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Pattern Download

Step Up Socks, Top Down

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  • Digital Pattern (instant download)
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Pattern Details

In her Encyclopedia of Needlework (I use the English edition, published in 1886), Therese de Dillmont calls this heel the “heel in steps.” Her heel is beautiful, but can be hard to work out, from her instructions. I agree with her verdict: “A heel made like this is no more trouble than the former one (a square heel, what she calls the Usual heel); it fits closely to the foot and consequently wears better than any other shape.” I designed a version of her heel, which was knit from the top down, and reverse-engineered it to also be worked from the toe up. I have been knitting and wearing them since 2013. I don’t wear out a lot of my socks, but I do have to darn some of them, every once in awhile. None of the socks I have made with this heel have required darning. That’s the highest praise I can offer a sock heel! If this heel was first published over 130 years ago and I, myself, have been walking in it for over 3 years, why am I publishing it now? I guess I was waiting for the right name and inspiration to push me: The Step Up Heel. Donna Druchunas’s voice, especially, has been calling to me, since the election. When she asked if I had anything to contribute to her Knitting as a Political Act e-book, I was at a loss, at first. Then, I remembered this heel, tucked away in my knitting notes and sock drawer, and thought: “maybe this is the time for this heel pattern to emerge back into the light of day.” I’m self-publishing the Step Up Socks pattern, as quickly as I can. There will be two versions: toe up and top down. I’m publishing the toe up first, since, for me, political action comes from the ground up. Top down will follow, since we need that, too. We need it all. We need everyone. No matter how you feel about politics right now, I think we can all agree that we should be on our feet, stepping up to the challenges laid before us. I care about freedom, democracy, women’s rights, indigenous rights and LBGTQIA equality. I don’t have a lot to give, but I am doing this: I’ll donate 10% of my proceeds from selling these patterns to a charity that I think will have the most impact. I may chose a new one every month, or I may stick with the same one for a long time. Both patterns include stitch-by-stitch instructions for set sizes, very short instructions for if you want to use a customized stitch count, and tips for changing the colors and texture of your heel.

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Lara Neel Designs
Lara Neel Designs
I am a knitting, designing, math diva podcaster at I'm also the author of Sock Architecture, a book to inspire the most awesome socks you ever knit (or just make one of the 17 patterns in the book). My Etsy site, where you can buy signed copies of my book, is here: