Two Pairs of Turkish Socks to Knit

Traditional Turkish socks are a challenging and rewarding project for seasoned knitters. The oddly shaped but well-fitting foot is begun at the toe, with the heel worked after the rest of the sock is complete. The Ram’s Horn socks are authentically patterned and have the same interesting shape but are worked from top to toe in a manner more familiar to Western knitters. This construction has one advantage when working a continuous vertical pattern: the stitches that must be picked up for the heel are on the sole of the foot; therefore, any imperfection in the pattern is less visible.

Anna Zilboorg’s traditional Turkish socks worked from the toe up (left) and Ram’s Horn socks (right). The Ram’s Horn socks are authentically patterned and traditionally shaped but are worked in a manner more familiar to Western knitters. Photo by Joe Coca.


Yarn: Harrisville Designs New England Shetland, 100% wool yarn, 217 yards (198.4 m)/50 g (1.8 oz) skein, l skein each of #2 Red, #4 Gold, #8 Hemlock, #18 Aubergine, and #21 Violet for traditional version; 1 skein each of #2 Red, #4 Gold, #8 Hemlock, and #21 Violet for Ram’s Horn version
Needles: set of 5 8-inch (20-cm) double pointed, size 4 (3.5 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge, and 11½-inch (29-cm) circular (optional)
Tapestry needle

Finished size: About 9½ inches (24 cm) (Traditional) and 9¼ inches (23 cm) (Ram’s Horn) long, about 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter around the leg and stretch comfortably to fit a 14-inch (35.6-cm) calf
Gauge: 6½ sts = 1 inch (2.5 cm); 6½ rnds = 1 inch (2.5 cm)

—Anna Zilboorg

Master knitter Anna Zilboorg, formerly a professor of Slavic literature at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the author of Fancy Feet: Traditional Knitting Patterns of Turkey (affiliate link).

To knit Anna Zilboorg’s Traditional or Ram’s Horn Turkish socks, download a copy of Knitting Traditions 2010, a special publication from PieceWork. For more on Turkish socks, read our blog post, “Knit This Ingenious Heel from a Pair of Turkish Socks,” which contains an excerpt from the January/February 2018 issue of PieceWork—an issue devoted to socks and stockings.

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