Drop Zone Socks by Carolyn Lisle

Drop Zone Socks

May 2021
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
33 stitches and 44 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette stitch
US 1 - 2.25 mm
US 1½ - 2.5 mm
US 0 - 2.0 mm
273 - 328 yards (250 - 300 m)
Adult Small (Medium, Large)
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This pattern was the Round 4 Bonus Sock for Sock Madness 15. Check out the thread here for discussion, tips, and FOs!

The Drop Zone Socks are inspired by dewdrops on spiderwebs suspended between tangles of branches. Dry spider silk forms a necklace-like structure where two main fibres support a series of separate rounded “puffs”. When water vapour condenses onto these puffs, they shrink into densely packed knots, where more water collects, creating that beautiful beaded effect.

Pattern Description

These toe-up socks feature interwoven drop cables, with both long columns of dropped stitches from cuff to toe and smaller sections of dropped stitches between cable crosses. On the leg, alternating columns of dropped stitches include varying widths of pre-strung beads. This mirrored pattern completely fills the instep, gusset, and leg. The socks have a reinforced gusset and heel flap heel using German short rows and a cabled cuff that flows smoothly from the leg pattern. The gussets are patterned with additional drop cables that flow smoothly from the instep.

This pattern requires the knitter to be able to knit a small circumference in the round (your choice of method) and explains all techniques required. Corresponding written instructions are provided for all charts. This pattern has some unusual techniques, so it is best-suited to an experienced sock knitter who is comfortable with cables.

Yarn Requirements and Sizing

This pattern is written for one size; however, changing the gauge allows for three adult foot sizes. Note that in all sizes, it is easy to make the foot length longer or shorter than the lengths listed below.

  • A Small sock (18 cm / 7 inch foot circumference with a 21 cm / 8.25 inch foot length) requires a gauge of approximately 36 st x 48 rows in 10 cm / 4 inches.
  • A Medium sock (20.5 cm / 8 inch foot circumference with a 23 cm / 9 inch foot length) requires a gauge of approximately 33 st x 44 rows in 10 cm / 4 inches.
  • A Large sock (23 cm / 9 inch foot circumference with a 25 cm / 9.75 inch foot length) requires a gauge of approximately 30 st x 40 rows in 10 cm / 4 inches.

While the most common sock needle sizes to get the above gauges — 2.0 (2.25, 2.5) mm / US 0 (1, 1.5) — are listed on this page, each knitter will need to select the needle size that gets them their chosen gauge, even if it is larger or smaller than those suggested sizes. Needles one size smaller than your gauge needle size are recommended for the cuff.

(Note that the sock will not actually be its finished circumference until the very end, when you drop the columns of stitches on the outsides of the foot. Don’t panic if you try on the foot while it’s on the needles and it is too tight — it isn’t finished yet!)

These socks require approximately 250 (275, 300) m / 275 (300, 325) yards of fingering or light fingering weight yarn. A very smooth sock yarn that wears well is recommended to facilitate the beading.

In any size, the socks require 990 size 8/0 seed beads for the three leg chart repeats — this is approximately 25g of glass beads.

These socks are best suited for a solid or semi-solid colourway of yarn. Because of the heel style, I do not recommend self-striping or continuous gradient yarns.

These socks are rated 5/5 — Challenging — on my sock pattern difficulty scale. This is because they require both extensive beading and dropped stitches worked within cables.