Neat Ripple Socks – free pattern and tutorial
Ever since I made my Neat Ripple blanket, I’ve fancied a pair of socks to match. There’s something about those undulating stripes that make me feel calm – perhaps it’s because they remind me of the sea, or perhaps it’s because I think that stripy sock yarn would be just perfect to create something that would wrap my feet in the same stripes I can wrap myself in with my blanket.
There was something almost hypnotic about crocheting the blanket, creating those dips and hills, and I knew that knitting a sock in the same pattern would have the same wonderful effect. So I looked around at various patterns but didn’t see anything that really fitted the bill. Not the way that I’d imagined them in my head, and not the way I wanted them to fit my feet.
In the end, I decided to make my own Neat Ripple socks, basing it on the crochet stitch pattern that I used for the blanket and my basic sock pattern. You’ll be pleased to know that Lucy’s given her seal of approval to their name and here they are!
What do you think? Suitably ripply?
I just love the way the yarn creates sock waves, and they’re super-simple to make with no complicated pattern stitches to remember. I think self-striping sock yarn is my very favourite sort of sock yarn. Sometimes there’s a tiny picture on the ball band of how the stripes will turn out, and sometimes there’s no picture and it’s a surprise. Woolly surprises are a nice kind of surprise. Plus, I never have to worry about which colours to put together, or about ends to weave in or that I’m going to feel the join as the colours just blend together and come out of the ball as they were dyed. Magic!
I also love the way that the pattern turns into stripes across the bottom of the sock. You could continue the ripples if you wanted to, but I decided that might be too uncomfortable for my taste and wanted smooth stripes instead. When I was small, I was never a child who liked wearing those mittens strung through your coat on a length of wool so that you didn’t lose them – I could always feel the wool and it was always uncomfortable. My Mum used to say I was like the Princess and the Pea and I’d complain about things no one else would ever notice. It’s the same now with labels inside clothes. And very definitely the same with my socks.
And of course, being me, I have to have the stripes match exactly. I didn’t want one sock rippling out of time with the other. Oh no, that wouldn’t do at all!
So here’s today’s question. Would you like to make your own pair of Neat Ripple Socks? Would you like to wrap your toes up in waves to match your blanket, just like I wanted to? You would? How lovely! And handy that I’ve got a pattern just here … 😀
Now, before you get stuck in, just a quick word about needles and yarn. I used Regia Ombre yarn for these socks and found that a pair of size 5 socks used two balls with some left over. Unless your feet are particularly large, I would say that two balls would be fine, but if you have big feet or you want to go up a needle size, then I would recommend that you buy a third ball to make sure you don’t run out. You can always pull the ball apart to find the right section to continue your stripes.
I found that the best gauge for the pattern was on 2.75mm needles. I would usually use a 2.5mm needle but the pattern came out too tight, and knitting on a 3.0mm needle made the socks quite a lot bigger. This is useful to know if you have wide feet and usually need to cast on extra stitches – there are 70 stitches in the round for this sock which compared to the usual 60 stitches that I would cast on for socks makes them pretty big. The pattern pulls that in enough to make them fit comfortably, but if you need wider socks then try using a 3.0mm needle to relax the knitted fabric a little before attempting to add another block of pattern in – there are 10 stitches in a block so you can see that they would start to become very wide socks indeed!
I also chose to knit these socks on an 80cm circular using magic loop. “Hang on a minute,” I can hear to say, “I thought you didn’t like magic loop. What about that tiny circular needle you usually use?” A good question! I started off with my tiny circular and whilst it is possible to use it, I found it awkward and the stitches didn’t slide easily across it. I used DPNs for a while and they work fine, but decided to try magic loop to see if it was faster and I found that it was. No, magic loop still isn’t my favourite way to knit socks, but it worked very well for this pair! (If you need help with doing magic loop, try this video as a place to start.) I had to buy a new circular – I usually use Knitpro Nova interchangeable needles whenever I need a circular but Knitpro don’t make tips as small as 2.75mm so I bought this one made by Addi instead. All of my sock needles are made by Addi and I’ve been very happy with them – they’ve seen me through a lot of pairs of socks!
Finally, I want to show you how I made the stitches in the pattern. If you’re comfortable working kfb, ssk and k2tog stitches then you can just jump to the pattern below, but if you need a refresher, hopefully these photos will help!
I made the hills of the ripple using kfb. This is an increase stitch which you create by knitting into the front and the back of the same stitch. Like this …
1 Knit into the first stitch on the left hand needle, but don’t take the stitch off the needle.
2 Swing your right hand needle round to knit into the back of the same stitch and this time, take the stitch off the needle.
3 You now have two stitches created from the same stitch.
I created the dips by using two different decrease stitches – both lean in opposite directions so together, they make a nice flat decrease. The first is ssk. Create it like this ….
1 Slip the first stitch on the left hand needle knitwise onto the right hand needle.
2 Slip the second stitch on the left hand needle purlwise onto the right hand needle.
3 Slip both stitches back onto the left hand needle and knit through the back of both loops.
4 Slide both stitches off the needle.
For the second decrease of the hill, I used k2tog. For this stitch, all you do is knit the first two stitches on the left hand needle together and slide off the needle.
Right! I think we’re all ready to make a start on the sock!
Neat Ripple socks
(you can download a PDF of the pattern here)
These socks are constructed as top down socks with a gusset heel. The heel is knitted in heel stitch, which creates a durable, cushioned heel. This pattern will create a medium-sized sock.
I found that I got the best fit for my feet using 2.75mm needles; 2.5mm produced fabric too tight and 3.0mm produced a sock that was too big for me. I wouldn’t recommend using needles smaller than 2.75mm but if you have very wide feet, it is better to try a bigger needle size before altering the number of stitches.
1 x 80cm circular needle size 2.75mm* (these socks can also be knitted on DPNs if desired)
1 x 100g ball (or 2 x 50g balls) of 4ply sock yarn* – yarn pictured is Regia Ombre Stripe in shade 4482 (2021 update – now discontinued)
1 pair DPNs size 2.5mm (optional)
* This pattern was designed to create a UK size 5 sock with a foot circumference of 8″.If you have large feet or choose to go up a needle size to make a bigger sock, you may wish to purchase an extra ball of yarn to make sure that you don’t run out.
28 sts and 42 rows to 10cm on 2.75mm needles in stocking stitch.
Sl1 Slip stitch from left to right needle as if to knit.
Kfb Knit into the front and back of the stitch to make a new stitch
SSK Slip the first stitch on the left hand needle as if to knit, slip the second stitch on the left hand needle as if to purl, transfer them both back to the left hand needle and knit into the back of both stitches together
K2tog Knit the first two stitches on the left hand needle together as one stitch
* Repeat instructions inside asterisks
Cast on 70 stitches using 2.5mm double pointed needle (this is optional – personally, I prefer a tighter rib). If you want to use magic loop you will be able to cast on with the larger circular needle, but I would still recommend knitting the first two rows as if on straight needles to avoid any joining issues. If you use DPNs, you might find it easiest to cast on and work 2 rows before dividing the stitches across the needles.
Row 1: K1, P1, *K2, P2, K2* to last 2 sts, P1, K1, turn.
Row 2: P1, K1, *P2, K2, P2* to last 2 sts, K1, P1, turn.
At this point, change to the 2.75mm needle for magic loop or divide the stitches evenly across three or four DPNs according to preference and join into a circle, place marker. If you prefer, you can knit the whole of the rib on the smaller needles and change up for the pattern.
Work each round as follows: K1, P1, *K2, P2, K2* to last 2 sts, P1, K1
for 14 more rounds or until desired length of rib (I knit 16 rounds of rib).
Next round: knit
Round 1: *K2, Kfb, Kfb, K2, SSK, K2tog* repeat to end of round
Round 2: Knit
Round 1: K3, Kfb, Kfb, K2, SSK, K2tog, *K2, Kfb, Kfb, K2, SSK, K2tog* repeat to end of round
Round 2: Knit
You will find that you need to keep moving your marker to accommodate the K2tog at the end of the round. Continue to knit rounds 1 and 2 of main pattern until desired length before start of heel, ending with round 1.
Slip the last stitch knitted in pattern onto a new DPN and use this as your first knitted stitch of the heel flap – this will help you to keep the pattern correct across the top of the foot.
Row 1: K2, *Sl1, K1* until you have 34 stitches on your needle, turn
Row 2: Sl1, P to end, turn
Row 3: *Sl1, K1* to end, turn
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until heel measures approximately 2½ inches, finishing on row 3 (approx 27 rows) . If you want to make the heel flap longer, continuing knitting rows 2 and 3 until you reach the desired length, but remember that you will need to pick up more stitches to create the gusset. Note that 36 stitches are left in the pattern block across the top of the foot.
The handy thing about using the magic loop method is that you can keep all of your stitches on one needle whilst you’re creating the heel flap!
Row 1: Sl1, P18, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 2: Sl1, K5, SSK, K1, turn
Row 3: Sl1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 4: Sl1, K7, SSK, K1, turn
Continue in this way, increasing one stitch between slip stitch and SSK or P2tog on each row until all of the heel stitches are used.
Knit across heel stitches if required to bring you to the left hand side of the heel ready to pick up 15 stitches. Remember that if
you made the heel flap bigger, you will need to pick up more stitches. Once you have picked up the stitches, place marker. Knit across the top of the foot place marker (round 2 of pattern), then pick up 15 stitches (or more if required) up the other side of the heel. Knit across the top of the heel and then shape gusset as below. Again, with magic loop you keep all of your stitches on one needle.
Round 1: K to 3 sts before the marker, K2tog, K1, slip marker, K1, *Kfb, K2, SSK, K2tog, K2, Kfb*, slip marker, SSK, K to marker.
Round 2: Slip marker, K to next marker, slip marker, K to 3 sts before marker.
Round 3: K2tog, K1, slip marker, K1, *Kfb, K2, SSK, K2tog, K2, Kfb*, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to marker.
Continue in this way, repeating rounds 2 and 3 and decreasing by two stitches at the gusset on every other row until there are 70 stitches on the needle.
Once you have 70 stitches again, continue to knit each round until you reach approximately 4cm before the desired length ready to start the toes, remembering to keep in pattern across the top of the foot. It doesn’t matter if you finish on round 1 or 2. Don’t be afraid to try your sock on before decreasing for the toes!
You will remember that you have 36 sts across the top of the foot and 34 stitches for the heel (70 sts in total). To ensure that the toes are not baggy, I decrease the extra 2 stitches across the top of the foot in the first two rows of creating the toes as follows:
Round 1: K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1, place marker, K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1
Round 2: K1, SSK, K across all sts, K2tog, K1, slip marker, knit to end, slip marker.
Round 3: K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog,K1, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1
Round 4: Knit across all stitches, slipping markers as you come to them.
Repeat rounds 3 and 4 until you have 28 stitches left and divide these between two needles so that front and back of socks match.
Graft toes usingKitchener stitch. If you need a reminder of how to do this, there is a tutorial on my Basic Socks post.
You’re all done! Enjoy wearing your ripply socks and don’t forget to let me know how you got on! You can link your project in Ravelry here.
This pattern copyright © 2014 Winwick Mum
Not to be included in any collection or used for profit without written consent of Winwick Mum.
This sock pattern is free and will always remain so, but if you have enjoyed using them and would like to make a donation towards future projects, it will be gratefully received! You can find the donation button on the sidebar on the left hand side. Thank you! xx