Some Maths is beyond me!

Wha? Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m being sucked into the poor grammar running around on the Internets. You’d think my linguistics degree should be revoked!

Here’s a math problem that’s giving me a headache: if my feet are 8 3/4″ around, and also 8 3/4″ long, and my Secret Sock Pal’s feet are 8″ around and 9 1/2″ long (note: sizing has been changed slightly to protect the pal’s identity), how should his/her socks fit me? Should they be a little too big on me because the recipient’s feet are longer? Or should they fit me like a glove because my feet are slightly wider? Notice that there’s 3/4″ difference in both measurements, but in opposite directions!

This is what the socks are looking like now:

If these were for me, I would make them about 1/2″ shorter – they would stop where I stuck in that pin. But they are for my pal. I’ve certainly got thoughts on the subject, but what do you think? I’m not grafting the toe until I hear what you’ve got to say.

And while we’re at it, since you’re here and still reading (presumably), here’s a much more clear shot of the column of slipped stitches which separates the instep from the sole:

If I only had an abacus… sigh… I bet I’d be able to figure out this Maths. Hehe ;).


25 thoughts on “Some Maths is beyond me!

  1. jody

    Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t know how much extra length would be eaten up by the stretching. I think this is even complicated by the stitch pattern you’re using. Since the stitches are chevrons the stretching will work a bit differently too.

    I’m sure you’ve thought of all of these things though!

    What I did the first go-round of Sockapalooza is to measure a sock I made for myself, do the math to determine my length of foot versus length of sock foot, and apply that same percentage to her sock.

    The other thing I did was if I had to choose between A and B measurements, I always chose the smaller because IMO socks should be snug rather than loose and bunchy.

    If it’s any consollation though I think the sock is turning out absolutely lovely!

  2. Christine

    I think that this would be the time to measure all feet in your general vicinity… or maybe joing the sockknitters group on yahoo and ask. It would make perfect sense to me just to make the sock length longer to compensate for the longness of the foot. JMHO

  3. Judy

    Well, in my opinion socks should be snug AROUND, but have enough extra length that your big toe doesn’t want to poke through when you put your shoes on, so I’d go for the extra length. Or am I the only one that has the problem of too-tight toes??

  4. Kate

    I think it’s long enough. The whole sock will “stretch” to fit the foot, but if you leave it where you have it now, there *probably* won’t be any unsightly bulges around the toe area. Do you know anyone with a Size 91/2 shoe? B/c that is what a 9 1/2 inch foot is. 🙂 good luck. Wish they were my socks! LOVE the slipped stitches around the instep..very cute.

  5. June

    I make socks snugger in circumference but leave the length as it matches my foot. Who wants the toes smushed into the feet? I’m not sure that fitting on your foot makes a lot of sense here because there isn’t a very good (standard) way of measuring circumference. I tend to measure the thickest area of the foot (closest to where my leg starts coming out of it – ha, I sound like a tree), but others measure around the ball. (Did the rules specify where to measure?)

  6. Stephanie

    My foot is 8″ around and 9 1/2″ long (and no, I’m not even participating, so I can’t by the lucky sock pal) and I like to make my socks a bit smaller in diameter and then make them so they measure 9 1/2″ when they’re done. If you want, I can measure my socks when I get home and give you the specs. E-mail me and let me know.

  7. Jenn

    I don’t got no idea about the toe maths. (Ok I CRINGED as I typed that)

    But no I am not sure. I’ll be intrested to find out what you decided to do!

  8. paula

    What I typically do is just rely on flat measuring. Basically, if the foot measures 9″, I start toes shaping two inches before at 7″ and continue on for two inches.

    For cast on number, I use that chart I mentioned.

    You can try them on, but it won’t really give you an accurate idea of what fit wil be like for someone else.

    So far, flat measuring has worked for me (cross fingers!).

    BEEEEUtiful socks!

    I hope you’re planning on posting that pattern because I have that Schaeffer mohair blend that would be perfect for it. 😀

  9. Cyndi

    I can’t help you out with the maths, but I absolutely love the stitch pattern you used created. It adds visual interest without taking away from the beautiful varigation of the yarn. Good luck with the sizing!

  10. Agnes

    Should ask Stephenie, who happens to be of the size you mentioned, to measure the sock for you. I think your wider feet stretched the sock a bit … but I am not sure. And believe me, if a simple calculator can’t help you, an abacus wouldn’t make it easier! 😉

  11. MeowGirl

    i’ve knitted only one little practice sock so far, but knitting math is fun, so…

    the surface areas are comparable, but the confounding factor is whether vertical area can be redistributed to horizontal area. to this end, maybe you could stretch the sock widthwise then measure the length to see how much is lost from the stretching.

    as for making socks to fit your pal, i think the suggestion to use your sock-to-foot ratio sounds good.

    i love your stitch pattern; the “vertical” color motif is great.

  12. Shelley

    Hmmmm…I don’t know, I have very small feet and usually have to work the opposite way. I think I would add length, socks are pretty stretchy (thank God) and will probably conform regardless. They look beautiful by the way!

  13. Laura Neal

    Okay, here is what happened with me and a pair of socks for a man. His feet are incredibly wide and so, what I did to make his plank foot socks was go up a needle size. His socks fit my foot nicely but, the sock was loose on me. Come to find out, he loves them since they fit him to perfection. No bags at all.

    I hate to say it, you know I do, you might try going up a needle size.

    Your socks are really nice. I guess added length would help out too. I know that a sock is nice when it is snug but, if it is too snug it is really uncomfortable. Good luck on it.

  14. alison

    That sock is looking great! Even better in person. It was so cool getting to see you and the sock in person yesterday. Hope we can run into each other again sometime soon. 🙂

  15. hornblower

    Only discovered your blog a while back & I’m enjoying reading through your archives.

    Wanted to say that using ‘maths’ as a singular noun is a British thing. They use maths instead of math as the short term for mathematics. I can’t remember the proper grammar term for this but there is something about a word referring to a singular subject and therefore being treated as singular.

    In Canada, some schools teach Language Arts (instead of English) & it’s treated the same way: “Language Arts is my favourite subject”.

    Well, back to knitting. I’m excited to see the sock project as I’m just about to embark on my first ever socks.

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