November 30, 2006

Hell hath frozen over

I finally decided to do the virtuous thing. I decided it would be way less wasteful to swatch than it would be to pick a random number of stitches, cross my fingers that the sock would fit, spend a lot of time pretending everything was fine until the first try-on revealed the (obvious) fact that it was entirely too small. So I swatched AND I measured my leg.

The Knit Picks pre-dyed gave me 8.25 stitches/inch on size 2s after blocking, and my none-too-large leg is 11 inches around at mid-calf.

But I don't know how many stitches I should cast on as a result. It turns out knowing my gauge in advance is not helpful to me in the slightest because I don’t know how much “give” to expect from sock yarn.

I see a lot of sock patterns that start with 64 stitches. It can’t possibly be that I need to cast on 80+ stitches, can it? My legs are on the skinny side and unless every other sock knitter in the world is a willowy-legged midget, I imagine I need to factor in some stretch.

Other sock knitters, please advise?


Deborah said...

When I started making my socks, I read somewhere that you want the socks about 10 percent smaller than your actual measurements to make them fit snugly. I've used that as a guideline and have been pretty happy with it for stockinette socks. If it's a lace sock I'll work fewer stitches, and if it's cabled or something like the jaywalkers that works up tight, then I'll put in more stitches. Hope that helps.

Bettina said...

I haven't used Knitpicks before, but I assume it is comparable to other sockweight yarns. My own guideline is this: if the yarn seems like it wants the size 2 needles (Koigu and Regia seem to want the 2s), I cast on 56. If I have to use the size 1 needles (as with finer sockweight yarns, like Trekking) I cast on 60. I get a good fit this way.

So, does the Knitpicks want the 2s? Did you get a fabric you like with the 2s? As long as your feet aren't bigger than usual, you should get a well-fitting sock with 56 stitches. :)