Eleanora of Toledo’s Silk Stockings

Lady Caelfind "Spider" ingen Failtigerna

Eleanora of Toledo was a duchess from the 16th century, Italy. Her burial clothes included these stockings which are one of the first examples where knit and purl stitches were used as decorative elements in the design.


With the numerous attempts at recreating these beautiful stockings I felt the need to add my interpretation to the fray. I found that the patterns did not look as close to the reference photos as I would like so I made an attempt to create a chevron pattern closer to the original piece, and to create four distinct eyelets in the latticework pattern. I also decreased the number of stiches at the ankle to improve the proportions from my first attempt at using existing patterns.


This was the result of the first attempt which unfortunately looks more like a Christmas stocking. I readjusted the pattern so that the ankle would fit more closely and disregarded the patterning on the base of the foot, replacing it with seed stitch. When the heel is turned the ribbing design is thrown off and looks terrible.

Original stocking

The cuff design I felt needed to be reworked from the images I have of the original seen left. There are two rows of chevrons made from purl stitches on a knit background. In Melinda Strehlís pattern her chevron is in a single row followed by an eyelet. I assume this is to make the chevron more visible but is much more pronounced than the original. In the pattern done by Margie of Glen More she has two rows of chevrons but they are worked separately from one another which creates a wider gap than the original has.

Image of Melinda Strehlís cuff pattern.

My version of the sock:
Gauge: 8sts to the inch, 12 rows to the inch.
Cuff: Cast on 108 sts. (36 per needle)
(chevron pattern)

k rowx x x x x x x x x x x x
k5, p1, k6x x x x x o x x x x x x
k4, 1p, k1, p1, k5x x x x o x o x x x x x
k3, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k4x x x o x o x o x x x x
k2, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k3x x o x o x o x o x x x
k1, p1, k1, p1, k3, p1, k1, p1, k2x o x o x x x o x o x x
p1, k1, p1, k5, p1, k1, p1, k1o x o x x x x x o x o x
k1, p1, k7, p1, k1, p1x o x x x x x x x o x o
p1, k9, p1, k1o x x x x x x x x x o x
k11, p1x x x x x x x x x x x o
k rowx x x x x x x x x x x x
Knit one row, purl one row, knit row, purl row.
(reference of Vogue Knitting book)

    (Lozenge pattern) 12 sts and 12 round rep
  1. p1, k3, yo, k2 tog, yo, ssk, k2, p2
  2. p2, k7, p3
  3. p3, k5, p3, k1
  4. k1, p3, k3, p3, k2
  5. k2, p3, k1, p3, k3
  6. yo, ssk, k1, p5, k2, yo, k2 tog
  7. yo, ssk, k2, p3, k3, yo k2 tog
  8. k3, p5, k4
  9. k2, p3, k1, p3, k3
  10. k1, p3, k3, p3, k2
  11. p3, k5, p3, k1
  12. p2, k2, yo, k2 tog, yo, ssk, k1, p3

  13. Repeat pattern once.
    (from Melinda Strehl, in Tournament Illuminated with changes in rows #5-8)

(Repeat Chevron pattern)
This completes the patterned cuff
Turn your work so that this cuff is now inside out and continue to work using the following pattern. When the stocking is finished the cuff will then be the right way out when folded down.

Stocking proper:
1st row: K1, P1 ,K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, (moss stitch pattern)
K1, P3, K1, (ribbing)
P9, K1, P3, K1 repeat (garter stitch pattern)

2nd row: K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1,
K1, P1, K1, P1, K1,
k9, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1 repeat

3rd row: P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1,
k1, P3, K1, P9, K1, P3, K1 repeat

4th row: P1,K1,P1,K1, P1,K1,P1,K1,
k10,P1, K1,P1,K1 repeat

Continue knitting rows 1 to 4 to form the pattern panels.

78th row: Decrease by K2tog at middle of each garter (knit rows) and moss stitch panel
90th row: as 78th
110th row: as 78th
Decrease in alternating rows to achieve 90 stitches total and work until 140th row.
Row 143 decrease panels to 3sts each
Row 144 decrease ribbing to 2sts each
Row 145 decrease ribbing to 1 st each
Row 146 knit in pattern.

Divide in half for heel flap and knit flap only until square of knitting is achieved for heel.
Remember to reverse purl for plain and vice versa on reverse rows to keep pattern looking correct.

Shape the heel:

Count stitches, and knit one past the middle, k2 tog, k1, turn Sl 1, Work back the same number of stitches until 3 left, k2 tog, k1, turn, Center group of stitches have small gap on either end Sl 1 at beginning of each pass, k2 tog on either side of the gap until all sts used up. ( I suggest to switch to straight moss stitch for underside of foot as the established pattern is jumbled from decreases)

Knit in pattern to centre of heel sts. Slip instep sts on to one needle.
(make sure that you are on the outside of the sock)

Using spare needle knit other half of heel sts, then knit up the side of the heel flap picking up 15 sts along edge of heel flap you have just made.

Using 2nd needle work across instep sts

Using 3rd needle pick up 15sts on side of other heel flap then work across remaining heel sts.

*Knit instep sts to last 3 then K2 tog, K1. Knit across instep. Knit other instep starting with K1, sl 1 K1 psso. Knit one round without shaping.*

Repeat * to * till number of heel sts on the two needles equals the instep (top of foot)

Continue without shaping until desired foot length to start of toes is achieved.

Shape toe by decreasing once in centre of each garter and moss stitch panel. Knit one round without shaping. This will help to make the ribs maintain positions along toes
Knit to last 12 sts total.
Kitchener graph toe closed.

Finished dimensions: cuff to heel 20inches/ 51cm; diameter at cuff 15 inches/ 38cm; heel to toe 7inches/ 18cm; ankle 7inches/ 18cm


Knitting Eleanora of Toledo’s Stockings, by Melinda Strehl. Tournaments Illuminated 1998.

Revised Pattern For Eleanora Of Toledo’s Silk Stockings (26/5/00)
Margie of Glen More (OL), House Saarlands, Lochac, Kingdom of the West

Knitting Rules! Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Storey Publishing, MA: 2006.

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Sock book. The Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine. Sixth & Spring books, NY: 2007.

Patterns of Fashion. Janet Arnold. MacMillan Ltd. New York: 1985.

Last updated: 02/14/2010