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Shell Lace Socks May 4, 2010

Filed under: Shell Lace Socks — nancyknit @ 12:01 am


Shell Lace Socks

Top down socks using shell lace pattern which is carried down the instep.

Difficulty: Medium

Size: Ladies Medium (I wear size 6½ shoe).  This yarn is stretchy and forgiving, so just make the foot longer to accommodate a larger foot.


  • 1 Ball Plymouth Bungee (95% Superwash Wool, 5% Elite Spandex, 403 yards per ball), Color 24 Teal
  • Size 4 Double Pointed Needles, set of 4 (or 5 if preferred)
  • Notions: tapestry needle, scissors


Gauge:  13 stitches = 2” (Row measurement is not vital. Just make the sock leg and foot to your size requirements.)

Pattern Notes: I’m a tight knitter, so if you know that you knit rather loosely, you’ll want to try these socks on smaller needles.

About Knitting Lace:  Make sure you have experience with knitting lace back and forth before you attempt to knit these lace socks in the round!  Also make sure you have experience knitting socks from the top down.

My Sock Philosophy:  Please read my blog post entitled “My Sock Philosophy” in which I explain why I knit socks the way I do.  Stitch Pattern:  Shell Lace Pattern  (This pattern is from Barbara Breiter’s Stitches, Eyelets and Lace but I converted it to be knit in the round.)  ALSO, when beginning each even row you need to “borrow” the last stitch of the odd row. That means that the Sl 1 stitch of the even row is really the last stitch of the row you just finished.



K – knit

P – purl

Sl 1 – slide 1 stitch

K2tog – knit two stitches together

psso – pass the slipped stitch over the stitches just completed

yo – yarn over

S2K – slide two stitches purlwise, leaving left needle in, then knit them together

Row 1 and all odd numbered rows: K

Row 2: Sl 1, K2tog, psso, K5, yo, K1, yo K2 (repeat 5x per round/row)

Row 4: Sl 1, K2tog, psso, K4, yo, K3, yo K1 (repeat 5x per round/row)

Row 6: Sl 1, K2tog, psso, K3, yo, K5, yo (repeat 5x per round/row)

Row 8: Sl 1, K2tog, psso, K2, yo, K1, yo, K5 (repeat 5x per round/row)

Row 10: Sl 1, K2tog, psso, K1, yo, K3, yo, K4 (repeat 5x per round/row

Row 12: Sl 1, K2tog, psso, yo, K5, yo, K3 (repeat 5x per round/row)


Cast on 54 stitches using your favorite stretchy cast-on method.  Work in k1, p1 ribbing for 1½”. 

Begin Shell Lace Pattern Row 1 increasing 1 stitch on this row (55 stitches).  Now start Row 2 of stitch pattern.  Continue in pattern until leg measures 9” (or desired leg length) ending with an even row (you’re ready for an odd or knit row).

BEGIN HEEL: K 14 stitches at the beginning of row, turn and P28 (slightly more than half of the leg stitches).  Work in stockinette stitch until the heel flap is square, ending with a K row (my square heel is 20 rows long). 

TURN HEEL: (I begin turning the heel right after purling half the heel stitches, resulting in a sharper turn for the heel…it seems to look more like a foot).  Purl across 15 stitches, P2tog, p1, leaving 10 stitches on left needle.  Turn work (you’ll be knitting now), Sl 1 stitch, K3, S2K, K1.  Turn work (you’ll be purling now), Sl 1, P4, P2tog, P1.  Turn work (to begin knitting), Sl 1, K5, S2K, K1.  Turn work (to begin purling…I think you’ve got it!), Sl 1 P6, P2tog, P1.  Turn work, Sl 1, K7, S2K, K1.  Turn work, Sl 1, P8, P2tog, P1.  Turn, Sl 1, K9, K2tog, K1.  Turn, Sl 1, P10, P2tog, P1. Turn, Sl 1, K11, S2K, K1.  Turn, Sl 1, P 12, P2tog, P1.  Turn (last time!), Sl 1, K 13, S2K, K1.  Sixteen Heel Stitches remain.

PICK UP STITCHES: Pick up 11 stitches from the right side of heel, work across 27 instep (top of foot) stitches keeping to pattern.  Then pick up 11 more stitches along left heel flap. 

Note on Dividing Stitches on Needles:  I divide stitches on my double pointed (set of 4—one working needle, three holding stitches) needles like this: I keep all instep (top of foot) stitches (50%) on one needle so I can see the pattern.  I put the eleven picked up stitches from the side of one heel flap onto a needle along with the nearest 8 stitches left from turning the heel (25% of stitches).  The other eleven stitches from the heel flap and last 8 stitches from turning heel go on the other needle (25% of stitches).

Note on “Keeping to Pattern”:  I used the “Sl 1, K2tog, psso” of the pattern to decrease insole (sometimes called “gusset”) stitches (the extra stitches you need to decrease from the side heel flap).  Because the “Sl 1, K2tog, psso” decreases 2 stitches, you can only do this when decreasing the insole stitches. 

DECREASE INSOLE OR GUSSET STITCHES:  Consider the middle of the heel as the beginning of the row.  Decrease Row 1: Knit until the pattern calls for doing the “Sl 1, K2tog, psso,” continue in pattern across instep.  Complete the last “Sl 1, K2tog, psso”, and knit to the end of round.  Decrease Row 2:  Knit.  Repeat these two rows until 55 stitches are left.  After the decreases are finished, you must use Sl 1, K1, psso at the beginning and ending of the instep stitches to maintain the proper number of instep stitches.  Continue foot until 1½” before desired length.

DECREASE FOR TOES: Knit one row, decreasing 1 stitch across row.

Decrease Row 1: Knit to three stitches before end of 1st needle, K2tog, K1.  On Needle 2 (holding instep stitches) K1, S2K, knit to three stitches before end of needle, K2tog, K1.  On Needle 3, K1, S2K, Knit to end of needle.

Decrease Row 2:  Knit

Repeat these two rows until 20 stitches are left.  Knit to end of 1st needle and combine stitches onto one needle with stitches on needle 3.  Cut a 10” yarn tail, line up needles, and graft remaining stitches using Kitchener Stitch.  (Check out youtube for a video on this…I think there are several.)

Please feel free to use this pattern for your personal use only.


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