Butterfly Bows Anklets

Butterfly Bows Anklets  
By Judy Gibson, 1996

I am very pleased that this pattern was selected for the 1999 XRX book, Socks, Socks, Socks. It was substantially rewritten and improved by the editors for that book. This version is the original pattern.

These were designed for my 10-year-old niece Sheri, who says that socks with fold-over tops are for "little kids." These have stand-up cuffs at anklet length.

The fabric is knitted in the round, giving a series of 5-stitch ribs decorated by diagonal spirals of butterfly-like bows. It is very pretty in variegated fingering-weight cotton yarn. I used Kraemer "Cotton Socks" (75% cotton, 25% polyamide) on 1's (I think, or maybe 2's) at a gauge of 7.5 sts/in. Any sock-weight yarn can be used. The size will fit a large child's or small woman's foot.

Butterfly Bows Pattern Stitch

Multiple of 18 stitches, 24 row repeat (though you can stop at the end of row 8 or row 16 if you want).

To gather a bow: reaching the tip of the right needle under the four strands below, knit the next stitch. Adjust the tension of this stitch until the strands are pulled neatly up into a bow. On the first repeat of row 1, of course there is no bow to be gathered, and at the end of the patterned portion, do a round gathering the bows but do not do the slipped stitches.

Rounds 1: *p1, sl5 with yarn in front, p1, k5, p1, k2, gather bow, k2*
All even rounds (2 through 24): *p 1, k5* 3 around
Rounds 3, 5, & 7: *p1, sl5 wyif, p1, k5, p1, k5*
Round 9: *p1, k2, gather bow, k2, p1, sl5 wyif, p1, k5*
Rounds 11, 13, & 15: *p1, k5, p1, sl5 wyif, p1, k5*
Round 17: *p1, k5, p1, k2, gather bow, k2, p1, sl5 wyif*
Rounds 19, 21, & 23: *p1, k5, p1, k5, p1, sl5 wyif*

Sock Leg

Cast on 54 stitches, join into a circle and work in k1 p1 rib for 1".

Set-up round: work *k5 p1* around.

Work in pattern stitch as above until you have finished 5 sets of bows (ending on round 17 of pattern, the second time through).

Divide for heel. Arrange 27 stitches so that 3 columns to run down the center of the top of the foot, with 5 additional stitches on each side. The remaining 27 stitches will form the heel flap.

[From here on it is a standard sock, continuing the bow pattern on the three columns that run on the top of the foot to the toe.]

Heel Flap

Knit back-and-forth in stockinette stitch, slipping the first stitch of each row, until there are 14 chain stitches on each edge (28 rows), ending with a purl row.

Heel Turning (Round Heel)

K 16, ssk, k1, turn.
sl1, p6, p2tog, p1,turn.

Repeat the following two rows until all the stitches on the heel needle are used: k to one st before gap, ssk, turn.
p to one st before gap, p2tog, p1, turn.

Pick up one stitch for every chain along the side of the heel flap, knit across the instep stitches, continuing the 3 bow patterns and the purl along each side of them, pick up a stitch for every chain along the other side of the heel flap, and knit to the center of the sole of the foot.

Gusset Decreases

Decrease one stitch every other row each side of the instep stitches, until the total number of stitches is reduced to 54 again.


Knit evenly, maintaining the pattern on the top of the foot, until the foot is 1.5 inches shorter than the desired finished length. Finish the last bow, if needed.


Adjust the stitches on the needles so there are 17 stitches on the top and the bottom. Decrease 2 stiches each side of foot every other row until 30 stitches remain, then every row until 14 stitches remain. Graft the toe stitches together and tie off.

Note: For the second sock, you can make the butterflies spiral the other direction by knitting the pattern rows in this order: 1-8, 17-24, 9-16.


Copyright ©Judy Gibson, 1996. Permission is granted for personal noncommercial use, providing all copies carry this notice. No commercial use or publication of this pattern is permitted, in print or on the Internet, without explicit permission from the author. Contact: jgibson@cts.com

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Judy Gibson
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