Thursday, March 01, 2018

Pattern Release: Palestra

This past holiday season, while we were away in a warmer climate getting lots of sunshine and extra rest, I got an urge to knit some quick socks. I'm sure you're thinking, "But Sarah, you always knit socks pretty quickly!" No, my friends, I mean really quick socks -- like a sock in a day, without spending the whole day knitting. You know what makes great quick socks? Sport weight yarn!

Back when my friend Lisa and I were deciding on colors for Xenolith, she sent me three skeins of her sport weight Traveler base to use as the main color for the two hats. There were two grays (a light and a dark) and a light blue. Obviously with only two hats, there was a skein that wasn't used, and I just knew I had to use it for some socks. Plain gray socks can be a bit dull, and there were some light blue leftovers from one of the hat samples, so, I thought, why not combine them? One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I had a pair of sporty shortie socks.

I'm calling this pattern Palestra, the Italian word for "gym" (and also, coincidentally, the name of the sports arena at my alma mater), mainly because these feel like the hand-knit equivalent of a sports sock. They're a basic ankle sock, but with a few twists. First, I've incorporated some short rows on the back of the ankle to create a little pull-on tab, much like the tab you might see in store-bought athletic socks. If short rows intimidate you, you can always omit them, but I'll throw it out there that short rows in garter stitch are really easy because you don't have to pick up the wraps -- they blend right in!

The second twist is a bit of colorwork -- and trust me, this is dead-easy colorwork. If you've never done it before or have only done a little, this is a great way to practice. At most, you're only ever carrying an unused color two stitches, which makes it ideal to practice keeping your tension even. An added bonus is that the section of colorwork around the middle of the foot ends up being nice and squishy from the extra fabric created by the floats.

It might look like there's more stranded work here than there actually is; two of the four sections with color are worked in horizontal stripes, so you're only using one color at a time! But using two colors certainly makes it a lot more fun to work and wear.

I've graded this pattern to five sizes, so you can make it for everyone from small children to adults with large feet. Most people will need one skein of yarn or less for the main color and just small amounts for the contrast color. If you've got some sport weight mini skeins lying around, this would be a great way to use them up!


  1. These are cute! Really cute!

  2. I love these so much, can't wait to cast on. I'm featuring the pattern in the March Hand Spinning News, I hope that's ok.