I consider myself a reasonably good crocheter, but I can’t say the same for my knitting skills. I can do knit stitches, and I can do purl stitches, and I guess that means I can knit, but somehow I am having trouble knitting socks that fit! Let me show you some of my struggles.
I started a pair of socks by dropping to a 2.5mm needle because I have learned that I am a very loose knitter. Not a problem, but then I followed the pattern regarding the number of stitches to put on, which resulted in me knitting a sock which is way too narrow for me. The fabric has a good tension for a sock, a nice dense fabric that still feels soft and will keep your feet warm. However, I can’t get my feet into it. For some reason I can’t really reproduce, I started a second sock in the same way, but I came to the conclusion that they are never going to fit me anyway, so I just abandoned them.
So I obviously need more stitches because I have wide feet. Right, so I started a new pair and this time I increased the number of stitches considerably. I happily knitted along and fit it a few times, and I thought it was going well. When I finished the heel and had a bit of the leg on the sock, I came to the conclusion that it’s actually way too wide. A sock has to have a certain amount of negative ease, which means that it stretches around your foot. This sock fits perfectly, but because it is exactly the width of my foot, it is actually too loose and flops around my foot. I abandoned this sock without completing the leg.
I am not one to give up, so I tried again. This time I bought a pattern by Sockmatician to help me get the socks to fit. In his pattern he gives a serious amount of maths on how to calculate the number of stitches you need, how long to knit the foot, the works. I started this very happily and threw myself into the maths. And I must say, the width of this sock is just perfect!
However, he has a gusset in his sock pattern and this threw me for a loop. I had trouble knitting his heel, so I knitted a heel that I had knitted before, but in combination with the gusset the sock is just way too long. I have a UK size 6, EU size 39, shoe. I believe this sock is more a size 10/45! My husband doesn’t really care for pink socks, so I have abandoned this sock as well.
A new plan
I have been searching for ideas on how to knit socks that fit. I have this dream of having hand-made socks, I have never had them and am really wanting a pair. I bought a recipe by Sox Therapist on how to make a cardboard mold of your feet and using them to knit socks that fit. She goes to great lengths to explain what makes a sock fit well.
Looking at the socks I have knitted till now, I see that my first pair is way too snug on the cardboard mold, the second are way too loose, and the third are spot on. I am having a bit of a Goldilocks feeling here…. In the same way I can also see that my socks are all too long, because the socks are longer than the mold. So if I use this mold to knit my socks, it should work, right?
I now have a new battle plan to knit another sock. Just one, and when it fits I have the recipe to start knitting socks for real. I have my cardboard feet, and if you look at the mold you can see that I really have wide feet. My ChiaoGoo knitting needles, I am such a fan of these needles, they knit like a dream. A cozy for my needles; they are just the best! I have these from TIEN en MIEP Designs, love them. And off course, color changing yarn. I am such a fan of self striping yarns, the yarn does all the hard work, all I have to do now is know how to knit 😉
Method to the madness
You might wonder why I am telling you all of this. Usually we only want to show the good things we do, keeping up appearances and all that. And that is exactly the reason why I am showing you all of this, I don’t want to keep up appearances. Learning a craft means making mistakes, and then figuring out how to prevent those mistakes so as to improve ones work. I want to encourage you to take your mistakes in your stride, consider them as part of your learning process and not as something to be ashamed off. After all, if you never try, you never fail, but then you never succeed either.
One day I will have the size thing right, and that is the moment when I feel confident enough to knit my hand-dyed-by-myself rainbow yarn into a pair of socks. But first I am going to practice just a bit more.
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