Sunday, April 10, 2016

Swatching ... socks???

I have pretended I was swatching for socks in the past, but I don't think I've ever really done it in earnest. Instead, I've cast on the number of stitches the pattern specified, or when a number wasn't specified, a guesstimate, and unless things looked waaay off, I'd just keep going. Such is the nature of socks. They're such a small project, that even when your better judgment says, "I don't think this is working out," the voice of knitterly inertia counters with, "Oh, just keep going. You can always rip this out and start over." Another problem has been that I wasn't working toward a clear goal in terms of size. I have a fear of too-tight socks (commercial socks that were too tight at the top of the leg is what caused me to be interested in hand-knit socks in the first place), so I've never really been a believer in negative ease for socks.

Not too surprisingly, I have knit a lot of socks that don't fit very well. But I'm inspired by Kate Atherley's new book, Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet, and determined to break the curse. Naturally, this does not necessarily mean that I am following her advice. Yet. Instead of starting by taking all the measurements she recommends, I'm starting with swatching. Because that's what I feel like doing. I will take the measurements -- I promise. I realize that a good set of measurements is one of the keys to success.

I've cast on a random number of stitches -- somewhere around 60 -- using the wonderfully round and squishy 716Twist (can't believe this is 2-ply) and I've knit a 1x1 cuff on sz. 0 and now I'm working in plain stockinette on sz 1 needles. Once I know what my gauge is for this project, I'm planning to start a pair of simple socks with arch shaping for myself. These are for practice.

Later this month, I'm going to spend a few days with my parents in Florida. I've bought some OSU striped BFL from String Theory Colorworks, and I'm going to make a pair of socks for my dad that fit HIS feet. This is a project from the heart because I've learned that a pair of socks I made for him a few years ago as a Christmas gift are his favorite socks. I find that amazing, and it puts Dad on my extremely knit-worthy list, which is short! He also raves about the felted clogs I made for him even longer ago. The great thing about gifting Floridians with hand knits is that they are so grateful to have them when they need them, but they need them so seldom that they last forever!

Note to self: remember to take a tape measure to Florida.

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