And now, we frog.

Something about the pattern for Ellen’s Stockings bothered me from the very beginning:

There’s a column of purl stitches running smack down the middle of the sock. It bisects the foot in a rather unattractive way, I think, and the more I look at it, the more it bugs me. I cringe at what it’ll look like when I reach the toe.

However, I think I’d be able to live with it if everything else about the pattern was perfect. But the truth is that the sock is coming out way too big.

It’s my own fault – I should have known that a lacey pattern worked over 68 stitches in Lorna’s Laces would come out too loose, but for some reason I disregarded that silly little voice inside my head (note to self: never disregard the silly little voice).

At this point I don’t see an alternative to frogging, and reworking the sock over, say, 56-60 sts, without the purl column down the center. I’m not exactly sure how I’ll modify the pattern yet, though having only one lace motif running down the center of the foot is very likely.

I’m thinking two aspects of the original are keepers.


The “double-start” cast-on is very pretty, and stretchier than a typical long tail cast-on. The heel is called a Dutch heel, I think, and is completely new to me. Very interesting!


36 thoughts on “And now, we frog.

  1. Aura

    Hmmm…. I’m Dutch, I ought to look into that heel!

    That column of stitches is distracting; if it was part of a larger motif where it repeated more often, that would be fine. But it does bisect the foot oddly. Humph. Very pretty yarn, though!

  2. Deborah C.

    I think you’re right, that purl column down the middle does nothing for the sock. If you frog and re-knit without it, will it be few enough stitches? Could you also take out a few of the stockinette stitches between motifs, and replace them with 1 stitch knit through the back loop to twist it, as an accent stitch?

    I can’t wait to see the finished sock!

  3. ZhiWen

    Lol, I’m Dutch too and I’m not a fan of that one.. isn’t it also called a German heel? I much prefer the Eye of the Partridge and short-row heels šŸ˜‰

    Too bad you have to frog, I guess in the end it is the best decision (that purled column.. not really pretty) šŸ™ The colour is beautiful by the way!

    Also, I have most of Nancy Bush’s books, but not this one.. after seeing you cast on, I had to order myself a copy šŸ˜€

  4. Becky Clark

    Don’tcha love it when a pattern teaches you something new? I have been knitting toe-up socks but didn’t like the look of the short row heel, but I just found a pattern on-line that looks just like a round heel worked cuff-down. Will take me a little while to burn it in my brain, but I think I have a little room left up there. Frog on, baby!

  5. Juliann

    My Lorna Laces socks became the socks from Hell. I casted on, knitted, too big, yuck, frogged; casted on, knitted, something not right about the whole thing, frogged; third time casted on, knitted, a spiral appeared that was not there before, sighed, not going to frog again. Second sock, casted on, knitted, no spiral around cuff as on the first one, sighed, then noticed that the dye was a little darker than the first, sighed, what the Hell is going on, knit to toe, finished second sock, noticed I had dropped a stitch during dec. on toe. Sighed big time! Frogged toe, found it hard to pick up stitches on a toe, finished sock, threw the pair in the sock basket, muttering nasty things. Finally tried on second sock, looks weird where I picked up the stitches. Threw it back in sock basket. My knitting pal picked up the socks one day, and remarked, “Did you realize that one of your socks is shorter than the other one?” Yes, the second sock is shorter. Sigh! I guess I have to frog the damn sock.

  6. Stephanie

    I hate it when the only option is frogging, but when the little voice speaks the only choice is to listen. I like the Dutch heel, I’ve seen it in some of her patterns, but have never tried it. I guess I’m going to have to.

  7. twig

    The purl column is what I least like about 90% of the socks in Knitting Vintage socks — though that one is a “seam” in the back instead of on the front. I always leave that out.

  8. Val

    This column of purl stiche seams to be the way of Nancy Bush to make lace socks. I’m knitting the Birch Leaf Socks and have exactly the same problem. But the heel is beautiful and very confortable, I like it.

  9. Emma in France

    I’ve knit Ellen’s Stockings and like the pattern generally. However, I have found that the Dutch Heel doesn’t work for me. It seems to form a bulge right at the back of the heel. I had hoped it would settle while wearing but it doesn’t. Perhaps it’s just the shape of my foot?

  10. Elinor

    Oh, I love Dutch heels. It’s nice and snug on my heel. The modifications look great!! Nancy Bush patterns are so beautiful, aren’t they? And I love your yarn choice.

  11. Rete

    It’ll be a great sock, though, once you work out all the kinks… where would one find instruction on the “double start” cast on? It looks like a good one, I’d like to try it.

  12. desiknitter

    These socks seem similar to another pair Nancy Bush designed for Gathering of Lace called “Birch Leaf Socks”. It has a leaf lace in front and the same cabled ribbing at the back on the cuff as this pattern. I have made one of those and loved it. I forget how many stitches that was, but perhaps it would suit better?

  13. Typesetter

    The Dutch heel has quickly become my staple heel for socks, especially for the ones I knit patternless (that’s about 90% of the socks I knit!). Sometimes with stockinette, sometimes with an eye-of-partridge stitch. And I also often add the “seam” stitch, which reminds me of the seam running down the back of the 1940’s stockings. Buth that’s in the back, not in the front! A straight line of purled stitches in the front would look… Well, odd! By the way, Marta: Dustch, German, French… They are just variations of the basic flap heel. And I perosnally don’t like short-row heels (they don’t work particularly well on my feet).

  14. Ashley

    I agree 100% about that purl column. Meh. But I bet a single panel of the lace would look great down the front–maybe with a small moss stitch panel on either side?

  15. Maritza

    Love the Dutch Heel… and you are totally right about the purled column down the center. It breaks up the pattern in a very distracting manner.

  16. Heather

    What size needles are you using?

    I tend to knit looser socks, I think, and when I have done only 60 st, they fit around my ankles, but not around my calves.

    The yarn is lovely, though, and I like the other design components.

  17. Claire

    I know how you feel! I knitted up a pair of socks using the Lombard Street pattern from MagKnits, and they’re FINISHED. I’ve worn them twice, and they’re too danged loose! They just kinda slouch down around my ankles. I used Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock on mine as well, and I’m just not happy with the fit, though I LOVE the pattern. I’m seriously thinking of frogging them and reknitting them smaller.

  18. laura b

    What a pretty heel! I guess since you’ll have to work it at least three times now, though, that you’ll be sure to have this new technique down by the time you finish your socks.

  19. michal

    oy, I hate it when I pretend something I’m knitting is “just fine”, “it works” or worse – “it’ll be ok”. I always end up frogging it – when it’s almost done! arg!

  20. Karen B.

    Don’t you hate when that “little voice” is so often right? Unfortunately, the frog pond is the only solution to the center purl problem :o(

    The Dutch heel is pretty neat and I may need to incorporate it (or the rounder French heel) into my next pair of socks. Thanks so much for your informative posts.

  21. LaurieM

    I’ve used a dutch heel several times. You can even continue your heel stitch into the dutch heel for extra cushiness and re-enforcement. I prefer to use eye-of-the partridge for this.

  22. aj

    Yeah, I’m not a sock knitter so I couldn’t tell you anything about the purl column being right or wrong…either way, your sock is gorgeous. You are definitely in the big leagues!

  23. Nancy

    That’s such a pretty color of pink– are the photos in the bottom row true to color? I might have to figure out something to make from lorna’s laces in this shade– which color is it?

    oh, and nice cast on too!

  24. Brenda

    I’ve noticed on several of Nancy Bush’s sock patterns, especially those that she has modernized from “vintage” patterns, she includes a single purl or garter stitch column to mimic a seam. I usually leave it out as I don’t like how it looks either.

    I know a lot of people don’t like the Dutch heel, but it fits my foot very well. It is more square than the more typical French heel. I looked at my foot, and it is rather squarish, so it is my heel of choice. I also like the Welsh heel, which NB shows in Vintage Socks and in her rib-and-cable sock from IK fall ’05. It has decreases on the bottom, which look like they could be uncomfortable to walk on, but I haven’t found it so.

    Good luck redesigning the sock! Your grandmother is very lucky.

  25. Lisa

    I think your ideas fo rthe new socks are great! I do love your pattern, cast-on edge, and the Dutch heel. They’re just enough to inspire me to be experimental in my own socks. Can’t wait to see the finished ones!

  26. moirae

    What size needles are you using? I agree that 68 is probably to big on size 2s or addi 1s, but possibly okay on regular size 1s.

    I’d reduce the purl column, or if there are decreases, remove them and start with the narrower bit.

    Good luck – they were gorgeous.

  27. Warrior Knitter

    That silly little voice? Yeah, I hear it, too. And I always vow to listen, next time. But when “next time” rolls around the silly little voices’s evil twin/clone pops up with, “But this is different.”

    Great Sock, tho. I like the pattern & I agree about the purl columm, right in front.

  28. Paisley

    I learnt the Dutch (or horseshoe) heel from NB’s Vintage Socks recently and I love the nice boxy shape that it forms. I with you on the purls down the front – they definitely looked a bit odd.

  29. Bobbisox

    I agree about that column of purls; now, since it is large on you, you can remove a couple of the knit stitches bordering the pattern and all but one of the purls, around the whole sock, and it should work out prettier and fit better. Just my humble opinion.

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