Arch-Villain Socks

Revised 16 August 2009: tightened fit in the gusset area; widened wedge heel base.
See also the original knit-along from Yarmando's blog.

This pattern creates a sock that hugs the arch of the foot.  There are many good sock patterns with this construction -- like Rebekkah Kerner's Francie and Marlowe Crawford's Basic Shaped Arch Sock -- but all of those use a cuff-down construction.  The Arch-Villain Sock is a toe-up adaptation.

WARNING:  Beta-release of pattern.  Proceed at your own risk.

This pattern has not yet been rigorously tested, and will certainly undergo some revisions.  If you would like to report problems or suggest corrections, please send an email to yarmando [at] gmail [dot] com.  Also send email if you would like to be notified of corrections or updates to this pattern.

Weapons

  • Desirable fingering-weight sock yarn.
  • U.S. size 1 ½ (2.5 mm) circular or double-pointed needles. Target gauge is 8 st/in.
  • Stitch markers; coil-less safety pin type is recommended.

Special Skills

  • Magic Loop.  Let me Google that for you.
  • Turkish Cast-On.
  • k-twist:  Slip next stitch knitwise onto the right needle, changing its mount. Slip the stitch back to the left needle purlwise; the front leg of the stitch now lies in back of the needle while the back leg of the stitch comes down the front of the needle. Knit the back leg like it's a normal stitch, which further twists it to the right.
  • M1L:  From the front, lift yarn running between sts with left needle, knit into back of lifted st.
  • M1R:  From the back, lift yarn running between sts with left needle, knit into front of lifted st.
  • SSP:  Slip 2 stitches knitwise. Move them back to the LH needle and purl them together through the back loop.

Knitting the Toe

Begin with your favorite toe-creation method.  Here is mine.  
  • Leaving a 12 inch tail, Turkish cast-on 7 loops; knit across the stitches on the "top" needle. (14 stitches total)
  • Knit one round with working yarn and tail held together, doubling the number of stitches.
  • Drop the tail, and knit one round, working one stitch in each loop. (28 stitches total)
Begin to think of the first 14 stitches as the sole (bottom) of the foot, and the other 14 stitches as the instep (top).
  • Knit 2, YO, knit until 2 stitches remain on the sole, YO, knit 2. Repeat for instep.
  • Knit round, working the first yarnover on each side through the back loop, and the second yarnover as k-twist.
Repeat these two rounds until there are 68 stitches total.

Knit plain for 1 inch.

Arch-Shaping

Knit 17 stitches, to the center of the sole.  Place markers or adjust your needles so that this is the beginning of your round, and the midpoint bisects the instep.  In this section, you will knit the right side of your sock, then knit the left.

Set-up
    Right side: k2, ssk, knit to 1 st before center top, place marker A, k1, M1L.
    Left side: M1R, knit 1, place marker B, knit to 4 sts before center bottom, k2tog, k2.
    Knit 1 round plain.
You'll now work alternating shaping and non-shaping rounds. Shaping rounds are like this:
    Right side: k2, ssk, work to marker A, k1, M1L, work to center top.
    Left side: work to 1 st before marker B, M1R, work to 4 sts before center bottom, k2tog, k2.
As you work alternating plain and shaping rounds, the markers will gradually move away from the center top of the instep and toward the sole.  

When your sock is about 4 inches long, measure the distance of 26 rows (or rounds).  It's probably between 2 - 2.5 inches.  This is your gusset length -- let's call it "Gus."  I recommend rounding "Gus" up a bit, which will help keep your sock from being too long.

Continue working until your sock is "Gus" inches shorter than the total length of the foot.

Gusset Increases

To increase for gussets, just stop decreasing near the bottom, like so:
    Right side: work to marker A, k1, M1L, work to center top.
    Left side: work to 1 st before marker B, M1R, work to center bottom.
    Knit 1 round plain.
Work increase and plain rounds 13 times, for a total of 94 sts in circumference.

Turning the Heel

You have two options for the heel:  a wedge-shaped heel (like those used by Fleegle and WendyKnits) or the square Andersson heel.  My take on both methods is below.

Fleegle/WendyKnits Option

Starting from the beginning of your round at the center sole:
  • Knit 3, K2tog, K1, turn.  Pull the yarn tight.
  • Slip 1 purlwise, purl 7, SSP, P1, turn.  Pull the yarn tight.
  • Turn. Slip 1, knit back to the gap, knit the stitches before and after the gap together. Knit 1.
  • Turn. Slip 1, purl back to the gap, SSP the stitches before and after the gap together. Purl 1.
Repeat these last two rows, knitting the heel flap upwards while consuming your gusset stitches.  You may find it convenient to adjust your stitches so that 34 instep stitches are on one side, out of the way, while you work back and forth on remaining heel/gusset stitches.

Finish when your K2tog leaves only one stitch remaining before the instep stitches (two stitches remain on the other side of the heel flap).
  • Knit the last stitch, then knit across instep.
  • Knit the first stitch after the instep, SSK, knit to the last two stitches of heel, K2tog.
  • Knit across the instep stitches.
  • Decrease the first two stitches on the heel side with SSK.

Andersson Option

Starting from the beginning of your round at the center sole:
  • Knit 16, SSK, turn. 
  • Slip 1, purl 32, p2tog, turn.
  • Slip 1, then knit to 1 st before the gap.  SSK, turn.
  • Slip 1, then purl to 1 st before the gap.  P2tog, turn.
Repeat these last two rows, knitting the heel flap upwards while consuming your gusset stitches.  You may find it convenient to adjust your stitches so that 34 instep stitches are on one side, out of the way, while you work back and forth on remaining heel/gusset stitches.

Finish when your SSK leaves only one stitch remaining before the instep stitches (two stitches remain on the other side of the heel flap).
  • Knit the last stitch, then knit across instep.
  • Knit the first stitch after the instep, k2tog, and resume knitting plain.

Cuff

Work the leg of your sock in whatever pattern strikes your fancy. A simple ribbing is always a good choice. The length is completely up to you.

Stretchy Bind-Off

Nothing ruins your work on a pair of socks like binding off too tightly. There are a few techniques you can use to make sure socks aren't too tight at the top: bind off with a larger needle, add yarn-over stitches to your binding, Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off, etc.

This one is easy, fast, and elastic. Work two stitches in pattern, then slide them both back over to the left needle and knit them together through the back loops. Work the next stitch, slide the two active stitches back to the left hand needle and knit them together through the back loop. Continue until finished.

Evil Geniuses gloat.

Break yarn, weave in the ends, and laugh your Evil Genius laugh as you ponder the masterpiece of your perfect sock creation.



Evil Geniuses credit their muses.

Yarmando licenses "Arch-Villain Socks" under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.  Feel free to use for non-commercial purposes, and if you adapt it, please give credit, especially to Marlowe, Fleegle, WendyKnits, and Knitman.