I'm scared of socks. I have been, and I probably will be forever. That's never going to change, although fear may evolve into cautious understanding (Huh... sounds like most of my previous relationships...).

Anyway, I am currently working on a pair. Well, one at a time, but you know what I mean. I'm doing the entrelac pattern in Son of a Stitch and Bitch, and it seems pretty good so far. It's also my first attempt at entrelac, picking up stitches, and working with self-striping yarn. Needless to say, it's a bit of a journey.

My question is this -- when I did my initial swatch, I used size 1's like they called for. My god, was that hell! I don't know how you fellas do all that lace and what not... I'm not used to knitting on anything in the single digits at all! Anyway, the gauge was somewhere around 13 sts to 1 1/2" "in entrelac". I mean, what the hell? not even to the inch, but to the inch and a half, in ENTRELAC. After some (probably) inaccurate figuring, I decided I would move up to size 2's, which was a bit more comforting. Now that I've gotten a significant portion of my sock complete (top down), I am second guessing it. It seems to be slightly too big... but I can't tell!

Has anyone done this sock before? Will I have to rip it all out and start over? Will Lassie tell Farmer John that Timmy is stuck in a well before he hypothermia sets in?

ronhuber's picture

I am terrible at tension swatches because they seem to have no relationship at all to the thing I am knitting. I have learned to guess and after a few inches I run a long piece of cotton yarn through the stitches and take them off the needles and measure. You can do that now with your sock and if it is too big start over with fewer stitches. I find that knitting socks with small needles makes them last longer and of course, they are more comfortable because the small stitches cushion your feet more than the big ridges. If it is not too small put the needles back in and keep knitting. This will be the most difficult pair you knit and from now on you will know how many stitches to cast on. My standard sock with sock yarn is 66 stitches on 2.25 mm needles. I know people who use 72 stitches and others that use 56!!

teejtc's picture

I have a terrible time with swatches too -- Like ronhuber mentioned, they don't seem to have any relationship at all with my end product. I wear US 9 1/2-10 (depending on the brand) (European Sizes 33/34) and usually cast on 68 stitches on a pair of socks with 2.25 needles (that turns out a fairly tight sock) -- Don't know if that helps at all or not. It seems every time I try a new sock pattern I have to knit a few inches, find out It's too loose, rip them out and start over (or give up and settle for loose socks, which I don't mind either). ;-)

Grace and Peace,

dandelion's picture

I'm also on my first pair of socks. This is also my first foray into dpns (size 2!), and I'm not a happy camper. I'd gotten a gift certificate to take a sock class at one of my LYSs so they examined my swatch and changed the cast-on stitch number for me. I have to confess, I rarely work on them unless I'm at the LYS and I haven't been in to knit in far too long. Time to change that. Good luck with yours!

PhilNmtl's picture

Nothing to be afraid of :-) I don't think that I've ever had enough sense to be afraid of socks. I just assumed that that was what knitting was like and didn't have anyone to tel lm eotherwise. I had cold feet, so I made socks. On the other hand I have never made a sweater because I am afraid of having to put the pieces together. Soooooooooo ... a baby jacket is now in the works.

I use 2.75 metric (#2 US) for socks and it just takes time. The one suggestion that I would make to new sock knitters is to have both socks on needles at the same time and to knit sections on each evenly ie finish off the cuff on one and then do the suff on the other, etc. Otherwise you run the serious risk of increasing the number of sock orphans in our midst. Seriously, it is tough to get the second one cranked out when you are staring down the road at how long it is going to take. Somehow it is much easier when it is only the toe that is left. Good luck.

dandelion's picture

That makes a whole lotta sense to me; staring the second at the same time. Thank you!

scottly's picture

I don't think a whole lot of people get their first pair of socks exactly right for that very reason. I'm on my third pair and I've finally got the needle size to yarn gauge right. I was told to always knit socks at tightly as you can - that way they will last longer and pill less. Having said that, I knit contenentally which by nature is looser so I find myself using needles up to two sizes smaller then the yarn calls for. Where are you on the sock? It wouldn't be so bad to have a loose leg and then tighten up the heel, gusset and foot with smaller needles.