It’s good to have a best friend, don’t you think? Maybe you appear different on the outside, have different personalities, likes and dislikes… But when push comes to shove, you have the same morals and values; you’re made of the same stuff, so to say.

And so with these socks.

The one on the left is of course the Blue and Cream Stocking from Meg Swansen’s Knitting. The one on the right is its newly found friend, the Estonian Stocking.

Pattern: The Estonian Stocking is a true chimera:

  • the basic shape mimics the Blue and Cream Stocking, including the oh-so-snug arch shaping (check out the Fall 2006 Vogue for more inspiration!)
  • as before, the French Toe is from Nancy Bush’s Knitting Vintage Socks (p.21)
  • the pattern motifs are from Nancy Bush’s Folk Knitting in Estonia, including those from Marko’s Mittens (p. 100) and the whorl (p. 29).

Needles: size US 1 Susan Bates, 2 circulars and 5 dpns.

Yarn: Sundara Yarn sock yarn, in 006 and 024. I think I used about half a skein of blue, and 1.5 skeins of orange.

Gauge and size: gauge in stranded section: 8.3 spi, 9 rpi. I think the gauge is different for this stocking than the first because the orange is just a little fluffier, and more of it is used here. The stocking is 13″ in circumference at the calf, 7″ in circumference at the ankle, and 17″ long from cuff to bottom of heel.

If you compare, you’ll notice that this stocking is a little wider. Indeed, it ended up being worked over more stitches to fit the pattern repeats – I started with 108 sts and narrowed my stranded work to 68, then to 64 for the foot (versus 106 to 54 for the Blue and Cream Stocking).

Another improvement – I knit the ribbing at the top over fewer stitches (92) and on smaller needles (US 0), then increased for the colorwork. This is to accommodate the difference in gauge between stranded and regular knitting. If I were even more obsessive/compulsive than I already am (God help us all if that ever becomes the case), I would make a similar adjustment for the few rounds of regular knitting separating the different sock sections.

I also modified the shape slightly, decreasing more rapidly where the calf tapers, thus accommodating my bulbous calves and tiny ankles better. I think you can see the difference in this photo:

Seriously, my legs are shaped like that. Otherwise I wouldn’t have done it!

The verdict is that I love this one as much as the first. I heart you, little huge stocking! I think it was smart to make the second different – even though this pattern motif was much simpler and slightly more boring, it was more interesting than knitting a second one of the same thing. So I chugged through it without too much complaining.

I have more Fair Isle knitting planned for the future. This time, the socks will be knit from the toe to the cuff, because I find myself somewhat bothered by the V’s of the colorwork stitches being upside down. But before I get to that, here are a few more shots of this glorious Estonian stocking (click for bigger):

simply fabulous arch shaping; view from the side; inside-out


101 thoughts on “Friends

  1. Ruby

    I like the detailing on the foot – but have wondered if when you are wearing the sock you can feel the shaping. I’m such a tenderfoot that I’ve held off making a pair for me with this detailing for fear that it would be irritating when wearing, and then never wearing the socks.

  2. laura b

    It came out so beautifully! Since you’re not going to wear them, though, what will you do with them? For some reason, the word ‘shadowbox’ comes to mind.

  3. betzig

    Truly, they are both wonderful socks. I second Laura B.’s suggestion, shadowboxes would showcase the true art of these socks. I hope to one day be so cool as to knit socks that impressive…

  4. hellahelen

    Hot Damn! How cute would those mismatched stockings look with a bell-shaped knee-length skirt and some sassy mary janes? Nice work. As always, an inspiration.


  5. Maritza

    Ohmygod, those are simply gorgeous! Great job with the Fair Isle, and that shaping is just amazing. I love what you did with the arch of the foot. Beautiful! You are officially my sock-guru.

  6. Jen

    Hey, just so y’all know – spread the word – the Meg Swansen sock pattern in the Fall VK is ENTIRELY wrong, as in, the ENTIRE PATTERN. The correct pattern is posted on the VK website.

    ?!? True story!

  7. Dove

    They are both just beautiful. They really do go together very well!

    I’m very impressed with the shaping — through the calf and the arch (I’ve gotta try arch-shaped socks! You and Vogue have been haunting me in that respect). And look how heat the stranding is in the back! That’s it! I’m learning Fair Isle!

  8. jean

    Those are wicked awesome! I agree with the comments about framing these puppies and displaying them as artwork. They are a work of art. Great job!

  9. Molly

    OMG those are both beautiful! For me, the toughest sock I will attempt is the Arrrgyle. I like patterns better than color changes.

  10. Glenna

    Those stockings look beautiful! Perhaps one day I will attempt fair isle in socks – fair isle sweaters have been enough of a challenge so far 🙂

    Will you be wearing the 2 socks together?

  11. michelle

    Absolutely stunning!

    You never cease to amaze me!

    I am currently working on a jaywalker and will post when I am done…another stunning creation of yours!

  12. Andrea Atkinson

    There is only one way to display these…..on your feet. They are fantastic and I am in awe but not surprised at all. You are a very talented person.

  13. tllgrrl

    Wow. Yep, I’d be wearing them with black tights, a black mini-skirt/dress and black ankle boots.

    Think people’d notice ’em?

    : )

  14. LaurieM

    You’re socks are gorgeous and flawless. But I must say, I do miss that panel that runs down the sides of the first one. You know, where the swirls are. I think your design would have benefited from something similar.

    I do not mean to detract from your accomplishment in any way. This is just my opinion.

  15. Rebekkah

    They’re even in my alma mater’s colors. True sock perfection. 🙂

    Beautiful work. My feet are screaming for them, now, as I also have high arches. They look incredibly comfortable, in addition to beautiful. Time for a trip to the library.

  16. loribird

    Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. You are truly amazing, Ms. Grumps. And to think you did this all despite being allergic to wool… (and hey, don’t you have a life beyond knitting, something about graduate classes…? Where do you find the time???)

  17. Ann

    Wow! Love them. Love the arch shaping. Is that because you have high arches, or you’re just a stickler like that?

  18. earthchick

    You absolutely, completely rock.

    p.s. – in those colors, you’d be a big hit here in Ann Arbor, with Michigan football about to start up – Go Blue!

  19. Sheri

    Not much I can add to the previous comments but just had to tell you they’re stunning! Wow!!!! I just bought a couple of books to try to get my knack back for 2 color knitting. I hope I can knit something half as good as those 2 socks!

    Sheri in GA

  20. Laura

    Your knitting is AMAZING! I’m so impressed with the inside of the sock. You have the stranding totally down. I’m just beginning fair isle and am imspired.

  21. amisha

    absolutely, unbelievably gorgeous. the patterning is great, and i echo all the praise of the arch shaping… it’s a lovely pairing of form and function.

  22. Ida

    Oh. My. Gosh. !! Gorgeous! If you go for the shadow-box thing, you’ve got to figure out how to display them so that the arch shaping shows. But I hope you knit another one or (two) and wear them.

  23. Rhonda from Baddeck

    Absolutely gorgeous! Stranded color work and extensive shaping — they’re incredible!

  24. Sarah

    Those are such lovely stockings. I’m quite curious about the arch shaping. Could you tell us if/how that shaping feels? What about after wearing them all day with shoes? I suppose we may need to wait for a different part of the year for that answer. Still, you could adopt a socks and shoes only weekend.

  25. Brenda

    I love them both! I can’t pick which is my favorite. I think they compliment each other well and would look great with a jean skirt on a cool fall day….

  26. Carolyn

    I really love it. I hope the friends don’t go out together in public…but if you made a twin for the second one, I think they would rock!

    Interesting, I never even thought of the problems in fair isle toe up..i’ll be watching.

  27. Dana

    Just incredible. I thought I was O/C but you have me beat by a mile. I could never do all that fiddling. But I am totally blown away by these socks. The photo of the foot shaping alone could make me weep! Awesome work.

  28. Brenda

    I absolutely love these socks and I admire your color-work skills. I’m OK with Fair Isle but nowhere near as good as you. You’ve inspired me to try some Fair Isle socks of my own.

    Also, I can sympathize with having bulbous calves. I constantly have trouble finding knee socks that will fit comfortably over them. Hah, maybe you’ve inspired me to knit tall socks as well.

  29. Jody

    Wow – they look great! I love the fact that they’re “friends” instead of “mates” that’s such a cool idea! It really makes me want to try fair isle mismatch socks!! And the arch shaping?! Love it love it love it!!

  30. Mary K. in Rockport

    I’m still cogitating on a use for these socks as you’re not going to actually wear them. Christmas stockings to “hang by the mantle with care” for twins? Swedish twins? The blue-footed sock, your first one, is more slimming on the “shapely” calf, don’t you think?

  31. Judy

    Love those patterns. How great to be able to fit the sock to the leg! I always have extra fabric around my ankle and top of my foot. I’m new at socks.

  32. Denise in Kent, WA

    Spectacular socks! Awe inspiring. You have NO idea how pleased I am that I’m not the only one whose calves are shaped like that (grin). Must try the arch shaping for my husband’s next pair of socks, too; his arches are as high as mine are flat.

  33. heatherly

    i love the arch shaping. i have short wide feet. high arches. i want to figure out this foot shaping. i think i would never remove my socks though.

    all my embroidery, sewing, etc work my mom alwayus looked at the wrong side before telling me i did a good job. i love the inside of your sock!

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