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About Those Monkey Mods

When I mentioned on Flickr that I tweaked the Monkey stitch pattern to fit my feet better, Maia Spins asked me whether I re-wrote it for toe-up. It’s not as much a re-write as me mashing up different patterns as I went along. Here’s what I did:


Cast on 12 sts on a circular needle using the Turkish Cast-On. Increased to 30 sts on instep and sole (60 sts total), and worked in stockinette until toes were covered (about 6 cm).

Stitch Pattern

I prefer the way the stitch pattern looks when done cuff-down, when the “branches” flow downwards. So, the first thing I did was to try to reverse the stitch pattern to have the same cuff-down look, only doing it toe-up. Didn’t work: it ended up looking like cat yak. The stitch pattern just didn’t have the same flow as Cookie’s original. But, judging by the comments on Wendy’s post on June 25, 2007, many, many people have tried it and failed. Sarah has a detailed, analytical post of why it can’t be done. The chart refuses to be reversible.

So, the stitch pattern can’t be reversed. I still had to tweak it, though, since I had 60 sts instead of the 64 in the original pattern. (On hindsight, the socks are slightly snug so I think I could’ve been just fine with the 4 additional stitches. Oh well.) I needed a 15-stitch repeat instead of 16 sts so what I did was take out 1 st on each of the “branches” and added a column of purl stitches in the purl triangles/wedges. The original stitch pattern is symmetrical so my mod is slightly off-kilter. It’s only by 1 st, though, so it’s hardly noticeable.

The chart was created with Jacquie’s Java KnitChart. Kara has created a symmetrical 12-stitch mini-Monkey chart and she didn’t reverse it either.


Instead of trying to do the heel backwards, I substituted for the Revisited Widdershins heel (which I looooove). Started gusset increases when the sock was about 7.5 cm (3") less than the length of my foot – that’s about 16 cm for me. Followed the chart numbers on the row for 30 sts and increased to 52 sts total. Then just placed markers, turned the heel, and did the heel flap per instructions.


I continued in the lace pattern on instep stitches. The stitch pattern was in mid-repeat after the heel so I did a few rows of stockinette on the heel/back stitches until I hit row 1 again in the pattern. After that, it was pretty straightforward. After 8 repeats in stitch pattern (that’s about 24 cm from the sole), I hit the point where my calves begin. Incresed 2 sts on the back needle on row 1 of the stitch pattern, then worked to the end of the repeat in a slightly wonky pattern. Then increased 2 sts again on row 1 of stitch pattern on back needle – now I had two 17-stitch repeats on the calf that were like the original stitch pattern plus that extra purl column. Worked to the end of that repeat so I had a total of 10 pattern repeats in the cuff. Based on the yarn I had left, I decided I’d better start the twisted rib. I got slightly more than the 1" of ribbing but that was OK. Finished with the Russian bind-off… and almost ran out of yarn on sock #2! The stretchy bind-off uses more yarn so I had to do a regular bind-off on a few stitches to be able to finish. A close call!

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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