Remember when I said I wanted a simpler project before I start a more complicated one? I also said that the answer was a kit, a sock kit. Well, famous last words. This has been nothing like that and instead my ability as a knitter has been tested.
Let me start form the beginning. A couple of years ago I bought a sock kit at the crafts fair. It don’t particularly like color work but I made an exception since the colors and the pattern was so delicious. On the kit it only said that if you have bigger feet than size 37 you should add a skein of the main color. Sure, I thought, I’ll do that, and I did and home I went, happy with my purchase.
Fast forward to this past week. I opened the kit and started reading through it and it turned out the pattern was written exclusively for size 37 and a foot circumference of 19 cm. That is a really think foot. My feet are size 40, a very common size, especially if you are taller. My feet have a circumference of 26 cm. That is not an abnormally wide foot but again fairly common. I don’t have problems finding shoes. I spoke to friends with thinner feet and none of them had feet circumference below 21 cm. Now I was starting to get a bit frustrated and also feel a bit deceived – the kit could have stated this on the outside instead of just telling me to buy more yarn.
I looked among the other color work sock books I have, linked to the same store where I got this kit, to get some help and realized that they were all knit for very small feet with pretty much no guidance how to widen the sock. Instead all the patterns seemed to show the same sock, just different color work patterns (something else I hadn’t realized when I bought them and made me feel even more deceived). The color work patterns are very pretty but perhaps the designer has gotten a little too much cred for her sock patterns when really all the 20-something patterns are just pretty much the same sock. And since I have at least three other sock kits from this designer I felt even more deceived.
The thing about stranded knitting is that it’s not as stretchy as your average stockinette stitch, which means that gauge is even more important when you do color work than when you don’t. I realized I needed to swatch but knitting stranded color work in the round is something else completely than doing it back and forth and in the end I figured I’d just be better off knitting the actual cuff and measure that rather than making a swatch, which would have to be the same size anyway. Since I new from the beginning that I needed to widen the socks, I picked bigger needles from start.
When in doubt you should always turn to someone you trust and sure enough, this past spring Yarnharlot had written two blog posts that not only helped me immensely but also encouraged me a lot. (I’ve doubts about color work and I don’t trust my ability. Yarnharlot helped me believe in myself.) After reading her blog I was ready to take on the socks.
It soon became clear that I needed two more stitches to the decimeter than the pattern asked for, and that was on two sizes bigger needles. This meant that I had to add 25 stitches to make the socks fit my foot. The cuff seemed big enough with less stitches but once it was done, I added those 25 stitches.
The pattern called for an afterthought heel but after reading the Yarnharlot blog I decided to go with a heel flap instead, which would fit my foot much better. The result was better than expected and as I tried the socks on I realized I could decrease more stitches so that I only had 15 more than the pattern stated.
And that’s where we’re at right now. I have an almost finished sock and it fits me great – it’s great with a garment that you can try on during the process to consider the fit. I’m still not super impressed with the pattern, I still feel a bit deceived, but knowing what I know now I should have every possibility to succeed with my other three sock kits, which is very nice. It wasn’t the simple project I had hoped for my I’m happy and proud that I was able to sort it all out eventually.
Now, on to sock number two.