Thursday 19 February 2015

The trouble with socks: Part 5

I had hoped that sock post number 5 would be a triumphant 'I have a pair of socks!' post. But it's not. I do have two socks, but not a pair exactly.

After I knitted my first sock I quickly cast on the second and knitted away furiously, before stepping back and thinking a bit harder about something that had been niggling for a little while: all my shop-purchased socks are a bit smaller than my actual foot, i.e. they have negative ease. My first knitted sock is the exact same size as my foot, so while it fits well, if I walk around in it for any period of time it will stretch a bit and fall down, which would be annoying. So I Googled negative ease and socks to see if there was a consensus about how large you should actually make a sock. Skimming a few blog posts (this one was my favourite) told me that for a sock to fit well it should have about 10% negative ease. I sighed and unravelled what I had knitted of the second sock.

Good progress...
...Goodbye progress

And then I sat down and wrote some notes:
  • Aim for 10% negative ease in width and foot length
  • Width measurement without ease, 9.75 inches
  • Width measurement with negative ease, 8.775 inches
  • Gauge, 7.25 sts per inch
  • Number of stitches, 63.61875
  • Rounded, 64 sts
  • Retain sock leg length, 14 rows of 2x2 ribbing, approx 83 rows of stocking stitch
  • Target foot length from heel without ease, 10.5 inches
  • Target foot length from heel with ease, 10 inches
I then sat down and cast on my second sock (again). It took me a few attempts to get the cast on to sit totally within a section of green yarn as it's rather more difficult to measure pre-knitted yarn than stuff straight from the ball, but I got there in the end, and then I knitted, and knitted... And now I have two socks. Not a pair, but definitely two socks.

I'm not quite ready to pull out the first sock yet, but will do shortly and re-knit it. Time learning is not time wasted (especially as I thought to get my husband to try the first sock on and it fits, except for the foot being about half an inch too short, and now I know how large to make socks for him, should I ever wish to do so), and knitting two socks in slightly different sizes does mean that I now totally get the maths of socks - I almost think I could knit one without any instructions, apart from the lengths required for the different sections. And soon I will have a pair of socks. And they will fit. And I will be able to wear them with pride!


  1. Socks! Socks! I'm not sure I completely understand socks, but I love them! And the 'noodles' from another photo!

  2. The heel turning is magic. Magic I swear!