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Lucy W. Carter's World War Sock Pattern

Contributed by Carole

Though my grandmother, Lucy W. Carter, knit for the military , through I believe, the Red Cross, through both World Wars...I do not know if this is her original pattern or if it was updated during the second World War. I do know from the following note that it was written before there were any antibiotics.

IMPORTANT - Never join yarn ends with a knot. A service man may have to wear a pair of socks several days before changing; a knot in the stocking may mean a blister on the foot and a broken blister may mean blood poisoning. Join yarn ends by thinning out both ends, lay the ends together and knit a few sts with the double strand. When joining at beginning of a row, leave an end at the start, and darn in end when work is finished.

She was supplied with Easy to Knit SULTANA (Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.) SERVICE AND RELIEF KNITTING YARN; the pattern is from Practical, Warm Hand Knits for Men in all Branches of the Service, Leaflet #116. This four page leaflet contains patterns for Helmet with Chest and Back Protector, V-Neck Pullover, Mittens, Sleeveless Sweater, Plain Socks, Wristlets, and Muffler.

Plain Socks

Medium Size

Gauge: 7 sts = 1 in., 10 rounds = 1 in.

(As you can see they were still sizing needles in the European style, as Canada still does, and they were using five needles instead of four. I heard them clicking for hours into night after night like a lullaby. I still have her needles. Use a size one or two depending on your gauge.)

Cuff: Cast on 64 sts, divide on 3 (of 4) needles, join and work ribbing of K2, p 2 for 4 ins.

Leg: K plain until leg measures 6 ins. from cuff. Next round k 1, k 2 tog, k to within 3 sts of end of round, slip, k and pass, k the last st of round. K 6 rounds even. Next round, k 1, k 2 tog, k to the last 3 sts of round, slip, k and pass, k the last st (60 sts). Work even until leg measure 8 ins. from cuff, ending at center of back (between the decreases).

Heel: K 15 sts. Slip 15 sts on each side of center back to 1 needle for heel, leave remaining 30 sts on the 2 instep needles. Turn, working from wrong side, slip first st as if to p, p across the heel needle; turn, slip first st as if to k, k to end of heel sts. Repeat these 2 rows until there are 24 rows from beginning of heel (12 slipped sts at each side edge). Begin to turn the heel on wrong side; slip first st, p 16, p 2 tog; turn, slip 1 k 4, slip, k and pass; turn, slip 1, p 5, p 2 tog; turn, slip 1, k 6, slip, k and pass; turn, slip 1, p 7, p 2 tog; turn, slip 1, k 8, slip, k and pass; turn. Continue in this way to work toward sides of heel, having 1 more st between decreases in every row, until 1 st is left at each side; in next 2 rows work this st together with the one just before it (16 sts on needle).

Gussets and Foot: Pick up and k 12 sts on side edge of heel; k across the 2 instep needles; pick up and k 12 sts on the other side edge of heel, k 8 of the heel sts to the same needle. There will be 20 sts on each of the 2 sole needles, and 30 sts across instep. K 1 round even. Counting from center of heel, k to within 3 sts of end of first needle, k 2 tog, k 1; k across instep; on last needle, k 1, slip, k and pass, k to end of needle. Repeat the last 2 rounds until 13 sts are left of each sole needle (56 sts in round). Work even until foot measures 7 1/2 ins. from tip of heel (k more, or less, for different sizes).

Toe: Place 14 sts on first needle (counting from the center of sole), 28 sts on 2nd needle and 14 sts on 3rd needle. K to within 3 sts of end of first needle, k 2 tog, k last st; on 2nd needle, k 1, slip, k and pass, k to the last 3 sts, k 2 tog, k the last st; on 3rd needle, k 1 slip, k and pass, k to end. K 1 round even. Repeat the last 2 rounds 5 times; then decrease in same way every round until 16 sts are left. K the next needle, break off. Weave the 8 sole sts together with the 8 upper sts and darn in end.

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