Sizing: For women’s small/medium, get tighter gauge. To make a women’s medium/large, get looser gauge.
Magic Loop: Vortical was knitted using the Magic Loop technique with one long circular needle. Magic Loop instructions can be found here.
Magic Loop substitutes for both circular knitting on short cables and double-pointed needles. Using circular needles that have at least a 32" cable or longer, cast on the desired number of stitches, divide them in half, and pull a length of cable out where they divide, sliding the yarn down to the tips of both needles. Hold the needles parallel to one another in front of you horizontally with working yarn on the needle in back. Pull out “back” needle, slipping the stitches onto the center of the cable (you now have two lengths of cable looping out in opposite directions). Bring the yarn around to the “front” needle and knit the first half of stitches with the working yarn. Turn needles to continue knitting with working yarn coming from “back” needle, making sure to pull out cable to maintain the two-loop configuration at all times. Work across both needles to complete each round. I recommend The Magic Loop by Bev Galeskas for more detailed instructions.
Biased Lace Pattern
Vortical socks are worked in two biased lace patterns that spiral in opposite directions when worn. Lace is worked on leg and instep stitches only.
Right Lace Stitch (right sock)
Rnd 1: *K1, yo, k2tog* Repeat from * to end
Rnd 2: K
Repeat Rnds 1 and 2.
Left Lace Stitch (left sock)
Rnd 1: *Ssk, yo, k1* Repeat from * to end
Rnd 2: K
Repeat Rnds 1 and 2
2 x2 Rib (worked in the round over a multiple of 4 sts)
Rnd 1: *K2, p2 * Repeat from * to end
Repeat for 2x2 rib.
These lace patterns are biased. They will create a slanted fabric that spirals around the leg and across the top of the foot when unstretched. Soon after completing the heel gusset, the instep stitches will begin to twist sharply, making a funny-looking point on one side of the sock as you approach the toe. Don’t worry. It’s supposed to look like this.
Grafting: Instructions for grafting can be found here
Leg (Be sure to switch to opposite lace pattern for second sock)
CO 60 sts and divide for Magic Loop – 30 sts on each needle. Join taking care not to twist.
Work cuff in 2x2 Rib for 1.5”.
Work leg in biased lace pattern for 4" for shorter sock, 6" for taller sock (be sure to switch to opposite lace pattern for second sock).
Heel is worked back and forth on N1.
Row 1: *Sl1 purlwise, k1* Repeat from * to end
Row 2: Sl1 purlwise, purl to end.
Repeat 2 rows on N1 until 30 rows are worked.
Row 1 (RS): K17, ssk, k1. Turn
Row 2: Sl1 purlwise, p5, p2tog, p1. Turn
Row 3: Sl1, k6, ssk, k1. Turn
Row 4: Sl1, p7, p2tog, p1. Turn
Row 5: Sl1, k8, ssk, k1. Turn
Row 6: Sl1, p9, p2tog, p1. Turn
Row 7: Sl1, k10, ssk, k1. Turn
Row 8: Sl1, p11, p2tog, p1. Turn
Row 9: Sl1, k12, ssk, k1. Turn
Row 10: Sl1, p13, p2tog, p1. Turn
Row 11: Sl1, k14, ssk, k1. Turn
Row 12: Sl1, p15, p2tog, p1. Turn
Work across 18 sts on N1.
Pick up 15 sts along the side of the heel + 1 st in corner (16 total sts).
Work across 30 sts on N2 in biased lace pattern.
Pick up 1 st in corner + 15 sts along other side of heel (16 total sts).
Work across heel sts and 16 side sts.
To return all of the heel sts to N1, simply pull Magic Loop cord out after counting across 30 instep sts, leaving only instep sts on N2.
Work across N2 in lace pattern.
Gusset Rnd 1 (Decrease Rnd)
N1: K1, ssk, work to 3sts before end of N1, k2tog, k1.
N2. Work across instep sts in lace pattern
Gusset Rnd 2
Work even across N1 (St st) and N2 (lace pattern).
Work Gusset Rnds 1 and 2 until 60 sts rem.
N1: sole of foot (St st)
N2: instep (biased lace pattern)
Continue working until foot measures 1.625" less than desired foot length, ending after N2.
N1: K1, ssk, work across to within 3 sts of end, k2tog, k1
N2: Repeat instructions for N1.
Rnd 2: Work across all sts even in St st.
Work these 2 rnds until 28 sts rem.
Work only Rnd 1 until 16 sts rem.
Graft 16 toe sts using Kitchener stitch (see Pattern Notes).
Make Second Sock
Be sure to use opposite biased lace pattern when knitting second sock.
Weave in ends. Block socks before wearing. Both yarns may be machine washed, but I recommend you hand wash with mild detergent and air dry.
Thanks to Anastasia Rynearson and Evelyn Rector for knitting the samples, and my mom, Beth Bess, for her pattern writing help.