Fox Faces Socks

By Nancy Bush

Truly Tasha ShawlThis sock design was inspired by socks I have seen on my travels to Estonia. I chose a short ribbing at the top, bordered by a lateral braid, an Estonian technique which I named ‘Vikkel’ Braid in Folk Knitting in Estonia (Interweave Press, 1999). The leg is decorated with a 10 stitch, 10 row repeat lace pattern. As I knit the socks, the pattern looked like little fox faces to me, so hence the name of the design.

These socks have a k1, p1 rib part way down the back of the leg, a feature I like, as it gives more structure to the leg of the sock, and stockinette stitch below to the heel shaping. The heel itself is reinforced with what I call a honeycomb stitch, where slipped stitches are alternated every right side row to reinforce and give a pleasant pattern. The heel turn is a Square or Dutch Heel, a classic shaping. A French toe made of three distinct bands completes the sock. Any good fingering weight sock yarn will work for this design. You will need 2 skeins of about 215 yards in 50 g. I used a set of 5 US#1, (2.25mm) double point needles, for a gauge of about 15 sts to 2” in Stockinette stitch.

•  2 skeins of Sock weight yarn (215 yds in 50g).
•  Set of 5 #1 (2.25mm) double point needles.

Gauge: 15 sts = 2” in Stockinette stitch.
Note - this pattern is written for a set of 5 double point needles. You may choose to use 2 circulars or the magic loop, but will need to adjust the pattern accordingly.

Size: To fit a ladies medium foot.

Over 2 needles, cast on 60 sts.
Remove second needle, carefully and divide sts onto double point needles, 15 on each needle, except the last one, which has 16 sts. Join sts into a rnd and p 1 rnd.  

Now work 9 rnds of k1, p1 ribbing. K 1 rnd.

Work a lateral braid as follows:
Increase 1 st by lifting the bar between the st just worked and the next st, k through the back of the bar - this is known as a M1 or make one increase. Replace this new st onto the LH needle.
*K into the back of the st to the left of the replaced st then k into the front of the replaced st. Replace the st at the RH needle point onto the LH needle.
Repeat from * to end of rnd.
Remember, when you go from one needle to another, you need to continue to replace the st on the RH needle point onto the LH needle.
When rnd is complete, slip the first st of the next rnd back onto the RH needle point and pass the last st of the rnd over, as a bind off. Replace the first st of the rnd onto the LH needle point. (There are more detailed instructions for this ‘Vikkel’ braid in Folk Knitting in Estonia (1999, Interweave Press) on page 50.)

You now have 60 sts.

Continue as follows (this next rnd is a set up rnd for the leg pattern - adjust sts so you have the 31 sts of Fox Faces pattern (repeat of 10 X3 +1) on needles #2 and #3):

Fox Faces Graph
Fox Faces Pattern Graph

Rnd 1 - (K1, p1) 15 times, *k1, k2tog, k1, Yo, k1, Yo, k1, ssk, k1, p1, rep from * 2 more times.
Rnd 2 and all even rnds - (K1, p1) 15 times, *k9, p1 rep from * 2 more times.
Rnd 3 - (K1, p1) 15 times, * k1, k2 tog, k1, Yo, k1, Yo, k1, ssk, k1 p1, rep from * 2 more times.
Rnd 5 - (K1, p1) 15 times,*k2, k2 tog, Yo, k1, Yo, ssk, k2 p1, rep from * 2 more times.
Rnd 7 - (K1, p1) 15 times, *k1, k2 tog, Yo, k3, Yo, ssk, k1, p1, rep from * 2 times.
Rnd 9 - (K1, p1) 15 times, * k2 tog, Yo, k5, Yo, ssk, p1, rep from * 2 more times.
Repeat these 10 rnds 3 times total.

Continue, keeping the 31 sts of pattern as established and changing the rib pattern at back of sock into St st. Work until sock leg measures 8“ and you have completed 4 more Fox Faces pattern repeats. You will have 7 Fox Faces pattern repeats total down the leg.

End having completed rnd 10 of pattern.

K 15, turn work. Sl 1, p28. You will have 29 sts on one needle for heel flap. Place the remaining 31 sts onto 2 other needles to be held for instep.
Work back and forth on heel sts in Honeycomb Heel Pattern:
Row 1 - Sl 1, k1, repeat to last st, k1.
Row 2 - Sl 1, p28.
Row 3 - Sl 1, *sl 1, k1 rep from * to end.
Row 4 - Sl 1, p28. Repeat these 4 rows until you have worked 30 rows total. You will have 15 chain sts at edge of heel flap.

Turn heel:
Row 1 - K 18, ssk, turn work.
Row 2 - Sl 1, p7, p2 tog, turn work.
Row 3 - Sl 1, k7, ssk, turn work.
Row 4 - Sl 1, p7, p2 tog, turn work.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all side sts are used up. 9 sts remain.

With empty needle, work across 9 heel sts. Pick up and k 15 sts on RS of heel flap.
With another empty needle, work across instep sts, keeping in pattern (you will be on row 1 of the Fox Faces pattern).
With another empty needle, pick up and k 15 sts down left side of heel flap and work 5 sts from heel.
You should have 19 sts on needle #1, 31 instep sts and 20 sts on last needle = 70 sts. On next rnd, k to 3 sts from end of needle #1, k2 tog, k1. K1, ssk at beginning of last needle and k to end of rnd. Work even, keeping in pattern as established on instep. Repeat these last 2 rnds until you have 60 sts total, 14 on needle #1, 31 instep sts and 15 on the last needle.
Continue in pattern until you have completed 12 repeats of the Fox Faces pattern.
Continue knitting all sts until sock measures about 2” less than desired length.

Shape Toe:
Shape as follows:
Divide stitches equally among 3 needles, 20 sts on each needle, so that the center stitch of the bottom of the foot is the first stitch on needle 1.
Rnd 1: On needle 1, *k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts on needle, k2tog, k1; rep from * for needles 2 and 3 - 6 stitches decreased.
Rnd 2: Work even.
Repeat Rnds 1 and 2 until 30 stitches remain.
Now work rnd 1 only until 12 sts remain.
On next rnd, *k1, ssk, k1, rep from * on next 2 needles.
You will have 9 sts remaining.

Break the yarn, thread the tail on a tapestry needle, draw the needle through all the stitches, then pull tight to close the opening.

Make second second sock to match.

Weave in ends.

Block socks on sock blockers or under a damp towel.

©Nancy Bush 2009