Dorsal Socks


Published in The Handmade Sock Society 2


Gazing out over the surface of the ocean, it’s difficult to fathom just how much life teems beneath. It’s a whole other world down there in the depths, one we usually only ever see when there’s a nature documentary on the television, or if we’re one of the few brave and fortunate souls who are able to strap on a scuba tank and descend beneath the waves.

Otherwise, catching a glimpse of the incredible creatures who make the sea their home requires a bit of luck and a whole lot of patience. Perhaps today will be the day. Armed with your trusty binoculars (and a flask of hot tea to keep away the chill of the wind) you scan the waves. Suddenly, almost an hour and a stiff neck later, there it is, rising out of the water: a triangular dorsal fin. That first sighting brings the thrill of uncertainty. It’s an exciting vision, but also faintly menacing. Is that a dolphin or a shark you see? Or maybe something else that you never expected?

Cornwall is home to one of the most diverse populations of marine life in all of Britain, so that tell-tale fin could belong to almost anyone. England’s only pod of bottlenose dolphins lives here, and large whale sightings happen all year round. Then there are the sharks, who patrol the deeper waters, with fearsome reputations.

All of these fascinating creatures have a role to play in this ecosystem, and their presence is only possible because of strict Marine Conservation Zones in the estuaries and around the coast. These carefully protected areas give them the room they need to breathe and live and flourish. There are lessons for us here about our own creative life. Waiting for that creative spark to surface can feel a lot like watching for that tell-tale dorsal fin. You have to look keenly and wait faithfully. You have to be open to uncertainty: when it does arise at last, it can be frightening. But most of all, your time and space must be carefully protected and guarded so that your creative power can grow.

The Dorsal Socks are our final pattern in this second season of the Handmade Sock Society. True to their name, they boast an unusual feature panel up the back (the dorsal!) side of the sock. They have a twisted rib cuff, heel flap and gusset, and a wedge toe, but are easily adapted to your favourite finishes. Three sizes make it easy to find a comfy fit.

Small (Medium, Large)
Finished measurements: To fit approx. foot circumference of 7 (8, 9)” /17.5 (20.5, 22.5) cm.

Sample 1:
Seren Yarn Fingering 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon; 100g = 400m/438yds
1 x 100g skein

Colour: Sea Side Dreaming

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Medium Size sample used approximately 75g, 274m/300yds of fingering weight sock yarn

2.25mm (US 1), 100cm (40”) long circular needles (or size to obtain gauge) for magic loop method or DPNs if preferred

Tapestry needle
3 stitch markers
Cable needle (optional)

32 sts/46 rounds = 10 cm (4”) in stockinette stitch

Additional information

Suggested Yarn

Yarn Weight


Needle size


Size available




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