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August 23, 2006


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

Posted by Kathy on August 23, 2006 10:35 AM


Totally love 'em!!! But the blue's my fave.....

both stockings look great! i love them! lovely arch shaping, i like that too!

Oh my, they both are fantastic!

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.

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.

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...

Those are two of the most wicked awesome socks I have ever seen. Bravo!! :)

Beautiful work! These are amazing - I'm so impressed :0) I especially love the arch shaping at the foot.

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.


Good golly - that's a gorgeous socks. Fabulous work.

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.

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!

Great socks! When you do the toe-up fairisle socks, are you going do knit the arch shaping too?

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I am in awe.

Those are gorgeous!!!!

That arch shaping is so beautiful it makes me wish I wasn't flat-footed so I could do some on my socks.

Those are great!

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!

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!

LOVE them! I love the colors (go Sweden) and the motifs. PLUS, they look uber warm, which is always a bonus for me.

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

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?

beautiful, however you choose to display them or not. They are lovely even just showcased by your blog ;o)

simply beautiful! I really think you should frame those ya know!

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!

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.

Looks fun! You should wear them about town with a black baby doll dress and big clunk doc martens.

Wow. Yep, I'd be wearing them with black tights, a black mini-skirt/dress and black ankle boots.
Think people'd notice 'em?
: )

Holy cow! Those are some beautiful socks.

Fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing all the details!

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.

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.

that arch shaping is brilliant!

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???)

Love them to pieces! Nice work (as always)

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

i do love that arch shaping. nice work as always.

They are truly a work of art, Kathy.

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!

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

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.

Like everyone else, I have to chime in and say how delightful these are. I love thing that are not matchey matchey.

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.

The arch shaping just makes me want to cry, it's so lovely!

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.

Simply stunning. That's the most beautiful bottom of a sock I've ever seen!

Beauty beauty!! The colors just pop as well, awesome choices all around.

That foot shaping looks neat. Can you feel it on your foot?

Absolutely gorgeous! Stranded color work and extensive shaping -- they're incredible!

I absolutely love the arch shaping! And the inside is so neat and tidy!


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.

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....

They are your "kids" you can like/love them both equally.

They both look wonderful and for different reasons.

My God. You're a wizard -- inside and out!

Absolutely delightful, especially as a pair. What whimsey.

WOW! I just don't have that much patience. Color me impressed!

socks as art. i'm proud of you

Yay! Socks! Beautiful!

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.

Fantastic! BTW, you DON'T have bulbous calves or ankles!

I disagree with Lissa--I think you should totally wear them out togehter in public... I would :-)

Simply stunning stockings! You are so gifted AND funny. Bulbous. Ha!

Bright. Very, very bright.


I will have to keep an eye out for a woman walking around Cambridge in these socks. Awesome.


What a cute couple they make! :)

BFF! :) Seriously, they complement each other beautifully.

So fun and awesome! I think this should make a pair as they compliment each other so well:)

Wow. Those are beyond amazing.

Outstanding work! Do you see me standing and giving you a standing ovation--you absolutely rock!

wow! Both stockings just look marvelous, perfect, absolutly gorgeous.
You are a master in knitting!

Herrschners has Classic Elite Classic Silk on sale - just for you I'm sure!

Pure inspiration. Thank you for sharing your incredible work!

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.

Really lovely colourwork - and so practical!

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.


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!!

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?

They are fabulous. Why pick a favorite? A mother never chooses between her twins. . .
That arch shaping is a thing of beauty.

The underside of the foot is my favorite part - so clever.

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.

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.

Totally mind-blowing!

The socks are stunning!

Absolutely amazing. One day I hope to half as talented as you. Thanks for letting me oogle :-)

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

very elegant foot wear! beautiful job.

The knitting, the details, the photographs--everything is just gorgeous!

Arch shaping!? Be still my heart! Gosh, I love socks ;) Beautiful work!

Those are really stunning. I'm inspired. :)

You are amazing! Is it hard to do the fair isle with socks? I am dying to try this but scared.

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!

I Love them, The blue is my favorite.

I've never seen such beautiful formed socks before!....

These socks are great! I've never seen socks beautiful formed!

What fab socks. I can knit most things but socks always elude me, so well done and love the colours.

Ab fab socks. Can't do socks well myself, but these are great.

Holy cow, you are completely amazing.

I LOVE those!! You might just inspire me to learn how to knit socks... Will be dreaming of these.

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