Tuesday, January 22, 2008

AaaaaaaaurrrrrrrrrgGrrrrrrrrrrr . . . .

I must be cursed.

Today wasn't all that great . . . I have a TON of things to be grateful for, but still, by dinnertime I was wiped out, aching, and just wanting to sit down and knit something pretty and soft.

Didn't happen.

Why, you ask? Well, it has to do with me and socks. I have started at least ten different socks for myself; all have been frogged before completion. Most didn't make it past the heel, but tonight's fiasco, the Yarn Shortage Anxiety Socks, were all the way to kitchenering . . . for the second time! I was so excited to knit these and get them done. I have some beautiful Araucania Nature Wool in deep, subtly shifting garnet tones, and I thought these would be perfect. I couldn't find size info in the pattern, but got gauge, and figured I'd just try them on as I went, and it would all work out. Sure.

Firstly, this pattern has some kind of weird mojo about it. I began with 60 stitches, but ended up with 55 after the heel after religiously following the directions. (Huh???) I knit the heel twice, (the first time I somehow managed to miss a couple p2tog's and had uneven sides to the flap), and on the second time, I still had an uneven number of stitches left on the needle. (Double huh???) Even with things going as well as that, I really hate the feel of the Dutch heel. Those two ridges of picked up stitches right under my heel are annoying.

Secondly, I couldn't get the toe decreases right. I began according to the instructions, at 2" to go, and even tried the sock on to make sure I wasn't making the sock smaller before my foot narrowed. Ignoring the point where the pattern went to "decrease every round" and continuing only decreasing every other round, I still was a couple rows short on length. So I ripped back all of the decreases, knit a few more rounds, tried on the sock, and gave it another go. Total de ja vu.

And get this . . . the sock was a little too big around in the instep, even with the five missing stitches, and the gauge difference. (Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that when I checked the gauge on the actual sock the first time I tried it on just before turning the heel, I found that I was getting a full stitch more to the inch than the pattern calls for. Smaller gauge, fewer stitches . . . it seems like that should make a reasonably smaller sock, no?)

Maybe the woman has exceptionally large feet, and I missed the memo.

And my stitches kept shifting 'round on the needles . . . instep stitches would end up on the heel needles, and vice versa. I've knit on socks for hours and hours, and on dpn's for hours and hours more, and I've never had that happen before. Totally strange.

So, here are my sock-knitting woes, as far as I understand:

Problem #1: I've got size 10 feet.

Problem #2: I've got "elegantly pointed feet", as the Yarn Harlot once wished for (but I can't for the life of me find the link to). (I know, I know. Two sentences in a row ended in prepositions. I tell you, it's a curse tonight.)

Problem #3: While my feet are size 10 in length and just barely medium in width of heel and toe, I have fairly high and narrow insteps.

So, most sock patterns are too short, baggy in the middle, and the heels are too small, making the rest of the sock fit funny. May I tear my hair out now?

And I have such pretty, pretty sock yarn all ready to be knit for me . . .



Online Cotton Sockotta, a cotton/wool/elastic blend that feels heavenly.



Crystal Palace Panda Wool in a colorway I simply adore. (Bamboo/wool/nylon.)



Trekking proNatura, a wool/bamboo yarn that is lovely soft and light (which is important during late summer here).



Dream in Color Smooshy in a to-die-for pink. And it's sooooo sproingy. Almost as sproingy as this . . .



Collinette Jitterbug in Mist. I've lost the ball band, but it doesn't matter. There's no way I'd need two skeins, since I doubt I'll ever live long enough to knit knee socks for my long 'ol legs.



Knit Picks Memories in Hawaii. Soft, simple, comforting merino in a heavy fingering weight. I bought this locally on clearance when a brand-new yarn shop was dumping it. The owner bought a bunch of stock from Knit Picks, but then marked it up the full retail markup, and nobody really bought much of anything. (I did buy a skein of Decadence at her price, as well as a different skein of Memories, in my defense. I wasn't just a vulture.) I love Knit Picks' yarns, but their shipping policies make me exceptionally grouchy, so I treasure what I have of theirs seeing as how I very nearly abhor ordering from them.



Angora Valley Fibers sock yarn; I think this is the Petunia colorway, but I've lost the ball band and it's not at the website. I bought this locally.



More Smooshy . . . I just couldn't decide, and I'm such a sucker for pink and purple. I wear a lot of neutrals and blacks*, and I love to wear bright socks with them. Red socks are one of my favorites, but these pink and purples will be great, too.

(It's silent protest against the color trends of the last nine years, and the fact that due to gestation and child-rearing, I've been just outside of the size ranges of Eddie Bauer and L.L. Bean, the only two companies who still make clothing in colors I can stand to wear.)



More Memories in "Easter". This is so perfect for fall and wintertime . . .



And another bamboo/wool blend yarn that I'm dying to knit. It's pink and brown with a touch of blue, with that silky bamboo feel . . . and I love it love it love it.

Please, does anyone out there have any idea where I can find a sock pattern that's not so incredibly fiddly, doesn't require me to rib the whole instep (crazy-making, that), and is easily customizable for my very different-from-average feet? I've been reading through patterns until I'm cross-eyed over at Ravelry. I've joined the "Sweet Big Feet" discussion group over there and read and read and read, but to no avail.

{Sigh.}

Thanks. I do feel a little better now . . .

5 comments:

ccr in MA said...

I won't beat around the bush: I don't know of such a sock pattern. I hope someone else does. But may I say, nice photos, lovely yarn!

I was wearing my Second Socks yesterday, and thinking hmmm, they are pretty comfortable. Maybe I'll try another pair after all. Charlene Schurch's 'Sensational Knitted Socks' was recommended to me; have you looked at it? Supposedly it helps you break down the parts of a sock so that you can customize for your personal feet, which sounds like what you need.

Shan said...

The Colinette Jitterbug in Mist is possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

As to the elegantly pointed feet, if you had those you'd find yourself paying the drastic toe-hole consequences.

Thimbleanna said...

Have you tried the Ann Norling pattern? It's just a basic pattern, but I use it for all my socks. Then, when I find a pattern for the stitch, I just substitute for the plain ol' rib or stockinette in her pattern. Did that make sense? I can take the texture (maybe texture is a better word than pattern?) from any sock and apply it to the ann norling pattern. The first inch of the cuff, heel and toe always stay the same -- the rest of the cuff and the top of the foot are always different. Sorry, I'm having a hard time explaining this, but it sounds like what you need to do -- find a plain recipe for what fits you and then change it with new textures!

camillaknits said...

Lotusknitter does a double-decreased shaped instep, ala Elizabeth Zimmerman, because she has dainty, slim feet. Perhaps this would work for you as well, because you could still do a longer heel flap (giving you a roomier ankle/instep) but ditch the extra stitches after your gusset decreases are done. The little seam running down the middle of your sole seems of negligable consequence, and you've custom fitted the thing to your high arch. Et Voila! Socks on your feet, rather than in their 'pupa stage'. And I'm totally coveting that Regia bamboo yarn... haven't seen that one in person yet! Be well, dear knitter.

leeduck said...

If you're willing to get a book, Cat Bohdri's New Pathway's for Sock Knitters has all customizable patterns based on the actual measurements of your feet. Including length, width and instep height. I got it for Chrismas and am loving it. I can always make socks that fit me but have trouble when it comes to anyone else....