Monday, February 22, 2010

Watch out for falling clothes!

Knee socks from Spinnerin Knit & Crochet, c. 1975

You might be wondering what could possibly be wrong with these socks. Other than the fact that they’re “designed to be worn with knickers”, and they’re long enough to swallow a small child. Your confusion is understandable because you don’t yet realize that the man in this photo is perched on the side of a mountain, pulling on said socks.

Yes, the sock model is getting dressed, and that means at some point he was undressed. In short, I believe he’s an enthusiast of naked mountain climbing, just like famed British explorer George Mallory (1886 – 1924)!

By the way, if you happen to be an admirer of Mr. Mallory’s considerable (and well rounded!) accomplishments, a print of this picture can be purchased from the Royal Geographical Society in London.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):



Knitting Worsted Weight yarn in natural color. Double pointed needles no. 5.

pattern stitch

Olives worked on 1 st. Row 1: Work 5 times into 1 st (K once, P once, K once, P once, K once). Rows 2, 4, 6 and 8: Purl. Rows 3, 5, 7 and 9: Knit. Row 10: P these 5 sts, yo, then pass the 5 sts over the yo.

Bobbles: Worked on 1 st. * Insert the right hand needle knitwise in 1 st, draw a loop, slip this loop on the left hand needle and K 1 st in this loop. Repeat from * (twice), always inserting needle in the same stitch, you thus have 3 sts on right hand needle, then drop the initial stitch from left hand needle. On next row: P these 3 sts, yo and pass the 3 sts over yo.

I know what you’re thinking. Surely, Mallory was just getting naked in order to cross a river without soaking his clothes. But then, how do you explain this photo?

Face it, Mallory was a mountain climbing nudist. And he’s not the only one!
With no. 5 double pointed needles, cast on 48 (52) sts evenly distributed, and work on 2/2 ribbing for 3’’. Continue in reverse stockinette st. On the 5th row, begin the motifs on each side of leg. At both sides of back of leg 27 (29) sts, work on 1 st alternating pattern as follows: * 1 olive, 4 rounds in reverse stockinette st, 1 bobble, 4 rounds in reverse stockinette st * (3 times).
All over the world, from New Zealand to Germany, men are joyfully flinging off their clothes and scaling boundless heights!

The Dangerous Book For Middle-Aged Men recommends naked mountain climbing as “dangerous fun at its best”. The author, David Quantick adds, “If the Yeti can do it, and Sherpas can almost do it, then surely you can, leaping from ledge to ledge and enjoying your freedom.”

Sadly, some people are determined to ruin everyone’s fun by outlawing this healthy, manly activity. Which is why the owner of these socks had to quickly pull on his knickers and socks. The fashion police were on their way!
At same time, on the 25th row, on center 5 sts at back of leg, work decreases as follows: P 2 together, P 1, P 2 together. Repeat these decreases, one above the other, every 10 rounds (3 more times). Continue in pattern as established on remaining 40 (44) sts and after the last 4 rounds in reverse stockinette st.
And after the last 4 rounds, what? I don’t think that last sentence is finished. Hmm, I must give this some deep thought.

After careful contemplation on the slopes of Mount Yarn Stash, I’ve decided that the period was just the end of “st.” and we’re meant to keep reading.
Shape heel:
I believe we’re also meant to ignore that capital “S”. In other words, “...after the last 4 rounds in reverse stockinette st, shape heel.”
Leave 20 (22) instep sts on two needles and work on remaining 20 (22) sts as follows: work in stockinette st (K 1 row, P 1 row) for 2 1/2 (2 3/4)’’, ending on a P row, then K 11 (12), K 2 sts together, turn: next row: slip 1 st, P 2, P 2 together, turn; next row: slip 1 st, K 3, K 2 tog, turn; slip 1 st, P 4, P 2 together, turn; continue in this way until all sts are worked on both sides, ending on a purl row. (12 sts remain) 20 (22) sts left on needles for instep, pick up and K 9 (11) sts along right side of heel, distribute these 50 (56) sts evenly on 3 needles and work in rounds, keeping instep 20 (22) sts in reverse stockinette st and sole sts in stockinette st and decreasing as follows: K 2 sts together, P 20 (22) sts for instep, SKPO (slip 1 st, K next st, pass slip st over), K 26 (30) sts. Repeat these decreases in same positions on every other round 5 more times 38 (44) sts remain. When foot measures 3 1/2 (4)’’ from heel, continue in stockinette st on all sts until foot measures 4 3/4 (5)’’ from heel or longer if desired.
And pay no attention to the inconsistent punctuation and run on sentences.

Conventional rules of grammar are nothing but chains to be thrown off. We will not be bound by convention! Or clothes! Or common sense!

Here’s our knicker-clad mountaineer making his getaway – on a pair of giant knitting needles! Just think, when he gets to the bottom of the slope he can quickly knit himself up a disguise.
Shape toe: Work decreases as follows: K 9 (12), K 2 together, K 6, SKPO. Continue to decrease thus, on every other round at both sides of the 6 sts at each side of foot 7 (8) times more. 6 (8) sts remain. Join together by weaving, the 3 (4) sts of top of foot with the 3 (4) sts of bottom of foot.
I’m still undecided on the relative merits of wearing knickers versus nudity while mountain climbing. And the situation gets more complicated when you consider that in the U.K. “knickers” doesn’t mean short pants, it’s actually another word for underwear.

Which means this mountainy man is also wearing knickers!

As well as socks, boots, some climbing equipment, and one very unhappy small dog.

Okay, I’ve made up my mind. Partial or whole nudity while mountaineering is wrong – for dogs. Someone get this poor puppy a coat!

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. what a lark! I've sent all my male mountaineering friends a link to your page.

  2. Lol! Wonderful, I hope they enjoyed it!