So, I’ve been having some sock issues lately, you may have noticed. I’ve always had a tendency to knit two socks of slightly different sizes, but historically that hasn’t been enough of a problem to make a pair of socks completely unwearable. Then I started my current year of socks project and suddenly it was like I had no idea what socks were and how feet worked or anything.
I’m slowly getting back on track, and I think I have most of my problems defined. One is just a plain old tension inconsistency problem. I think the longer I knit the same thing the tighter my gauge tends to get, so by partway through the second sock I’m just knitting something entirely different than what I started out with. This is compounded by the problem that I tend to try on the first sock a lot to get the fit right, but I never try the second sock on, so I’m measuring an unstretched sock against a stretched one instead of seeing if the second one actually fits my foot. Then there’s the problem that I’ve been knitting the same basic sock pattern for years without much changing even as my feet have definitely been changing. Not so much that I’m a different shoe size or anything, but spending the last few years on my feet instead of at a desk has had enough of an effect that some of my more snug pairs are actually impossible to put on now. And yet I’m still knitting the same number of stitches. I think it might be time to take all new measurements and do all new gauge swatches and treat it like I’m just learning how to knit socks for the first time.
Anyways, I think I fixed my “never the same size” problem. It just took a little wrestling with my indecisiveness problem first.
I loooooove this yarn and I didn’t want it to pool, so I gave Whiz Bang a try. I was iffy on the toe shaping but the slipped-stitch pattern was looking pretty great so I was going to just deal. I tried it on and it was just way too big and the toe didn’t fit at all.
I tried my usual toe-up toe and fewer stitches with the same idea. I loved how the slipped stitches made their own stripes, but something about this just wasn’t working for me either, and I decided I liked the yarn too much to make a sock I didn’t love. So, I just said screw it and went back to my usual cuff-down stockinette deal.
It worked! It worked out so perfectly. I got just-about-one-round stripes and no pooling at all.
Things look a bit skewed in this photo, but I promise even my method for getting same-sized socks worked. I decided that my trying on/not trying on approach was a big part of the problem, so I took the crucial measurements – calf to ankle, heel to start of toe shaping — against my hand. A tape measure or ruler would be more accurate, to be sure, but my hand is something I always have with me when I’m knitting, so. I also did not try either sock on even once while I was knitting it. I showed such self-restraint and was rewarded with same-size socks. In light of my recent discovery that washing something before you wear it gives you a better idea of how it’s actually going to fit (this is major news I bet you’ve never heard before! tell your friends! blocking works!), I didn’t even try them on once they were done. I gave them a soak and some time on the drying rack, and I wore them to work today and they performed quite admirably.
Pattern: 64 stitches, cuff-down, 2×2 rib, stockinette, short-row heel with gusset mod* as described here
Yarn: Mad Color Fiber Arts Classica, colorway Betta Fish
Needles: 1.75 mm Karbonz DPN’s
Finished: a…week? or two? ago
’15-’16:17 Progress: 4/17 completed pairs
*I’m not sure I like this mod. Honestly, I’m not sure I even like short-row heels anymore. This was definitely the right choice for this yarn, but I don’t feel like short-row heels ever stay on my actual heel and even with the gusset I still feel like I can see the yarn pulling a bit across my instep. I think it might be time to invest in some solid sock yarns for contrasting heels in case I run into this situation again.