Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There Are Three Kinds of People - Those Who Can Do Math, and Those Who Can't

I have been trying to knit socks that fit my size 10 feet, using Cat Bordhi’s sock book, NEW PATHWAYS FOR SOCK KNITTERS. She is a dear lady and extraordinarily clever. I’ve been fortunate enough to take a class from her, in which we knitted the “Little Sky Sock”. I learned her new methods of increasing, her flexibility in the type of needles we could choose for the project (I’m a 5 dp kind of gal), and I grasped her method for wrapped & turned stitches, no problem. The little sock I made is cute - doesn’t have a mate yet, but it is cute and will fit *some* little body at some time. The problem came when I attempted to make a sock that would fit *me*.

The way the book is written is that there are master patterns in which one gets the general idea of the sock’s structure. Specifics relating to gauge and the individual recipient’s foot measurements are all on tables at the back of the book. It’s simple enough to refer to the back of the book for numbers of stitches & numbers of increases to use. I thought, again, what a clever idea, and I took the book into Office Max & had it spiral bound so that I could easily flip back and forth. (BTW, I came to the conclusion that if Cat were ever to need a nom de plume, I’d suggest “Paige Turner”.)

I chose to knit the Riverbed sock, which originates at the toe, increases & widens on the sole of the foot toward the heel, turns the heel, and in a very clever way, knits the heel flap in combination with eating up wing stitches. It’s a wonderful design. Really. Should one want to do any fancy lace or cables, well, the top of the foot has no complicating minutiae whatsoever. All the increases are on the bottom of the foot. Brilliant!

Here’s my problem. Each time I have made this sock (four so far, in various weights of yarn) I have had issues with the length. Always too long. Which totally sucks, because I don’t realize how long the sock will turn out to be until after the heel turn is done, at which point I have to rip back past all the increases to the toe. I decided to use up some of my leftover yarns & make a sample sock, again, following the tables in the back of the book, to determine exactly where my problem is. All the yarns I used are “sock weight yarn” & are very similar in thickness.

So here is the fruit of my labor. This sample sock is over 12” long. My foot is 10 3/8”. And the only thing that I can figure is that perhaps the numbers do not include the length of the heel turn & flap. Of my two friends that have tried this pattern, one seems to be able to execute it without any difficulty whatsoever. The other has exactly the same issues that I have. So who knows. The last time I became this frustrated with my knitting was when I began knitting lace. I do have to say that I have not *yet* thrown the sock into the driveway & run over it with the car, though. Yet.