What happens when you find a great sock knitting pattern, but you know it won't fit you? Fearlessly change your needle size!
Katie Himmelberg's free knit sock pattern, the toe-up Honeycomb Socks, uses 76 stitches for a sock that measures 8½ inches in circumference unstretched. Because of the ribbing in the foot portion, the Honeycomb Socks stretch to fit a 9½-foot, which is roomy for the average woman.
The way this sock is built doesn't lend itself easily to adding or taking away stitches—the stitch patterns are ribbing and a honeycomb pattern—so what's a larger- or smaller-footed sock knitter to do? Fearlessly change your needle size!
There's no rule that says you need to use one needle size throughout a project. You can even use one needle size for the foot, another for the leg, another for the cuff, and another for binding off.
1. If you want a snug sock, go down one or two needle sizes. Even a change yielding 8 to 9 stitches per inch would make this sock more than 1 inch smaller in circumference in the foot. It would also produce a significantly tighter stitch, which is good if you wear through socks quickly.
2. Knit on 2 circular needles (or 2 sets of double-pointed needles) of two different sizes-one for the instep and one for the sole-to keep to keep the fabric firm where needed. To determine gauge, do a complete swatch in the round. Using a smaller needle for the sole will make a firmer, more durable fabric.
3. But what if only your heel is a little wide? Just use the bigger needle where it's needed. To keep the stitches tight and prevent the heels from wearing through, you might want to use two strands of yarn where the larger needle size make stitches loose. This will firm up your heel and tighten the stitches up a bit, too.
4. Even though the honeycomb cuff pattern thwarts easy size fixes, you can change the needle size in just the cuff. You're not going to get much stretchiness from the honeycomb, but the upper cuff is secretly stretchy, so go for it!
—Heather Ordover, from Sockupied, Summer 2010
||Tryon Creek Socks by M K Nance
e run, Heather! There's no fussing with stitch count or rewriting a pattern—simply change your needle size and you're all set. I would advise knitting a gauge swatch, though, to make sure your socks will fit you, even with the different needle used. Socks are a lot of work, and although you could fix your gauge on your second sock, you would probably end up knitting a third sock in order to be really comfortable. No, thanks. Two is sometimes more than enough; am I right?
There are so many great ideas in Sockupied, including fabulous patterns, of course. We've kitted one up for you—the Tryon Creek Socks by M K Nance, inspired by walking along Tryon Creek in Portland. These socks use three knit-purl patterns to break up pooling and add texture to handpainted yarn. Chevrons and modular stitch patterns evoke the water steelhead salmon encounter on their return to an urban waterway.
The kit includes 430-yard skein of Lorna Lace's Shepherd Sock yarn, a blend of 80% wool and 20% nylon, in Firefly, a bright yellow, and one download of Sockupied Fall 2013 eMag for Mac or PC.
This kit makes a great gift, too. Get yourself one today before they sell out.
P.S. Do you have a tip for making socks fit better? Leave a comment and share it with us!