The Periwinkle Dragon

Original Knitting Patterns by Carolyn Lisle
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PhytoFade Socks

The PhytoFade socks are inspired by phytoplankton, which is a broad group of organisms that form the foundation of ocean food chains. Phytoplankton are at their most visible and beautiful in algal blooms, where a large quantity of photosynthesizing organisms multiply in a small part of the ocean, providing a burst of food for ocean animals as small as krill and as large as whales.

Side view of green and purple socks with a fade effect with black heel, toe, and cuff. Side view of feet touching heel-to-heel wearing socks that fade from blue through white to red with white heels, toes, and cuffs. Top-down view of feet wearing green and purple socks with a fade effect with black heels, toes, and cuffs.

These socks achieve a faded effect with three or five highly variegated colours blended via a combination of stripes and a repeating slipped-stitch motif. Elongating the stitches to be slipped helps keep the socks stretchy and comfortable while also bringing out the subtle colour details we all love in hand-dyed yarns.

These socks are knit toe-up. They are available in three sizes and are adjustable in length. They feature an afterthought heel and a contrasting toe, heel, and cuff. The right and left socks are worked identically, though I like the look of fraternal socks, personally, when choosing the colour progression. Corresponding written instructions are provided for the chart.

This pattern requires the knitter to be able to knit a small circumference in the round (all sock knitting techniques are accommodated) and clearly explains all techniques for increases, decreases, picking up an afterthought heel, and elongated stitches. Within the pattern you will find links to useful video tutorials as well, so the pattern is easily accessible to an intermediate knitter who is just getting started knitting socks.

This pattern is perfect for your leftovers! The three-colour version has finished foot lengths of 21.5 (22.5, 23.5) cm / 8.5 (8.85, 9.25) inches. It requires approximately 80 m / 90 yards each of three fade colours. The five-colour version has finished foot lengths of 21 (22, 23) cm / 8.25 (8.67, 9) inches. It requires approximately 45 m / 50 yards each of five fade colours.

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