- This pattern is currently only available as part of A Stitch in Time Volume 3, the colourwork edition which can be ordered by following the link above
Tift is a fabulously practical sock pattern, featuring an all-over colourwork pattern, created with a slip stitch pattern which never uses more than one colour in any one row. It is a great introduction to knitting socks in the round and simple colourwork knitting.
The original of this practical and incredible useful sock pattern can be found in a 1940s Stitchcraft compendium as part of a 'Country Outfit'. The sock pattern itself is annoyingly difficult to find, with just a small heading on an unrelated page referring you to where the instructions can be found. The sock uses a particularly pleasing slip stitch pattern which moves the sock along at speed and is very relaxing to knit.
The original pattern however is single sized and like many sock patterns of this period published in Britain, it is constructed in a very nonintuitive way - the sock commences with the ribbed cuff and is knitted flat, back and forth. The leg pattern which uses the charming slip stitch pattern continues to be knitted flat, back and forth, creating an opening at the back of the sock. The heel is worked across the opening; then the foot is split so the instep and sole are both worked flat and separately. Finally the work is split over three needles and worked in the round to form the toe which is then grafted together. A centre back seam has to be sewn up and then the instep is sew to the sole along each side of the foot. So many socks of this period are constructed in this laborious way, and I made the decision to update the construction in order to still be able to enjoy the fabulous colourwork pattern of these socks.
Our new version is knitted downwards in the round commencing with the cuff. The leg is then knitted in the round with simple charted instructions added for the slip stitch pattern. Only one colour is worked at any one time so no stranded colourwork skills are required for this one. The colour of the slipped stitches is determined by the colour of the previous rounds. A contrast heel is then worked before the foot continues in the round with stripes worked across the sole in alignment with the slip stitch patterning. Finally, a contrast toe is worked in the round and the stitches grafted together. Both the leg and foot length of the socks are easily adjustable, and several sizes are now provided in the pattern.
Tift is knitted in a very special yarn Susan Crawford LOCK, spun using the fleece from our own flock of rare breed Lonk sheep. LOCK is worsted spun with a high twist to create a great sock yarn. Tift uses the shades Knole and Le Ferre but would look great in a huge number of colour combinations.
The Tift includes 5 sizes plus clear instructions on how to adjust foot length. Our model is shown wearing the 3rd size sock on a UK size 7 foot. The pattern includes written and charted instructions as well as a helpful schematic drawing.
Susan Crawford Lock,
75% pure British Lonk, 25% Nylon, fingering weight sock yarn
(95m / 103yds per 25g approx)
2 (2, 2, 2, 3) 25g skeins, shade Knole
2 (2, 2, 2, 3) 25g skeins, shade Le Ferre
34 sts and 40 rounds = 10cm (4in) over slipped stitch colourwork worked in the round, after blocking. We obtained this gauge using 2.25mm needles.
If necessary use an alternative needle size to obtain the correct gauge.
Set of 2.25mm (US 1) DPNs, or circular needle if preferred
- Following a chart
Working in the round
Heel Shaping and Gusset