Monday, February 25, 2008

$1 + $1 =

I'm not a garage sale addict. In fact, I rarely even go to garage sales. But while out on a walk one unusually nice day a few weeks ago, I happened upon a neighbor's garage sale. I went up to say "hi" to the neighbor I hadn't seen much of this awful winter but had no intention of buying anything. Until I spotted the basket full of yarn. Sock yarn. Scarf yarn. Shawl yarn. Sweater yarn. Hat and mittens yarn. A veritable rainbow of yarn.

And all for $1 a ball.

Sucker, I called myself as I started sorting through the basket of yarn. Fortunately, I only had a couple dollars on me. $2, to be exact. Just enough to buy enough sock yarn for a pair of socks.

Now I'm not a hugely talented sock knitter like some of our authors here - not to mention some of our readers. But I want to be better at it, I really do. And I thought this might be the perfect time to give it a shot.

So here you have it: My socks, knit on size 2 needles with a self-striping yarn from Knit Picks.

They're beautiful, if I do say so myself. But there is a problem ... they're too big. They slide down my legs and gather at my ankles, making it difficult to put on my shoes. And my shoes are slides! I've been told by someone who should know that I can measure before I start knitting my next pair of socks (should I be so foolish as to knit another pair). Unfortunately, that same someone didn't tell me how to do the measuring.

Here's the question, then: How do you get your socks to fit your legs, ankles and feet?

Thanks for any help you can offer!

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Blogger Nephele said...

It's all about negative ease. Measure around the widest part of the ball of your foot (for me, that's 9.25). Check your stitches per inch on the finished sock (varies by yarn but I'm usually around 8sts/inch). Multiply the foot measurement by the stitches per inch (9.25 x 8 = 74). Then substract 10% (74 x 0.9 = 66.6) and round off to match your stitch pattern/ribbing. That's how many stitches to cast on for a top down sock. For toe-ups that's how many stiches you should have after you've finished the toe increases. If I'm doing a plain sock with 1x1 ribbing I would cast on 66 stitches. For 2x2 ribbing I would need to round down to 64 or up to 68.

1:12 PM  
Blogger HaveFaith said...

Holy cow! Did you understand Nephele? She is really a math whiz and I am a math dunce. For the same reason I won't be making any Elizabeth Zimmermann socks. The percentage method is something I can't figure out. BUT ... I bought Charlene Schurch's book call Sensational Socks and after making several pairs of socks that fit only so-so, I made the best fitting socks EVER. I love them. All my socks will now be knitted with one of Charlene's patterns.

2:41 PM  
Blogger kshotz said...

My best fitting socks came from Charlene Schurch's books as well....she has diagrams for those of us who lag in math skills so all you have to do is the one measurement around the ball of your foot, figure out your gauge (I usually knit socks on US #0 at about 10 or 11 spi) and look at the chart.

(After you've done this 2 or three times with Ms. Schurch's can pretty much knit socks without official patterns and get the size right...most of the time.)


3:12 PM  
Blogger kshotz said...

oh....and your socks look lovely!!!!

3:14 PM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

I love those socks, Fran!
And score on the sale yarn!

As for sizing -- I went with the trial and error method, since math makes my brain woozy.

The great thing is, once you figure out the needle size and number of stitches to cast on for a sock that fits you, you can use those figures over and over and over.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Great looking socks! Look at it this way...see who does wear that size...and guess what---now you have a Christmas present already made for that person!!!

6:05 PM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

I like Liz's suggestion! But nephele's math? Gotta be a better way. I'll have to check out that book, kshotz. Which pattern exactly are you liking best?

Right now I'm trying a 2x2 ribbed leg. We'll see what happens.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous carol said...

You knitted a pretty pair of socks there Fran. And at a super price. They're great.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

The colors are gorgeous, Fran! What a shame you have to give them away! However, I must give you credit for doing what I shudder to think about: knitting socks. Way to go! They look fabulous.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

I went with the trial and error, too. And for me, I cast on somewhere between 60 and 72 stitches and knit on US 2s. (The 72 is more for if I'm doing some sort of pattern that requires a certain number for a repeat of lace, or something. Plain, basic sock? Usually 64.) If you're knitting something more likely to fall down (stickinette and some lace), make sure you have at least 2" of ribbing at the top. I didn't do that once, and those socks have a bad tendancy to slouch.

11:23 AM  
Blogger LauraP said...

I'm clearly shopping at the wrong garage sales. I need to tag along with you.

I have nothing to add to the measuring suggestions. They all sound good to me, but I have to admit that the trial and error method has worked well enough for me thus far that I haven't bothered to measure yet. We've enough variation in foot sizes around here that somebody's foot will fit whatever I knit.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Ribbing covers up a multitude of sins... especially in the legs of socks. I'm fond of trying on socks while they are still on the needles, but that takes knitting on either 2 circs or 1 magic loop. However you do it, the second pair seem to come out better. Have no worries. Or you could pick out your cast-off and frog down to the heel and try the leg again. More knitting/bang for your buck!

If you look on the Yarn Harlot blog, she always shares pictures of fans who try their 1st pair of socks and some of them are just HUGE (can we say Santa-worthy?)!

2:58 PM  

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