It's time to reveal this October's mystery pattern, the Dune-themed Spice Must Flow socks. The fifth and final clue of the pattern was released today. If you haven't yet knitted it and want to avoid spoilers, don't read any further!
My philosophy for designing mystery patterns is that each clue has to be entertaining knitting, contain something new and unseen, but still the complete pattern needs to make sense as whole. To sum it up: the total is more than the sum of its parts. Easier said than done!
Being a toe-up pattern, Clue 1 of the Spice Must Flow socks obviously started with the toe. But I didn't want just a regular stockinette toe but instead experimented with a twisted-rib toe. To throw another curve ball, increases on the instep side are done in the middle of the toe rather than at each end of the needle. This creates a visually intriguing, angular shape. As a combination of the increase placement and twisted ribbing the toe is quite pointy and looks better with a slightly larger number of stitches cast on compared to a regular toe-up toe. (That's why there's two toe options in the pattern.)
Besides just loving twisted ribbing, I didn't have any thematic reason for using this type of toe in the pattern. But as a knitter pointed out during the MKAL, it's reminiscent of the stillsuit design in the 2021 Dune movie. A happy accident!
In the second clue of the sock we start the lace patterns that continue up the entire foot and onto the leg. Right and left socks are made as mirror images of each other by swapping the placement of the lace patterns.
The smaller, 3-stitch lace pattern is flanked by twisted stitches on both sides. In my head this lace pattern resembles a track of footprints, as if someone has trudged through the desert sands. But as avid Dune readers might recall, the Fremen would never walk in such a regular pattern…
The larger lace pattern represents the Dune itself, with flowing sands that are swept left and right with the desert winds. For my sample I used a regular pattern: 3 sweeps to the left and 3 sweeps to the right. But desert winds can be unpredictable. The pattern is written so that you can change the rhythm to your liking… or make it completely random!
With Clue 3 the focus moves to the back of the sock. After gusset increases (which are not terribly exciting) comes the heel flap. Have I told you love twisted ribbing? Just when you thought it's going to be just another twisted-rib heel flap, there's some lace in the mix. What's going on?
Clue 4 reveals the answer. On the back of the leg there's yet another lace pattern… but doesn't it look somehow familiar? Indeed it does! The lace pattern on the back of the leg has the same sweeping elements as the front of leg but here it is symmetrical and mirrored across the middle. A word of caution about this lace pattern, though. Because of the decreases placed on every round, it's not as stretchy as regular stockinette. It's a good idea to try the socks on after the heel and switch to a larger needle if necessary.
In the last clue, the lace patterns on both the front and the back gradually transform into twisted ribbing. What happens at the back of the leg is my favorite bit of the design, and – would you believe it! – it was another happy accident.
When I started designing the socks I had a vague notion of how they were going to look but the details were not yet very clear in my mind. The triangle-shaped designs on the top of the socks were the very first thing I charted. The pointy bits resemble stilltents, moisture-trapping tents the Fremen use to sleep in the desert when out of reach of a sietch.
Here's the happy accident part: when the triangle shapes are aligned with the lace on the back of the sock, they turn into the petals of a flower. It might not have been my intention but this was Imperial Planetologist Kynes' plan all along: to make the desert bloom again. Use a bit of imagination and you can also see the maw of a sandworm, come to devour an unlucky traveler caught on the surface.
The cuff of the socks is done with twisted ribbing (I know: again!) except on the front where the footstep-like lace continues all the way up to the last few rounds. The socks are bound off using a stretchy bind-off method. My personal favorite is the Russian (a.k.a. Elastic) bind-off but another great option for 1x1 twisted ribbing is Lori's Twisty Bind-off.
I hope you enjoyed your journey through the desert as much as I did when designing the Spice Must Flow mystery socks. The full pattern will be available in my pattern shops on Payhip, LoveCrafts, and Ravelry (seizure warning) from November 2 onward.
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