, but if you have any of those books, you do already have most of what’s in the individual version.