Gansey Style Accessories: Mallaig Socks

Mallaig is a fishing town in the western Highlands of Scotland on Loch Hourn. The small town grew with increased fishing in the 1800s, and the herring girls came to pack the fish there. However, by 1901, Mallaig’s economy was impacted by the railway (the “fish train”) causing fishing to decline.

The motifs adorning the Mallaig Socks from Beth Brown Reinsel’s Gansey Style Accessories are some of the very same documented on ganseys from this region. The socks shown are knitted using the channel Island cast-on, but can be made using a long tail cast-on instead if you prefer a less feminine looking design. Knit your own pair of Mallaig Socks in a heavier DK weigh yarn for a rugged boot sock, perfect for hiking.

Image courtesy of David Baum

Pattern Details

Finished Size
Woman’s Medium (Woman’s Large/Man’s Small, Man’s Large).
Foot circumference: 7½ (8¾, 9¾)” (19 [22, 25] cm).
Leg length: 10½ (10¾, 11½)” (26.5 [27.5, 29] cm).
Sample shown measures 7½” (19 cm) foot circumference.

#3 DK weight: 292 (399, 480) yds (267 [365, 439] m).
Shown here: Hazel Knits Lively DK (90% superwash merino, 10% nylon; 275 yds [251m]/4.6 oz. [130 g]): Chocoberry, 2 skeins.

Size US 4 (3.5 mm): set of 4 double-pointed (dpn).
Adjust needle size if necessary to achieve the correct gauge.

Stitch markers (m); tapestry needle.


24 sts and 32 rnds = 4″ (10 cm) in St st.
27 sts and 32 rnds = 4” (10 cm) in Motif Chart patt.

All photos by David Baum.

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