Fairely Well Maid

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Historical Socks

I found this pattern in the last edition of PieceWork magazine.  It is based on a pair of stockings they found in 1951, in a bog in Gunnister, Scotland.  They have dated the material to the 17th century.

These are the actual stockings.  They were repaired (not well) in several places and the bottom of the foot was a separate piece, obviously the original foot wore out.

As the pattern was written for a man, the foot measurement had to be altered to fit my smaller foot.  I also had to alter the thigh and calf measurements to fit my, rather heavy, leg.  This was a fascinating project because it is a reproduction of an actual historical garment.  The original was in a wool yarn that would have been comparable to what we call sport weight.  I used a cotton ( 75%) and poly (25%) fingering weight.  I swatched it to find a needle size, because the pattern was written for a size 1.  I ended up using a size 3.

I'm thrilled with how it came out.  There is a clock pattern on the sides of the ankle, the back seam is 14 st wide starting with a garter stitch (p1, then next row k1), 3 knit stitches, another garter stitch, 4 knit stitches, a garter stitch, 3 knit stitches and ending with a garter stitch.  It makes the decreases very neat.

Here is the clock pattern.
This is the back seam.

The color is a dove brown, the top picture is closer to the real color.  I had a lot of fun with this pattern, even if I did have to graft the toes using the Kitchner Stitch :).


  1. Where did you find the pattern?

  2. Evy, the pattern is in the Jan/Feb issue of PieceWork magazine. http://www.interweavestore.com/Knitting/Magazines/PieceWork.html

  3. *knock-knock-knock* Is this thing on?

    I heard rumors of bodices. Enquiring minds want to see pictures!

  4. Oh, and extremely cool socks! (Looks up at comments.) I thought I'd already said that? Apparently not.

    Very neat to imagine the person who wore the originals!