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Forest Sheep Socks


Sheep frolic past rows of evergreens on these worsted-weight, colorwork boot socks.

I hope you'll find these socks a festive addition to your gift-giving, and/or your own wardrobe the year round!

After the chart, the heel and feet are the same as the much-beloved Fisherman's Boot Socks. If you need more info on sizing, reading the chatter on that pattern will help you decide which size will best fit you.

Astute observers may notice that the numbers on the chart are upside down. Have you ever tried to chart a sheep while standing on your head? Phew! It was wicked hard, and difficult to drink coffee, which is an important part of pattern writing. I could only do it so long before I decided to just draw it while sitting upright and then flip it upside down - at peril of eliciting a shake of the head from my detail-oriented fans. 


Size 4 needles

Size 6 needles

Briggs and Little Tuffy - 2 contrast colors and 1-2 skeins of main color. Available in the US at

 Sizes: women's small (women's medium) (men's average) (men's large) The cuff is the same size for all sizes. If you need it larger or smaller, I recommend going up or down a needles size. 

With Main color and smaller (US 4)  needle, cast on 51 stitches. Work in knit 2, purl 1 rib for 16 rows.

Switch to size 6 needles. Knit one round in Main color, adding 3 stitches evenly (54 stitches).

Work chart.

Switch back to Main Color, and decrease 6 (5)(4)(4) stitches evenly. Knit for approximately 1 inch, or desired length

Begin Heel:

Starting at the beginning of the round (or however you want the sheep pattern to fall on the leg). Attach and begin working in contrast color (if using a contrast).

Row 1: *Knit 1, Slip 1* repeat between ** 8(9)(9)(10) times, knit 1. 19(21)(21)(23)  heel flap stitches. TURN your work, these 19(21)(21)(23) stitches will be worked flat as your heel flap.

Row 2: Purl on the wrong side.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 9 (10)(10)(11) times, ending with a wrong side row.


Dutch Heel Turn:

Row 1: Knit 12 (13)(13)(14) Slip 1, Knit 1, pass slipped stitch over. TURN work

Row 2: Slip 1 purlwise, purl 6, purl 2 together, TURN work*

Row 3: Slip 1 knitwise, knit 6, slip1, knit1, pass slipped stitch over, TURN work.

Continue in this manner until only the center stitches remain, ending with a right side row.

If using contrast color, switch to main color now.



                    Dutch Heel




Pick up 9(10)(10)(12) stitches along the side of the heel flap. Knit the stitches across the top of the foot.

Pick up 9(10)(10)(12) more stitches up the other side of the heel flap. Knit a few stitches from the first needle to make it more comfortable for knitting, as pictured.


Instep Decrease Row 1: Beginning on needle one (the right 'arm' of the triangle in the picture below), knit to the last three stitches on the needle, knit two together, knit 1. Knit the stitches across the top of the foot. Beginning on the third needle, knit 1, slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit to end.

Row 2: Knit


Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 42(45)(48)(52) stitches total. Work the foot even for 7(8)(9)(12, or more for larger feet) inches, measuring from the back of the heel when the sock is laid flat. 






Arrange stitches so that you have 21(23)(24)(26) across the top of the foot, and 10 and 11(11 and 12)(12)(13) on each side.

Row 1: Beginning with the first needle, knit to the last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1. On needle 2, knit 1, slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit to last three stitches on needle 2, knit 2 together, knit 1. On needle three, knit 1, slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over, knit to end.

Row 2: Knit

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 12 stitches left.


Thread yarn through the remaining stitches. Repeat for a second sock. Weave in ends, if desired block socks on sock blockers (say that three times fast), and be warm.

 This link will take you to a printer-friendly version.

  If you need help I'll make sure you get a copy of the pattern, just email me at 

The inspiration for these forest-browsing sheep comes of course from my own. Those of you who know me, know I work on my parents' sheep farm where I grew up. The sheep are sprinkled all over the county on both the mainland and islands. The reason for this is of course that, as the old folks always said, in Maine the field is but borrowed from the forest for a time. You must mow your fencelines and dooryard or the evergreens will start emerging from every side. Yes, Maine soil loves to grow trees! But grass is what we need for sheep, and so we capture every mouthful we can by rotating them around to find it. 

My home serves, as of now, as a sort of 'sick bay' where cossets, orphans, and those needing a little extra attention come and then are released back into the flock when they are strong again. When I have sheep here, they love browsing through the forest. You can tell where they've been, as they tidy up under the trees, giving them the feel of a Christmas tree farm. 








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