« Socks In the Air | Main | Toe-less Ankle Sock: Sideways »

May 17, 2007

Sideways Socks

Sometimes the design is not quite right -- missing the proverbial mark.  It's not the pattern, which has a neat concept, uses a yarn in a creative way, and is well written.  It's not the knitter, who -- yes me -- was on gauge, followed directions, and enjoyed the process of the knitting.  Really, neither the pattern nor knitter has a chance of succeeding when the underlying design comes up short.  This long preamble, patient reader, brings us to my Sideways Sock.

For this sock I used the Sideways Socks pattern from Lana Grossa's Meilenweit Sock Yarn Pattern Booklet #3 and Opal Cotton sock yarn.  It's close -- so close -- to being a really neat design, especially for a self-striping yarn.  So close in fact that I want to challenge myself.  Can I tweak the design to create a Sideways Sock that does work, that is a good design?  The first step is to put my thinking cap on and take a critical look at the sock...

  • Since the sock is knit sideways, the stitch gauge controls the length of the sock and the row gauge controls the width.
  • The length of the sock's foot is 9.25 inches, which is a reasonable length for my foot.  Yet the sock is way too long.  Why?  Because knit fabric stretches more between stitches than it does between rows, the foot of the sock naturally stretches up to 11".  This means the foot of the sock must be knit shorter -- perhaps even 1.5 inches shorter -- than the actual foot.  Negative ease friends, negative ease.

  • The garter stitch cuff is nice and stretchy, acting a bit like ribbing.  However, if the cuff is not folded down it is too tight for the calf.  The use of garter stitch is clever though since its row gauge is larger than stockinette stitch's row gauge.

  • There is also too much fabric around the ankle.  Perhaps a bit of strategically place garter stitch could help shape the ankle.

  • Finally, the design was only done for one size -- an adult large -- with no guidance on shortening or lengthening the foot.  So a little more flexibility and choice is in order.

Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I next went in search for other Sideways Socks Patterns.  Here's what I found:

  • Sideway Knitting Sock -- the English translation for the sideways sock pattern printed on the inside of Opal sock yarn labels.  This is basically the same pattern I was using with a few minor variations.
  • Bakerloo -- A sideway sock pattern published on MagKnits
  • Sideways Socks Supreme from Socks, Socks, Socks.  The designer, Liz, has posted an alternative toe on her web site.

I was most intrigued by the construction of the Bakerloo sock, which adds the toe and heel after the sock tube is constructed.  I think I'm going to use this pattern as my starting point and modify it based on my observations and lessons learned.  Stay tuned.

Hey, has anyone knit a sideways sock that fit well?  If so, what pattern did you use and what modifications, if any, did you make?

May 17, 2007 in Project - Socks | Permalink


I knitted up the Sideways Socks Supreme, and they fit really well. I think the key was the alternating strips of two rows stockinette, then two rows of seed stitch. That acted a bit like ribbing so the fit widthwise worked out. I used the alternate toe which is much, much better than the original. I also knit the bottom of the foot all in stockinette for comfort.

More details here: http://vastamount.blogspot.com/search?q=sideways+sock

Posted by: Kathy | May 17, 2007 8:32:03 PM

I'm curious to see your results. I actually have all those same links because when I was researching sock patterns to tackle for my first sock, vertical stripes seemed like a much more attractive idea for my ankles than horizontal stripes you inevitably get with most socks patterns I've seen. I've been toying with playing with my own pattern as well, but it's probably best if I at least get this second sock I'm working on under my belt. I think it'll be more fun To watch someone who actually knows what she's doing. ;)

Posted by: phoenix | May 17, 2007 9:04:37 PM

I'm interested in this also -- I have some striping yarns I don't like the look of in horizontal stripes. Am I just kidding myself that they would look better vertically? I won't know until I try, will I?

Posted by: AuntieAnn | May 17, 2007 10:21:52 PM

I shall be checking back with you on this idea. Have been toying with it, but concerned about the excess ankle fabric to allow it to pull on over a high instep.

Posted by: Angeluna | May 17, 2007 10:25:56 PM

Hmmm... Never tried any of these so I have no real comments to make, except yay! you finished it! and I hope your next one works out better.

Posted by: Liz | May 17, 2007 10:36:18 PM

I haven't knit it, but Debbie New has a sideways sock pattern in her book Unexpected Knitting, published by Schoolhouse Press. Not available online that I know of.

Posted by: Deborah (a.k.a. Mt. Mom) | May 18, 2007 12:13:09 AM

I will be interested in what you learn too. I would like to try a sideways sock at some point.

Posted by: Maia | May 18, 2007 2:01:19 AM

I think those Debbie New socks are called the Better Mousetrap socks - they're in a back issue of IK (Fall 01) and have been on my list for quite awhile - I can feel them circulating to the top out of curiosity!

Posted by: Donna | May 18, 2007 7:31:24 AM

Knitpicks has a pattern for a sideways sock on their website. I don't know if it's free, and it is knit out of one of their more hideous, not cuddly or soft self-striping sock yarn colorways. But it's another pattern to take a gander at.

Posted by: kelly | May 18, 2007 7:42:03 AM

I just saw these on an Opal Label and was intrigued by their unique look.

Posted by: Sonya | May 18, 2007 7:46:13 AM

Bless you Nona.

You make Knitting look hard. You are what the non-knitters are so impressed by and automatically lump lazy non-mathical-type knitters (aka me) in with you.

Bless you and god speed on figuring that out. I'm going back to watching Timon and Pumba on Disney. :)

Posted by: Lynn | May 18, 2007 10:13:58 AM

I'm doing the Opal one for my husband and found quite a few errors in it. I hadn't thought about negative ease though. I'm not terribly concerned about it for him, as he's 6'3" and wears a size 13, so I was having trouble making them big enough.

Posted by: Hollis | May 18, 2007 2:25:14 PM

I've been intrigued, but never actually attempted it. But your link to the Bakerloo socks might just change that, I NEED that piano socks.

Posted by: yuvee | May 18, 2007 2:46:04 PM

I'm so glad to hear you mention negative ease. So many sock patterns are written without negative ease, and then socks feel sloppy on.

And I have to disagree with Lynn -- you don't make knitting look hard. You make it look like great fun.

Posted by: AuntieAnn | May 18, 2007 3:19:25 PM

i did a modified sideways sox supreme http://www.savannahchik.com/2007/04/i_did_it_1.htm. i did it at a smaller gauge and only in st st since i didn't want a lot of patterning with my yarn.

like you, i would make my next pair shorter in the foot. one really nice thing about the pattern is the use of short rows to shape the foot, ankle and calf area. made a big difference since you're losing the width-wise stretch of a traditional sock.

i'd also use a more vertically stretchy stitch pattern to try and keep them up on my calf better. they slouch down pretty quickly. or, i'd pickup and knit some ribbing around the calf after i'm done.

Posted by: jody | May 19, 2007 3:49:52 AM

no, but...
Debbie New featured one in her book Unexpected knitting,(and addressed some of the issue you had--Unexpected knitting doesn't have a pattern (cast on X work in pattern (what ever) for so many rows, so much as it has an outline and some thoughts about the design,--including features and flaws.

Ms. New thought these socks as best for bed socks.. but then, her's were 100% garter stitch.

Posted by: helen (of troy) | May 19, 2007 9:51:55 AM

Sideways socks are cool. I would like to try to make a pair. However, all of the links for the patterns don't work. Do you know where I could find a pattern on the internet now?

Posted by: Missy | May 21, 2008 10:05:50 AM

You can find the Bakerloo pattern on Ravelry as a PDF download now: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bakerloo-a-sideways-sock

Posted by: -Yarnsanity- | May 4, 2010 7:45:12 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

All patterns, designs, content, and photographs Copyright 2004-2010 nonaKnits and Carolyn Quill Steele. All rights reserved. If you have any copyright questions or request, please ask -- nonaKnits at gmail dot com.