I’m working on a few different ways to combat the problem with mismatched sock lengths and gauges I talked about in this post. After finishing up those socks I decided to revisit an old mistake and I restarted some knee socks in KP Risata I attempted and abandoned a few years ago. I was going to just knit one sock and then the other like I usually do, but partway through the ribbing on the first one I thought about how long knee socks are and my problems with socks matching and the prospect of getting all the way through one very, very, very long sock and then not only starting another very, very, very long sock but trying to make it the same as the first very, very, very long sock — which means remembering everything I did, which means keeping accurate notes on Ravelry, which means the two socks would not be the same really because I’m terrible at keeping accurate notes on Ravelry…. Anyway, I decided to try out something a little different.
The easiest way, of course, to make sure your two socks are the same size is to knit them both at the same time. I’ve done that before on one long circular needle and while I don’t really mind, it is very fiddly and I always get confused when it comes to the heels. Also I have no long circs right now, because every stupid sock-sized one I’ve owned has broken at this point.
Another 2-at-a-time technique I’ve seen in a few places but never tried is knitting each sock on a separate set of dpn’s and moving through both of them at roughly the same speed. Before I decided to try it out on these socks, this technique never really appealed to me. I thought it would make the whole process feel longer, always putting one partial sock down to pick up another and do the exact same thing over again, rather than just putting a finished sock down only once to knit a second one. But in addition to my concerns about my socks being different sizes, I was kind of enjoying knitting the ribbing and thought it might be fun to keep knitting it a little longer, so I tried it out. Got through the ribbing of both socks, then moved on to the stockinette portion before the calf decreases and knit both of those. Still fun. Calf decreases next. Wait, this was loads of fun! I was tearing through these socks.
Next came the heels and, well, we hit a little snag. First, I just sailed right past the first heel and forgot to switch socks. Not such a huge problem, until I saw this:
Calf on one side, heel on the other. Not much like my actual legs. And look how far I got before I realized it! I didn’t actually notice this until I tried it on to make sure I was good to start the toe. Of course, it’s still a wearable sock, it would just have the calf shaping on the shin. But I just couldn’t finish it like this.
I also couldn’t stand to rip this out yet (HATE ripping stripes like this), so I switched to the other and was very, very careful when I got to the heel.
Success! After that it was no big thing to finish this sock.
I’ve since gone back and done the tedious work of ripping out the foot and heel on the other one. The heel’s been reknit and we expect a foot and toe, oh, just any day now.
But I said I was working on two solutions to my sock-mismatch problem. Knitting two-at-a-time like this is a good solution I’m finding, but it’s not a solution that will work all the time. If I’m doing all my knitting at home on the couch, it works just fine. But as soon as I have to go out for something I’m going to want knitting with me. And carrying around two separate knitting projects is a little tricky. Not that my purse isn’t big enough to hold them, but 10 dpn’s and 2 balls of yarn is a bit more trouble than I need to be reaching into every time I want my lip balm. Carrying around either 2 balls of yarn or a center-pull ball and a 40″ circular with 2 socks on it is likewise purse-unfriendly. So basically I’m using these socks to explore all my options for getting perfectly matched socks every time.
The technique I chose to knit these socks helps with both the gauge and length issues I’m trying to combat. The reason I chose these socks in the first place, though, addresses just the length issue. This second solution still needs a little planning, so it’s a secret for now. More detail to come in the nearish future!