Mermaid's Tail Socks by Liz Harris

Mermaid's Tail Socks

December 2017
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
33 stitches and 25 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette
US 1 - 2.25 mm
400 - 420 yards (366 - 384 m)
S, M, L, XL
Flag of English English
This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download

Want just a little texture to jazz up that sock? A little hesitant to tackle that big complicated pattern, but want to try something that is just a bit more complicated than plain stockinette? Maybe you’re knitting for a guy who wants you to keep it simple. Or you have some gorgeous yarn in a simple colorway that you would like to highlight? Well, then…This pattern is for you!
I designed this pattern as a quick and easy knit for beginners or experienced knitters who want a break. The overall pattern is a simple knit and purl combo which I have written out and charted so you have your choice on which to follow. What could be easier than just K and P?!

The pattern is subtle at first, but hang in there--after a few rows, it shows up as small diamonds traveling diagonally—very satisfying! I was going to name this pattern “spiffy diamonds” but my test knitter kept remarking how the pattern and the colors I had chosen made the socks look like a mermaid’s tail (it didn’t hurt that I happened to be wearing fish scale leggings in the exact same color at the time!). So when the Universe (in the form of my intrepid test knitter) is trying to tell me something, I just have to listen, eh? Mermaid’s Tail it is! Of course, you may knit them up in whatever color you like. And don’t let the name fool you: these are well suited for a pair of men’s socks, too. I am showing contrasting cuffs, heels and toes in my version, but feel free to go all one yarn if that floats your boat. Or just use contrasting for the heel and toes; there are several possibilities.

Yarn Suggestions: A couple of words of warning about this pattern: heavily speckled, self-striping or self-patterning yarn is not a great choice—the pattern will be completely lost. Best to stick with solid colors or slight tonals. Also: be meticulous in following the pattern; one incorrect row, or even just a single goofed pattern repeat, will wreck the overall appearance by altering the strong diagonal lines which is then quite obvious (and maddening!).

This pattern is appropriate for sock beginners that have made a least one pair of vanilla socks and thus know knitting basics. However, I have included a lot of how-to details in sock construction that the intermediate or advanced knitter can easily skim over, especially if they make choices for an alternate cuff ribbing or heel type.

Note: I knit socks on 4 DPNs at a time, I have attempted to generalize my instructions for folks who use other needle set ups. In the sock shown, I have used 80 g (~320 yds) of the main color and 20 g (~80 yds) of the contrasting color.