Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks

I’ve always loved beach combing for sea glass. For years I searched on every beach that I visited and seldom found a piece of the elusive blue sea glass. Then after Bene came to live with us, we started visiting the tidal beach at Hazelbank. Bene loves the seaside. He loves to paddle and swim in the sea. He loves chasing his ball on the sand. He loves it on sunny days, overcast days, wet days, in hailstones, in snow. He just adores the beach. So walking on the beach has become a daily event every morning for us.

Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks

It was while we were walking on this beach that I spotted the first tiny piece of blue sea glass in amongst the pieces of mussel shell. It glinted in the light like a tiny sapphire gleaming in the sand.

Once I found the first I started finding other pieces of blue, then I’d find the aqua coloured old glass, then the first bit of red glass, yellow glass, orange glass, blush pink, but I’ve never ever found a proper purple. I have a little piece of pale mauve. I’m not sure if purple glass was made in the days when the council was using the old landfill site that is further down the lough from this beach. When the tide comes in this beach completely disappears. There are also fast moving surges of water when the fast ferries go past. I think this is what brings the sea glass in such a myriad of colours. This beach is always changing. Sometimes it has sand. Sometimes broken shells and sea glass. Other times it is covered in seaweed. We never know what it will be like until we arrive. We check the tide tables every day to make sure that we won’t miss our walk on our favourite beach.

Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks

The Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks are the second pair of socks that I was able to knit using the Opal Beachcombing 8732 Glass Stones and the skein of John Arbon Exmoor Sock Yarn Midnight. The other lovely pair of socks that I knit with this yarn combination is the Beachcombing Striped Socks. And I still have 36g of the Glass Stones and 12g of the Midnight leftover. Haven’t decided if I will knit fingerless mitts using this or use the Glass Stones yarn in my Mitred Square Blanket which is a great way of using up my leftover sock yarn.



  • 3.25 mm double pointed needle (dpn) for casting on
  • 2.75 mm (set of 5) dpns for knitting socks
  • tapestry needle for finishing


The tension for this sock is 20 rows and 16 stitches / 5cm (2 inch) square in stocking stitch (stockinette). 8 stitches / 2.5cm (1 inch).


double pointed needle(s) – dpn(s); stitch(es) – st(s); knit – k; purl – p; knit two stitches together – k2tog; slip slip knit – ssk;


  • Using MC cast on 68 sts using 3.25 mm dpn using the long tail cast on or a different stretchy cast on.
  • Join into the round as you knit the first round using 2.75 mm dpns, 17 sts on each needle.
  • Round 1: [k2 MC, k2 CC] repeat to end of round.
  • Round 2 to 14: [k2 MC, p2 CC] repeat to end of round.
  • Round 15: Using MC: k15, k2tog, k34, k2tog, k15 (66 stitches).
  • Knit 3 rounds using MC. Then work from the chart starting at round 1.

Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks


The 6 stitch pattern on this chart repeats 11 times around the leg of the sock creating a pretty zigzag fair isle pattern with the odd tweak thrown in to keep things interesting. The midnight blue squares are knit using the Exmoor Sock Midnight and the green squares are knit using the Beachcombing Sea Glass.

Fair Isle Beachcombing Sock Chart

Fair Isle Beachcombing Sock Chart

After finishing the fair isle chart continue knitting rounds using MC as follows:

  • Rounds 45 & 46: k
  • Round 47: [k9, k2tog] 6 times (60 stitches)
  • Rounds 48 to 50: k, then k15 stitches, turn.

Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks


Heel Flap

After finishing the leg you’ll be working the heel flap over half of the total number of stitches, working in rows rather than rounds.

As I didn’t want to lose the elegant swirl of the colours in the hand dyed yarn, I decided to knit the heel flap using the other end of the ball of yarn.

Using the ‘new’ yarn, knit across needle 4 and then knit across needle 1, then turn.

  • Row 1: k2, *sl 1, p1; rep from * to last 2 sts, k2
  • Row 2: k
  • Repeat rows 1 and 2 fourteen times more. A total of 30 rows.

Turn the Heel

  • Row 1: p17, p2tog, p1, turn.
  • Row 2: sl 1, k5, ssk, k1, turn.
  • Row 3: sl 1, p6 (1 stitch remains before the ‘gap’), p2tog (combines the stitch before the ‘gap’ and the stitch after the gap), p1, turn.
  • Row 4: sl 1, k7, ssk, k1, turn.
  • Row 5: sl 1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn.
  • Row 6: sl 1, k9, ssk, k1, turn.
  • Row 7: sl 1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn.
  • Row 8: sl 1, k11, ssk, k1, turn.
  • Row 9: sl 1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn.
  • Row 10: sl 1, k13, ssk, k1, turn.
  • Row 11: sl 1, p14, p2tog, p1, turn.
  • Row 12: knit 9 stitches. Then change to the original yarn to continue knitting the sock, knit to the last 3 stitches, ssk, k1.  (18 stitches)

Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks


Continue knitting, without turning, as you will now be knitting in rounds again.

  • Pick up and knit 16 stitches along the edge of the heel flap. (Needle 1)
  • Knit across the 30 instep stitches. (Needles 2 and 3)
  • Pick up and knit 16 stitches along the edge of the heel flap. Then knit across the first 9 stitches of the heel. (Needle 4)

This is the starting point for the following rounds.

Before you start the next round, slip the next 9 heel stitches onto needle 1. Needles 1 and 4 should have 25 stitches on each. Needles 2 and 3 should have 15 stitches on each.

Gusset Shaping

  • Round 1: Needle 1: k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1; Needles 2 and 3: k; Needle 4: k1, ssk, k to end of needle.
  • Round 2: K

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until there are 15 stitches on each needle.

Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks


  • Knit 41 rounds or the number of rounds that you need for your foot.

Please note that the Fair Isle Beachcombing Sock is a one size free pattern. The sock is easy to try on after the heel has been completed and while you are knitting the foot. The toe shaping is worked over a length of 6cm (2 3/8 inches) which will help you decide when to stop knitting rounds for the foot and still allow for some negative ease.

Classic Toe

  • Round 1: Needles 1 and 3: k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1; Needles 2 and 4: k1, ssk, k to end of needle.
  • Round 2: k
  • Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until there are 4 sts on each needle. (16 stitches).

Making sure that the toe stitches align with the heel, slip the stitches from needle 4 onto needle 1 and the stitches from needle 3 onto needle 2. 8 stitches on each needle.

Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks

Finishing the Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks

Weave in all loose ends. I washed and blocked these socks as I was going to photograph them.

The lovely sock yarns I used to knit the Fair Isle Beachcombing Socks are available in the Knitting Squirrel’s Yarn Shop. Have fun knitting your own colourful fair isle pair of socks.

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