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.