Never Quite the Same

When knitting socks with self-striping yarn, you have two choices: try to make the stripes match or just start the second sock where the first one left off and see what happens. I almost always take the “hey, man, whatever” approach because I don’t have time for such nonsense and also I don’t really mind mismatched stripes.

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In fact, it would be silly of me to try to match up my stripes when I know going in that the two socks won’t be identical anyway. For one, with all the picking-up-and-knitting and ssk-on-one-side/k2tog-on-the-other going on in a pair of socks, even both sides of the same sock don’t match when I’m done with them.

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I have to demonstrate this with one side of each sock, of course, because no amount of yoga can make you flexible enough to get both sides of the same foot into one picture, but you get the idea. I always get that little gap on the ssk side of my gussets and toes. The picked up gusset stitches are a little looser on that side too. I know there are tricks for avoiding these issues but socks are my default knitting, what I keep in my purse to work on in waiting rooms or what I work on to keep my hands busy while I watch TV. It’s not unusual for me to put a sock down halfway finished, knit a sweater, and come back to that sock 3 months later. Or 6 months later. Or, this one time, over a year later. For default knitting I like default stitches. Socks that require me to remember fancy things are strictly for un-distracted couch knitting.

The downside to treating sock knitting this way is that it can cause even more variation between socks. For this pair in particular, my gauge changed quite a bit between February, when I finished the first sock and started the second, and last week when I picked the second sock back up after taking a break to knit the secret blanket. The second sock is definitely tighter than the first, which I can’t really show you with a picture. I can show you the other difference, though, and it’s one I run into a bit more often than I’d like.

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That’s not the camera angle — there’s a good half-inch difference at least between the leg length of these socks. Which, considering the fact that I didn’t even know where the first sock was when I  started the heel of the second one, isn’t as bad as it could have been. I’ve definitely had a pair of socks come out with one at least an inch shorter than the other, so I guess my “that looks about right” skills are improving! I really should get on a permanent solution to this problem though. I need to figure out something I always have near by that I can measure my standard sock leg against.

Pattern: Just your basic cuff-down sock w/gusset heel. 76 stitches.
Yarn: Zitron Trekking XXL color 1003
Needles: 1.5 mm Knitter’s Pride Karbonz — which means no breaks! no bending! I got through an entire project without killing any needles you guys YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!
Started: February 2013
Finished: May 25, 2013

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