The Worst Way Socks
People who knit a lot of socks often have strong feelings about toe-up or cuff-down construction. The good news is, these socks are are worked both cuff-down AND toe-up, so that should please everyone! Or maybe not, because the bad news is, the socks are actually each worked cuff-down THEN toe-up… THEN flat, THEN in the round, THEN flat again. They’re socks worked the absolute Worst Way! Fun, right? Wait, where are you going? It’s not that bad! Come back!
This unconventionally-constructed sock pattern is literal to a ridiculous degree! There will be no question as to which way you knit each section; that’s obvious from the colourwork arrows pointing down the leg, up the foot, and around the gussets. This pattern is mostly stranded colourwork with some long floats, with the sole of the foot worked in stockinette and Eye of Partridge stitch.
When finished, this sock is shaped like a traditional sock with a gusset and heel flap construction. However, it is constructed as follows:
- The leg is worked in the round like a normal cuff-down sock leg.
- The foot is worked partly in the round (like a normal toe-up sock) and partly flat (like a cuff-down heel flap, but on the instep) and is grafted to the front of the leg.
- The gussets are worked in the round and shaped with short rows using back of leg, sole, and picked-up instep-flap selvedge stitches.
- The sole is worked flat in Eye of Partridge stitch (like a toe-up heel flap, but on the bottom of the foot).
- The heel is shaped on the sole only using short rows (like a heel turn on a toe-up gusset-and-heel-flap heel) and then grafted together with the back of leg stitches.
It is possible to work the foot and leg in the opposite order — this saves you two ends to sew in — but I recommend doing the leg first because then it works as a gauge reference to help you size the foot accurately.
All non-basic knitting techniques have technique videos linked in the pattern via both links (for reading the pattern from a device) and QR codes (for reading a printed pattern), including Tillybuddy’s Very Stretchy Cast On, German short rows, Judy’s Magic Cast On, Kitchener stitch, and several stranded knitting resources.
This pattern works best if the two colours used are clearly distinct from each other. As you can imagine, this pattern will do awkward things to self-striping, gradient, and self-patterning yarns, so they are not recommended (unless you are okay with the intended effect being broken up).
This pattern was featured in the 2023 Sock Madness 17 competition. Find more sock competition patterns here!