Welcome to the last sockfest post! I must say, I’m quite excited to reveal my first ever pair of socks to the world! It has been an awesome experience, I spent most of it marvelling at the amazing design of the sock, the precision, the engineering, to turn a piece of knitting to fit a right-angled bit of body.
I’ve loved reading your feedback as well, it has been fabulously positive, and I’m amazed at the sock knitters that have appeared out of the woodwork, there are so many! But I suppose that is not surprising, as sock yarn is so popular, there must be an enormous population to support it! One comment I received was loved not only by me, but by many other people who left comments afterwards. After complaining that my socks were too big, the lovely Lauri left me instructions on how to work out how to create a pattern by measuring my leg and working out the math. I e-mailed Lauri, because people were so appreciative of her instructions and asked her if she would mind me cutting and pasting her comment in my next post so that even more people might benefit from it! Being the lovely, sharing soul that she is, she did not mind, so here it is, in blue, I hope that you enjoy!
The socks are lovely. I’m sorry about the size problem! Do you know the gauge tricks with socks? It takes a few measurements, but ensures that your socks will fit: any needle, any yarn, any feet. Not magic – just mathematics.
First, I measure the ankle in question. I like to measure just above the ankle bone at the narrowest part of the ankle. I measure in inches. I call this measurement A. Let’s say our imaginary person has a slender 8″ ankle. A = 8
Next, I do a gauge or tension swatch, knitting a little tube in the round. I will use the needle that makes sense to use with the wool, but if the fabric is coming out too loose or too tight (like cardboard) I will change needles until I get a knitted fabric I’m happy with. Now I lay the swatch down and measure the stitches per inch. I call this measurement G for gauge. I try to get 8 or 9 stitches per inch with sock yarn, so let’s say our G = 9 stitches per inch.
Now for the math. A x G = CO
Ankle x Gauge = Cast On (initial number)
In this case, 8″ ankle x 9 spi = 72
Now comes the interesting part. Most knitting has significant stretch, so to compensate for this I subtract 10% for snugness:
A x G = CO – 10%
In this case, 10% of 72 is 7.2 (rounded to 7), and 72-7= 65. Most of the time I do a k2, p2 ribbing, so I like a nice even number cast on which is divisible by 4. In this case, I’d round down to 64 stitches and this is how many I would cast on.
This is adaptable for any kind of yarn and any kind of ankle. For example:
10″ ankle x 7 spi = 70 – 7 = 63 (or round to 64 cast on)
10″ ankle x 8 spi = 80 – 8 = 72 stitch cast on
7″ ankle x 7 spi = 49 – 5 (4.9 rounded up) = 44 stitches to cast on
I’m not sure what your gauge is, but if it’s 7.5 stitches per inch and you cast on 72, that’s a pretty big sock. (72 divided by 7.5 = 9.6″) If you consider the 10% snugness rule, it would fit more like a 10 1/2 – 11″ ankle. Quite a large one.
I hope this explanation makes sense – if I missed something, feel free to email me! I knit a lot of socks for all kinds of different feet and I rarely use patterns, because the math is actually pretty easy once you know the tricks. There are also easy math tricks for heels – which I would be happy to share but this has gotten long enough already. Hope I’ve helped.
Lovely Lauri, you definitely helped! Not just me, but lots of others too! I wonder if it might be a hassle for you to tell me at what point I begin to decrease at the toes! (eeeee!!! Cheeky!!!) So thank you, you are a true sock ninja.
OK. Are you ready?
Introducing….. the Rainbow Socks.
Joy of joys, there are rainbows on my feet and I knitted them! The excitement was massive, the moment I finished them I put them straight on instead of washing and spinning them!
The most important thing I learned from my first pair is that “grafting” is not another word for “three-needle bind off” and that when you do a three-needle bind off with the last 30 stitches you get an annoying ridge that rubs on your toes and your feet look a bit like the feet of a Dr Seuss character. Never mind though! I’m using the rubbing as a reminder that I have a lot to learn! (i.e. Kitchener stitch!) And it does not minimise the enjoyment in the slightest!
I love my socks, I love that I got confused at some point in the decreasing, and in the centre of one of the toes there are a couple of k2togs…
I love them so much I cast on another pair immediately! I’ve named this pair “the Mad Hatter socks” and you will understand why when you see them! They are FABulous! And I’m following the Yarn Harlot’s pattern from her book “Knitting Rules” which says cast on 64 stitches, which is what Lauri suggests too, so I’m feeling confident that these will not be slouchy!
So there we have it! An adventure in knitting, an adventure that was obviously so much fun that I am compelled to start it all over again and that is so wonderful that I can’t put it down and finish the final 10% of my second chef hat in possum merino!
A possum merino hat is just what I need right now, autumn has arrived and the heater came out of hibernation this evening! More excuses to knit more lovely things really, like I needed one!
OK then, the Mad Hatter socks are not going to knit themselves,
wishing you lots and lots of love and blessings, from Alice and Raymond XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX