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Saturday, February 23, 2013

What is on my needles

I've been working on a first sock and I've hit a decision point. I have finished turning the heel and I knew I needed to try the sock on.

So here it is. It was looking huge on the table, and sure enough it was huge. I moved the sock from 3 dp needles to a large circular needle so I could try it on.

I have large feet and swollen lower legs. It almost looks like the leg portion fits in these photos, but actually even the leg is too big. The heel is literally huge.

No question that there is no reason to continue with this sock. I've got one and one half balls of the same yarn available. It would make sense to just cut the yarn off and start over with some changes. If I don't just rip the entire thing out, I'll have something to compare the new sock against the old sock.

Here are the changes.

Even on a #1 set of dp needles my gauge was 6 stitches to an inch, not the 7 that the pattern called for.  I'm going to change to zero needles to try to get the gauge down. In addition, I've always tensioned the yarn only over my forefinger. One of the problems with learning how to knit at 11 from a book is that I didn't have anyone to tell me that I needed to do certain things differently from the way I worked out. I purled "wrong" for decades. I finally found a different book that explained why most knitting directions weren't working for me. Like a lot of Continental knitters, my stitches were sitting on the needle in the wrong direction after a purl row. I got that fixed quite a while ago.  And now I'm working on using a better tension system. I can already see that my stitches are tighter. That is going to affect gauge.

It is very obvious that the knitting is too loose for a sock. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to get a double zero 40 inch circular needle. At least I've never seen one for sale online so far. I will be looking again just in case.

I am going to make a medium rather than a large. That will make the entire project smaller. I might end up with a problem in the leg area if I do that, but the foot will fit. On a circular needle I should be able to try the sock on even at the point where ribbing becomes stockinette stitch. That will help me decide how long to make the leg of the sock. If it is a bit tight, I can just make it shorter.

I'm going to make another try with Magic Loop. I was constantly dropping stitches from needles that were at rest with the dp ones. Partly because the sock had so many stitches. Partly because they were so loose. Partly just because that stuff happens with dp needles. I will do one sock at a time. I'm convinced that even an experienced knitter needs to go back to being a beginner when they are learning brand new techniques. For me Magic Loop is a brand new technique.

I am also considering another simple beginner's sock pattern. this one had the most annoying decrease instructions at the end of making the heel. I now know that being told to decrease on stitch on each row, but at different ends of the heel just drives me crazy. I never could remember if I was on round one or round two.

Take care all.

3 comments:

  1. Oh, poor you! All that work! I guess it's all learning. I admire your tenacity.

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  2. I think you have the right idea of going down one size (either needle or pattern size) to accommodate your knitting tension. That's why doing a swatch is so important. I personally favor using two circular needles of the same size so I can load the sole stitches on one needle and the instep stitches on the other. I prefer it to magic loop but it's basically the same idea. Also, you might consider doing the entire leg in ribbing instead of just the cuff which will give you some stretch and still stay up. I've done that on a couple pair of socks and I like the outcome. I also think it's a good idea to start with a really basic sock pattern until you get some of the fitting issues worked out. Don't give up. Keep me posted on your progress!

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  3. That's one of the reason I like toe up socks -- I can try them on as I go and tweak the number of stitches to make it fit. It means tweaking the patterns, too, but it works.

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