Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Put a Foot in It

The first red sock is still in progress. I finished the gusset decreases so the amount of stitches on the instep and the sole are close to equal now, and I’ve moved on to the foot.

The leg, heel and part of the foot of a hand knit sock on metal double point needles next to a ball of yarn on a white background.

At this stage, there aren’t any changes in stitch count; it’s simply a matter of continuing in pattern until the foot of the sock is long enough to fit my foot. I used to be very careful to measure my foot and knit the length of the sock to match — minus the length for the toe of the sock, which is about 1.75-2 inches for me with a US-8.5/9 shoe size. Now, unless I’m knitting in public, I simply try on the sock from time to time.

One tip: If you want to measure the length of the foot by trying on the sock, be sure to move your foot and ankle around a bit so the sock shifts to the position it wants to be in rather than the position you put it in. I’ve learned over the years that if I don’t do that, the socks tend to end up a bit short lengthwise. I’ll spare you before and after photos of my toes peeking out of a half-knit sock, but I’ve measured the difference to be as much as a half-inch!

I know I should slip the stitches onto waste yarn before trying on the sock, but I usually keep the knitting needles in place. At best, I slip half of the instep stitches onto an additional needle for a total of four double-point needles around the sock. As long as I don’t get too crazy wiggling my foot with knitting needles pointing every which way, it works for me.

Red hand knit wool sock in progress on meatl double point knitting needles next to a ball of yarn and an open unlined book with project notes on a white background.

As I knit the first sock, I always keep a tally of the number of rows knit as well as where I am in the pattern repeat. When I get to the second sock, I’ll make sure the row counts and pattern repeats for the two socks match. I know some people prefer to eye it up, and with feet not always being the same size there is a good argument for that method, but I prefer to make sure the socks are the same. Maybe that makes up for my relaxed measuring methods?

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