Lorilee Beltman on Designing Our Paths Cross Sock Pattern

Where did we find those fancy feet?

The cover of the Spring 2012 Sockupied features a delightful sock pattern by designer Lorilee Beltman. When we received the submissions for the issue, we found a sample that was so thoughtfully prepared that we could envision the socks instantly. The yarns for the vertical stranding technique were in place, and the bands that travel over the instep and up the ankle were sketched in place. 

We asked Lorilee to share a bit about her inspiration for this delightful pattern.

Lorilee's Design in Her Own Words

When Anne asked me to talk a little about how I developed the vertical stranding technique and what made me think it was a good idea, I knew I had to start with a little history. See, it's not my idea, it's my simpler take on a long-established idea. Here is how I came to hang out on the vertical stranding playground.


Having read Finnish knitter Lene Alve's Dances with Wool blog since 2006, it was with piqued interest that I read a post about the mittens of Rovaniemi by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee—the Yarn Harlot—in early 2007. Stephanie had taken a class with Susanna Hansson on these special mittens, something Lene had shared with her. I put yarn on needles right away to try this knitting with its elements of weaving.


Our Paths Cross, as proposed, was planned to the smallest detail.

A year later, PieceWork magazine ran a lengthy article about the technique, including a nice mix of history and tutorial along with a Rovaniemi mitten pattern.

The yarn management in Rovaniemi is appealing, but I didn't enjoythe action required to make motifs two stitches wide. I found if I stuck to a single stitch from a single strand, I was content and could maneuver better. When I experimented with non-traditional motifs, I had even more fun.

My method is less like painting than like line drawing, but I am very happy with it. The doing is so much fun. 

The vertical stranding technique is inspired by Rovaniemi mittens.

The design in this issue of Sockupied is an all-stockinette design accented with eye of partridge patterning on the heel. The charts may be daunting until you realize the movement of each strand one stitch per round trumps other actions in the pattern. Once you have worked the first row of the chart (count twice!), you won't need to study it again until the strands cross, where remembering the rules can be challenging. These socks benefit from adding color without restricting the stretch of the fabric. 

Are there more possibilities? Oh, yes. I have more ideas I hope to share, and With generous access to the rich hand-dyed yarns by fellow Michigander Sarah Dimond of The Plucky Knitter, I plan to stay on this playground a while.

It may look complex, but this pattern is easy to follow. You may not need the charts very often!

Bonus: Video Demonstration

Lorilee made four terrific video tutorials of the vertical stranding technique to accompany her pattern in the issue. Because of limits on download size, we could only show three of them in the issue. She's generously allowed me to share her video tutorial on managing the strands in the Our Paths Cross Socks with blog readers. Enjoy!

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