I call these socks my BC socks because they use a brioche stitch and my very first pair are knit out of Clematis yarn. This socks pattern fits a woman’s medium foot. It’s easy to make longer or shorter as you knit. If you want to make it wider or thinner it is easiest to do so in by adding or subtracting 5 stitches to the total number of stitches (one pattern repeat).
k: knit stitch
p: purl stitch
st (sts): stitch (stitches)
ktbl: Knit to back loop. This creates a twisted knit-stitch which makes the ribbing stand out more than the regular knit stitch.
m1: Make one stitch by lifting up the strand of yarn between the stitch you just knit and the one you are about to. Put it on your left needle so that it enters from front to back and ktbl.
k2tog: Knit two stitches together as one.
ssp: Slip two stitches knitwise, place back on left needle, purl both stitches together (through the back loops) as one stitch.
k3tog: Knit three stitches together as one.
sssp: slip three stitches knitwise, place back on left needle, purl all three stitches together (through the back loops) as one.
Yarnover (O): before a knit stitch, bring the yarn to the front between the two needles, then over the top of the right needle to the back so that it is ready to knit the next stitch.
Reverse yarnover (RO): This used for the heal of the sock and on the only for the purl side of the knitting. Interweave Knits does a better job at explaining this than I ever could (summer 2007).
Brioche stitch: This stitch is worked over two rounds. The first round, the stitch is slipped (purlwise) while making a yarnover at the same time. Bring the yarn over the right needle from front to back, slip the stitch purlwise, then bring the yarn between the needles ready to purl the next stitch. On the second round, you purl the yarnover and purl stitch together.
Eastern Cast-On: This is a bit tricky to explain and I think that Interweave Knits does it best. This is from their Summer 2007 issue which has a very in depth explanation on how to knit toe up socks (available in most libraries).
Stuff you need:
100g /400 m (approx.) of sock yarn.
A set of 2.5mm double point needles
8 sts / 1” or 32 sts /4” (10cm) in stocking stitch.
A ‘blunt’ needle for threading in the ends and casting off.
Yarn of your choosing
How to make a Toe-Up BC Sock:
Using the Eastern Cast-On, cast-on 12 stitches and knit one round.
Divide stitches so that half the stitches are on one needle (these will be the top of the sock) and the other half are divided equally between two needles (these stitches will be the bottom of your sock). Make note of where the side gaps are (either mentally or by placing stitch markers)
K1, m1 k to one stitch before the other side, m1 k1. Do the same for the bottom (or top, depending on where you started).
Repeat this round until you have 28 sts. K one round.
Repeat these two rounds until you have 60 sts.
The bottom sts are simple stst (knit every round), these are the sts on two needles. The top stitches (on the single needle) begin the brioche twisted knit-stitch rib now.
BC rib pattern (for top half of stitches) is repeated over five sts.
o Set up row: (ktbl, p3, ktbl) repeat.
o Row one: (ktbl, p1, O sl-p-wise (bring yarn to back over top of right needle, slip next stitch purlwise, bring yarn to front of knitting between the needles) p1, ktbl) repeat.
o Row two: (ktbl, p1 purl yarn over and slipped st together, p1, ktbl) – repeat.
Continue in this way until sock is equal to the length from the tip of your big toe to the centre of the ankle bone. End on row one of the BC rib pattern.
This short-row heal is far more difficult to describe than it is to do. Basically, what you do is work the bottom half of the sts back and forth, each time working one less st. Then, once you’ve had enough of that, you start going so that you work back and forth, but this time working one more st each row. Sounds fun? As above, I rely heavily on Interweave Knits Summer 2007 article on knitting toe up socks. There are other explanations around, but theirs is the clearest I’ve seen.
Set aside the top half of the sts on two needles. For the heal we will only use the bottom half of the sts.
Knit across the heal sts until one st remains to be knitted. Do not knit this st. Turn your work so that you can purl.
RO (yarnover backwards) and purl until one stitch remains. Do not knit this st. Turn.
O an knit until 3 sts remain on the needle. These stitches are the original st that you did not knit, the yarnover and one more st. The yarnover and the new stitch sort of clump together, and we will be going back and forth in this fashion until just before the pair. Turn.
RO and purl until before the paired sts (3 sts remain on the needle). Turn.
Repeat these two rows, each time knitting or purling until just before the paired sts, until 12 sts remain in between the yarnover pairs. When that occurs, we begin to increase the amount of sts we work each time. (in theory, you should be on a knit row next)
Knit until the paired sts. There should be one knit stitch and one yarnover. K1. Adjust the yarnover so that it sits like a regular stitch (move onto right needle then put back on left needle accordingly). K2tog (knit the yarnover with the first stitch of the next pair). Turn.
RO and purl back until the first paired sts on that side. P1. ssp. Turn.
O and knit until you reach the paired sts (these will be the ones you made on the previous row). K1. Now you have two yarnovers next to each other. Adjust them so that they sit like a regular stitch on the needles by slipping both of them onto the right needle and then slipping them back (twisting them) individually onto the left needle. K3tog. Turn.
RO and purl until the paired sts. P1 and sssp.
repeat these last two rows until all the heal sts have been worked. In theory there should still be a yarnover at each side of the heal. These you will k2toghether (through the back loop) with the first and last top stitch on the next round. This stops a gap from forming at the ankle.
Divide sts evenly (20 per needle) between the three needles. Make a mental note (or stitch marker) of where the round begins.
As you ended the foot on a yarn over round of the brioche stitch you can simply work the second round of the stitch (the one where you purl the slipped stitch and the yarnover together). pattern.
For the heal stitches, you need to work one set up round where you (ktbl, p3, ktbl) repeat.
Now everything should be ready for the regular stitch pattern (see foot section). Work until desired length (I made mine ankle socks).
Bind off in a VERY loose manner. This can involve binding off in the regular way, but using larger needles, or you can try this method from, you guessed it, Interweave Knits.
All technical images are from Interweave Knits magazine. I can't tell you enough of how great this magazine is. These are only a sample of the wonderful things they produce.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, corrections, &c. please leave a comment. I hope a top down version of this socks is on it's way soon. But who knows what the knitting fates have in store for me.