Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Nightmare Before Christmas: When Knitting Goes Bad

Every year I knit socks as a holiday gift for my daughter.  I've been doing this for about 25 years and I haven't missed the Christmas deadline yet.  I must be too smug to suit the knitting goddesses because, today, as I was working on the second sock, it occurred to me that something is not right.

It's not as though I didn't see it coming.  I decided to use someone else's pattern, rather than my own tried and true sock template.  The pattern is interesting, with a heel shaping I hadn't knit.  The instructions are clear, but they're one size and I don't understand the structure well enough yet to make adjustments.  I knew my gauge would be off, so I dropped down a needle size, although something told me I should drop down more.  Still, I've knit many, many pairs of socks and know how to make them fit, so I didn't anticipate a problem.  At worst, I'd have to do some fulling to shrink them down to match, but that would make them warmer and harder wearing.  Besides, I was on a deadline and it was better to rush through them and have socks with problems rather than no socks at all.

The toe on Sock #2 was close enough in size to Sock #1 that I wasn't too worried and I knit on confidently on the foot up to the start of the heel shaping.  That's when it hit me: I seemed to be more than a bit off gauge:

Can you see the problem?  (It's not that the socks don't match in pattern; both the knitter and the recipient like that.)  Yup-Sock #1 (under unfinished Sock #2) is a full inch narrower than the second sock.  The foot past the toe shaping is at least 1/2 inch shorter on Sock #2 because my gauge has tightened.  There's no way I can full the two socks so that they match.

This means that Sock #1 must be reknit, because Sock #2 is clearly the better sock.  It's tighter and closer to Ali's foot size than Sock #1.  Much as I'm inspired by deadlines, 4 days before Christmas with only one partial sock on the needles is way too close for comfort.  This may be the year when kiddo gets one sock with a promise to mail the other.  

Then again, I do have 4 days.  Finishing this gift is far more important than cleaning the house, or putting up the tree or anything else I can think of at the moment, including writing this blog.  So, if I don't send out another post before Christmas, you'll know what I'm doing.

Happy Holidays, Joyous Possible End of the World and Namaste.


  1. Joyous possible Armageddon to you, too, Deb! Good luck with the socks.

  2. Thanks. I stayed up past midnight working on reknitting Sock #1, after finishing Sock #2. Morris was not pleased-he barked and barked, demanding that I go to bed and let him get his beauty sleep!