Friends and fellow knitters, I admit I have a problem. Or perhaps several.
KnitPicks was having a St Patrick’s day sale on green yarn (naturally), and (naturally) I indulged. I sprang for a few skeins of their Stroll sock yarn, in a lovely everglade heather hue.
In a fever of startitis (when you can’t stop starting projects), I immediately prepared to cast on a pair of Tin Can Knits Rye Light socks (free pattern!). I had knit these socks before for myself to great effect, so I wasn’t worried.
Oh, but I should have been!
I dutifully knitted a swatch in the round on my DPNs and found that my row gauge was way off. But I mean WAY off. I changed needles to get the right stitch gauge, but I didn’t know what to do about the row gauge.
I decided it would be fine, and started on the first pair. Part-way through the first sock, I had a realization.
I DO NOT ENJOY KNITTING SOCKS!
They’re too fiddly. Whether knitted on DPNs or with magic loop, they’re tetchy little things (especially children’s socks).
The second problem
But now I had another problem.
In my unbridled enthusiasm to make socks for all my boys, I had been talking it up. Now my Bug and my Bear both expected socks! I couldn’t just toss them aside!
The third problem
Despite not liking the knitting process too much, I soldiered on. I finished the first sock, and then the second.
Now came the moment of truth! It was time to try them on!
They got on his feet alright, but then… They sagged. And sagged. And SAGGED.
So I cast on the second pair, this time for the Bug. But this time I did a little research.
I found an article on Interweave by sock knitting guru Kate Atherley.
According to Kate, socks should be knit with about 10% of negative ease. In other words, the final measurements of the socks should be about 10% smaller than your foot.
I did some careful measurements of the Bug’s feet, but I made one key mistake. I did not measure his feet while he was on the floor.
The best way to get an accurate foot measurement for sock sizing is to measure the length of the foot while it’s standing on the floor. Also, measure the width around the ball of the foot when the person is standing.
This wouldn’t have been such a problem, if it hadn’t been for that…
Dratted row gauge.
Many sock patterns tell you to knit for a certain number of inches or centimetres for the ribbing, and then down the cuff. So you might think that row gauge doesn’t matter too much.
But you would be WRONG!
Because when you get to the heel and the gusset, at these points you start counting rows. So if your row gauge is too short, your heels and gussets will be–you guessed it–too short.
When we got them on his feet, they seemed to fit just fine.
But over the course of the afternoon, they gradually slipped down, down, down… Until they were bunched up inside his shoes, poor lamb.
Being The World’s Sweetest Child, he never complained and insisted he liked his new socks. But I knew better.
Back to the drawing board
Both these pairs will have to be unraveled. I WILL get these right!
But wait, you say. Didn’t you say you didn’t enjoy knitting socks?
True… BUT I HAVE TO GET IT RIGHT.