Far Eastern Flair: Socks from Around the World

Far Eastern Flair from Around the World in Knitted Socks by Stephanie Van Der Linden  

I've been leading a sock club at my LYS for a little more than a year now. We started with a pair a month, but there were only a couple of clubbers that finished each month so we slowed down a bit to a pair every two months, which is much more manageable!

One of the things I love about Sock Club is looking for a pattern for each meeting. One of the things I don't love about Sock Club is that I burn out on sock knitting—and I have a huge stash of sock yarn that wants to become actual pairs of socks for me!

My favorite UPS gal might just have delivered me support for both my most and least favorite things about sock club: Around the World in Knitted Socks by Stephanie Van Der Linden.

This new book is so full of amazing designs that I think I can use it for the next year of sock club patterns! Wouldn't it be fun to have a sort of book club/sock club?

Plus, I think there are a couple of patterns in here that I can memorize quickly and use to make a serious dent in my sock stash. One of these is Far Eastern Flair, a sock design inspired by the Japanese art of Sashiko embroidery.

According to author Stephanie Van Der Linden, Sashiko embroidery emerged from the mending and embellishment of navy blue fishermen's clothing with white thread. Sashiko embroidery doesn't often appear in combination with knitting, but it is an especially pleasing traditional Japanese way to embellish a piece of knitting.

Far Eastern Flair is a such a neat pattern; it's comprised of a simple stockinette sock knit in solid navy yarn, and the "flair" is the beautiful Sashiko embroidery design you apply after the sock is finished.

Here's the embroidery pattern for you (click here to download the PDF template). Maybe you have some plain socks that need flair!

Stitching the pattern on the sock

Sashiko Embroidery Pattern

Cut two pieces of cardboard 4" x 12" (10 x 30.5 cm). At one of the narrow ends, cut a rounded toe shape and insert one into each of the two socks. This will prevent stitching through both layers of the sock.

Trace the Sashiko drawing onto two pieces of tissue or tracing paper (one for each sock). Attach one paper pattern to each sock with straight pins. Separate the strands of the embroidery floss (usually there are six strands) and work with 3 strands held together. With about a yard (meter) of embroidery floss threaded on a tapestry needle, embroider over the pattern on the tissue (see photo at right). Follow the lines as closely as possible with the tip of the needle. Join more embroidery floss as needed. When the motif is complete, remove the paper. Weave in loose ends.

I hope you'll make Far Eastern Flair socks (and reserve yourself a copy of Around the World in Knitted Socks)!


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