Friday, March 30, 2007

Here we go...

The new pattern and needle size are working so much better! I am using size 2.0 (US 0) needles with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Desert Flower and the spindle pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. I should be casting on for the second one in no time. (In the picture, if you look very closely about halfway down on the right side you'll see a little bit of red. That's where my peasant heel will be going).

Janet in Houston asked me what gauge I get with Inox US 0 (2.0mm) and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. Short answer is 9 stitches per inch. Long answer, which my knitting Group is all too familiar with, is that everyone knits differently and you have to swatch it to find out. I'm never sure how much information people want or need when it comes to sock sizing, but I'll give you the general overview of how I size my socks.

First, I figure my gauge (stitches per inch). Sometimes I swatch to find this, but I've also been keeping a list of socks yarns I've knit with in the past and what gauge I got on certain needles - no need to swatch! The most important thing to remember here is that you can't let a pattern or someone else dictate what needle size to use. Those are just suggestions. You have to be happy with the fabric. For example, Lorna's does not look good to me on US 1's. It just doesn't. I get around 8 stitches per inch on US 1's and that just doesn't look as good to me as 9 stitches per inch which I get with US 0's. Someone else might like it, or they might get 9 stitches per inch on US 1's. We all knit differently. That's what keeps things interesting. :)

Secondly, I measure around the widest part of my foot. This is pretty self-explanatory. Just measure snugly around the wide part right above your toes.

Thirdly, multiply your gauge and your foot circumference to figure out what number to cast on (or what number to increase to if you are doing toe-up). For example, in my case with Lorna's on 0's, that would be:

9 stitches per inch x 9 inches around my foot = 81.

Finally, sometimes it's good to be negative. Ok, that's dorky, but it is true. In some stitch patterns you want some negative ease. Negative ease, the way I think about it, is when the fabric hugs the foot rather than fitting perfectly around the foot. If I knit a plain stockinette sock, I usually knit with about 10% negative ease. So, if my gauge x circumference number was 81, I would probably cast on 72.

81 x 10% = 8
81 - 8 = 73, but I like even numbers, so 72.

With ribbing patterns I usually just find a good number somewhere between the gauge x circumference number and the negative ease number. Whatever works well with the pattern repeat. It makes life much easier (and balanced) if you make sure your pattern repeat divides evenly into your total stitch count.

Ok, so that was the long answer! Hope I wasn't too pedantic and I didn't confuse or bore anyone. That was just a glimpse into my knitting thought process. :)

Thermal is being neglected. I think I'll make this weekend Thermal-only knitting. I'd like to finish it before our Oregon visit in mid-April. That may be overly ambitious if I'm continually distracted with sock knitting...

5 comments:

Kris said...

Thanks so much for posting that explanation, I couldn't have worded it better! I do exactly the same and found my self saying, oh yeah, but what about...okay, good she put that down too!! hahaha - socks are addicting;)

Drin said...

You said it perfectly! I think a lot of people will find this to be quite helpful.

patti said...

i love the colours - they're so pretty!

speaking of inox needles, where did you buy yours? i'm having a lot of trouble finding those 2 mm inox's.

Janet in Houston said...

Thanks, Alyssa, for the info on sock sizing. I get about 9 stitches to the inch on Shepherd Sock, too, and always was afraid that might be too dense, but your socks look great. I recently knitted a pair of Lornas on Size 0 because of the pattern's stitch count. I knew if I knitted them at 8 stitches to the inch they would be too big for me. Anyhow, they turned out looking really good, and I'm thinking I need to change my typical sock gauge to be a bit tighter.

claire said...

I like how Desert Flower is knitting up. I got my book last week and really like the patterns in it. What to start with...