Introducing... Carved Stone Ball Socks, a new pattern by Sarah Foxley. I won't mess about - you can find the (FREE) pattern HERE on Ravelry. I asked Sarah about the inspiration behind the pattern, which features a textured stitch pattern, lovely comfy-looking heel-flap heels, and a star toe. The pattern is intrinsically linked to her job as an archaeologist and a visit to the Orkneys, so I will let her tell you about it. "I have been knitting for about six years after being encouraged to take it up during a difficult period in my life. My absolute favourite thing to knit is socks so perhaps its no surprise that my very first pattern would be for a pair of socks! I've even had people ask at conferences to see what socks I'm wearing! All four photos are copyright: SFoxleyDesigns (much appreciated!) I'm an archaeologist by trade and this has had quite the influence on my designs. I've always been intrigued by shapes and patterns on objects, particularly ceramic pots. It hasn't been until recently that this admiration took shape as knitting patterns. In 2013 I married my amazing husband Sebastian - our first Christmas together he insisted I packed my knitting before anything else, whats no to love? He desperately wanted to show me Orkney for our honeymoon so we spent a glorious two weeks exploring many of the archaeological sites on the mainland. The most famous is the prehistoric settlement of Skara Brae, seemingly cut into the earth to shelter inhabitants from the wind. A rich variety of objects have been excavated from the site but perhaps the most mysterious are the carved stone balls. Similar balls have been found across Scotland but no one seems to know what they were for. It is these strange carvings that have inspired my very first sock design - Carved Stone Balls. The actual balls are at the National Museum of Scotland (replicas are at the Skara Brae visitor centre). http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record.php?usi=000-100-040-503-C http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/record.php?usi=000-100-040-497-C Carved stone ball socks are knit from the top down, the stretchy stitch pattern, plus the option to knit the leg and foot to any length means that they will fit most women’s feet. The ribbed heel flap gives the sock more grip around your heel. The pattern is written for one size only - to fit an average women’s foot of 7 – 9” / 17.5 – 23cm. Milburn 4ply was a wonderful choice of yarn as its slight sheen reminded me of the sheen of the carved stone balls. The yarn also afforded great stitch definition - a must for such a highly textured knit." And you can find Milburn 4ply HERE should you want to! Thankyou so much to Sarah for the insight; I'd love to visit Skara Brae sometime - having studied architecture at Dundee uni, it's one of the first things they tell you about! For more info on visiting Orkney, have a look at Visit Orkney, for a start and if you're wondering what Skara Brae is, it's Europe's most intact neolithic village, and you can read more HERE.