I was delighted that PieceWork asked me to design a pair of socks based on the Kurdish socks Barb Sobkoviak purchased in a small shop in Northern Iraq—they are a wonder of design and workmanship. The beauty created in the midst of challenging living conditions is nothing short of spectacular.
Inspired by the rich stitch textures and bold color patterning on the toes, I experimented until I got results that look just like the genuine article. Well, almost. I did center the Fair Isle charted pattern and eliminated a couple of little quirks that made the original a bit off-center. I also regulated the number of stitches in the zigzag textured stitch pattern, as the original vacillated in number with no apparent reason or need. Then I centered the cuff rib pattern and picots between the side welts for a uniform appearance. Who knows if the Kurdish knitter was just learning how to navigate the intricacies of sock knitting, was simply distracted, or purposefully made a few of those anomalies? We can always wonder!
To make Vicki Square’s stunning adaptation of traditional Kurdish socks and read Barb Sobkoviak’s article, “The Kurdish Socks of Iraq,” download PieceWork March/April 2018, our 25th-Anniversary issue.
Vicki Square cross-trains her knitting passion with drawing, painting, and writing. Contributor to many knitting books and magazines, she is the author of The Knitter’s Companion (1996. Deluxe ed. with DVD, Loveland, Colorado: Interweave, 2010) and Light and Layered Knits (Loveland, Colorado: Interweave, 2013).
Published February 5, 2018; updated March 23, 2021.