Friday, October 19, 2007

Making socks that fit

Today's Sock Obsession Post is about ribbed sock patterns.

The first up is Nancy Bush's Rib and Cable Socks from Interweave Knits, Fall 2005. Now, Nancy Bush is a Sock Genius. I love almost all of her socks patterns. This one is no exception.

I'm knitting them in Shibui Knits Sock Fluids, colorway Orchid (Loopy Ewe, yet again). This is pretty typical of my color preferences, but in a new yarn. I am loving this yarn. It's thinner than STR, which makes it a bit more flexible for pattern choices and more suited to my sock gauge.

My gauge adventure began with knitting these socks on size 1s. The yarn started pooling. I never knit socks too small, so I went down to size 0s. The pooling got much worse and the sock started to look oddly tiny. Like, I Can't Get This Over My Foot tiny.


So, I did the unthinkable. I went up to 1.5s. I don't remember the last time I had to go up a needle size, but that did the trick. Oh, there's a little pooling on the foot, but nothing offensive. This sock fits beautifully and yarn is incredibly comfy. I'm holding out for a couple of skeins of Rappongi, now.

I did make a few changes to the pattern. The heel seemed really strange to me. I couldn't figure out why I would want decorative holes at the base of the heel. It seemed like they wouldn't wear that well and that they'd be sort of uncomfortable. So, I knit the heel flap in the rib and cable pattern and then knit a regular heel and picked up the gusset as usual. I like it. The only thing I did wrong was not center the cable pattern between two purl stitch sections. It's not hugely noticeable, but I think I'll center it better on the second sock and then write down the changes and put a note in my copy of the magazine for future use.

Again, the technically perfect knitter would rip, make the changes, and reknit. I am still into Make It Work mode. I'm going to be wearing shoes that will cover up the difference and I'm not planning on entering them into the State Fair, so, frankly, I'll live with it. I'm sure some of you are saying, "How can you stand to do that?" I think it's a matter of not realizing the issue until I was almost finished with the sock. I've frogged this particular sock twice already. I really want these socks and "As God is my witness, I shall never frog these socks again!" (With apologies to Scarlett O'Hara.)

I knit for my pleasure alone. Sometimes, I get very technical and rip until a sweater or shawl is perfect. Other times, I find that the "error" isn't enough to matter to me. I finally have a sock that fits perfectly and works colorwise. I'm letting well enough alone!!!!