Thursday Sock-Along: Sock Experiment
I managed to wait until Thursday this time! Here’s the scoop on my Sock Experiment. To recap, this is my second pair of socks. I’m making them cuff-down using Susan B. Anderson’s pattern How I Make My Socks with a few modifications. I’m using size US1 dpns and Knit Picks Simple Stripes. I’m getting 8-9 sts/in.*
My overall goal with this project is to start narrowing down what style socks fit me best. I’d like to end up with both a functional pair of socks and more information about what direction to head in next. I think I will end up achieving both of those things.
For starters, I wanted a sock that would stretch comfortably over my calf without being too large through the heel and foot. To that end, I used Fisherman’s Rib for the ribbing. I cast on using Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on. Then, I worked two rounds in standard single rib**. Next, I alternated these two rounds: *k1b, p1* around and *k1, p1b* around until I had 30 rounds of Fisherman’s rib (32 rounds total). The “b” refers to “below” and means to knit or purl into the stitch below the one on the needle. It was a little tricky to get used to at first, but once I figured it out it’s really pretty easy. It is a bit more time consuming than regular rib, however, and it takes two rounds to equal one row of actual knitting. The resulting rib is airy, squishy, and extremely stretchy. I then switched to stockinette for the rest of the sock. I turned the heel and worked the gussets as directed in the pattern with one small modification: I picked up one extra stitch on each bottom corner of the heel flap. On the first round, I knitted each together with its neighbor. I did this to help minimize holes, and I think it worked reasonably well.
So. Did it work? Is the top of the sock stretchy enough to fit well but still resilient enough to stay up? Well, yes and no. It’s honestly probably a little too stretchy. I like that it doesn’t cut off my circulation, but it doesn’t rebound all that well. On my next pair, I’m planning to toy around with starting off with Fisherman’s rib, then switching to standard single rib, then switching to stockinette (or whatever pattern stitch I’m using). I’m not sure how that will look, but I think it might help the top of the sock fit a little better.
Next! Does the sock fit well through the ankle and instep? Again…yes and no. It fits, but it’s definitely on the tight side. Part of that may be due to my gauge, which tightened as I went. Part of that may be due to the fact that I chose to go with the pattern’s recommended 64 sts, even though my feet and ankles are larger than average. I knew this beforehand but decided I’d go with it and see what happened. Since this is my first pair of socks in fingering weight yarn, I just wanted to see where the standard 64 sts got me. For my next pair, I think 68 might work better. I will wear the finished pair a bit before deciding as I want to see if they stretch out after a while.
To finish up, I knit the foot to 2″ shorter than my foot, as directed in the pattern. I did the standard toe decreases and Kitchener stitch graft. How’s the fit, you ask? Well, a little snug. I think next time, if I do the same toe, I might go to 1.75″ shorter and see how that works.
While I’m on the subject of toes, does anyone else think about making right and left socks? Maybe with a slightly looser/stretchier toe it won’t make a difference. As it is now, my big toe feels a little squished! On a future pair of socks I think I might play around with that idea a bit.
I’ve managed to stave off SSS*** as I’ve started the second and gotten most of the way through the ribbing. On the first one, the rest of the sock flew by as soon as I switched to stockinette. Hopefully by the next Thursday Sock-Along, I’ll be ready to start pair #3!
As always, please step on over to my fellow socketeers and see what they’re up to! Paula of Spin a Yarn blogs here and Hannah of unsophisticated + jejune blogs here. Happy knitting!
*It started off as 8 but by the time I got to the foot on the first one, my knitting had tightened up some.
**I learned when I made my Color Dipped Hat that that specific cast on needs two rows of rib on top of it before the Fisherman’s Rib will work correctly. Don’t ask me details–I didn’t study it that closely! I just started to knit into the stitch below the one on the needle after having just done one round of regular rib first, and it didn’t work.
***Second Sock Syndrome: The period following the completion of the first sock during which the knitter convinces herself that the second sock isn’t really needed/will knit itself/will somehow take a fraction of the time, and so delays casting on.