Easy way out

That’s more like it!

Wheew! As I calculated, I got a nice flat fabric when I joined 2 rows of sole for every 3 rows of instep!

I didn’t get any holes or gaps along the side because I picked up every selvedge chain stitch. It’s just that one-third of the picked up stitches were never developed into rows, and simply got decreased away with the next picked up stitch.

I considered using different needles… Potentially I could have gotten a very satisfactory result by knitting the top and bottom of the sock using two different needle sizes.

However, changing needles is a guessing game. Gauge, on the other hand, is math.

Do I know for sure that going down a needle size would sufficiently reduce the puckering? Maybe the answer is to go down two needle sizes? But what if the resulting fabric is too dense? What if I should knit the top using bigger needles instead?

And so on, and so on, and so on.

In contrast, I measured the gauge in shadow knitting, the gauge in stockinette, punched some numbers into the calculator, and knew, knew for sure that I would get a flat fabric if I joined them 3:2.

I know it may have seemed like I was over complicating matters, but in reality, I absolutely took the easy way out: math trumps guessing once again :).

On the plus side, having knit the foot of this sock three full times by now, I think I finally got the sizing down. On to the heel! But not before I sneak in a few rounds on the divine Uptown Boot socks – my reward for getting this right, finally :).


33 thoughts on “Easy way out

  1. Ashley

    Ah, picking up every stitch but then decreasing them away! Ingenious. I might have thought to do that, but it would have taken me a long, long time 🙂

  2. Sasha

    Wow, great solution! It does seem that those without your analytical skills might just struggle and give up on this pattern. Like me perhaps. I’m sure that they will be lovely after the technical hurdles. You are quite the problem solver!

  3. Sue F.

    “Gauge, on the other hand, is math”. How simple you make it seem. It seems third time really is the charm; I trust the pattern is corrected too?

  4. Angie

    Our intrepid leader forging ahead in to the uncharted jungles of math. It seems so hard until you describe it. I’m a poet and like to keep numbers carefully contained. Thanks for explaining is so well that I may, too, one day, have an amazing purple pair of shadow socks.

  5. Anne

    I love it when people prove that math is useful. I’m such a nerd at heart. *happy math-nerd sigh*

    The sock looks great!

  6. Laura

    Yup, math totally trumps guessing and fudging and eyeballing every time. A calculator, scratch paper, and a pencil are essential tools in my knitting bag.

  7. jody

    nice work. i agree that the proportional pick-up was easier than needle changes. plus, do you really want to change the texture and/or density on just one part of the sock like that?

    btw i think it’s interesting how stripey the foot looks. you have just the right combo of flat knitting and sole width to make some pretty, shaded stripes!

  8. chialea

    Yay, math! Math makes just about everything easier, because it’s far easier (in the long run) if you make good decisions about things, and it’s far easier to make good decisions with good analysis.

  9. Angela

    Well, you could have vanquished the “changing needle size” bogeyman via the light and logic of math, by doing swatches with different size needles…but your way sounds easier and more elegant.

  10. Mary K. in Rockport

    You were right and I was wrong – there, I said it. Could you explain your join a little more? Do you mean you decreased 1 out of 3 stitches on the NEXT row?

  11. N McInnis

    I’m with Mary K. Could you please explain your join a little more? I think I know what you did (maybe!), but given how much I hate sewing up seams, this sounds like a technique I really ought to learn!!!!!!!!


  12. Frarochvia

    I stand corrected! Picking up every selvedge stitch and decreasing was definitely an elegant solution I (should have and) didn’t think of.

  13. julie

    Very nice! I have the same question as Mary K. Did you decrease on the next row? These socks are looking great, as usual.

  14. Seanna Lea

    Sock adventures abound. I finally got through the gusset of my tiny socks (knit with size 0) and tried it on immediately. I’m shocked that it fit without looking too stretched out. I mean, I know that socks should have some negative ease, but it is hard to imagine it working. Whew!

    Your socks are amazing (someday my socks may be so good)!

  15. Veronique

    I’m so glad that you are forging ahead, showing knitters to NOT be afraid of math! Seriously, we all went to high school, and all the math skills we learned there should be sufficient to solve knitting problems.

    Come on people, they are just numbers!

  16. Bridget

    Hurray for the triumph of math over guessing! As another nerdly knitter, I highly approve! Those socks are beautiful, as is all your work. Great job!

  17. *thera trico e croche*

    olá,visitando seu blog,amei também faço meias com 5 agulhas,tenho blog de trico e croche,espero sua visita seu parecer e sua amizade,que tal trocarmos os links?o meu é *thera trico e croche*aguardo sua resp:


  18. *thera trico e croche*

    olá,visitando seu blog,amei também faço meias com 5 agulhas,tenho blog de trico e croche,espero sua visita seu parecer e sua amizade,que tal trocarmos os links?o meu é *thera trico e croche*aguardo sua resp:


  19. ali

    Way to conquer the math! When people ask me how I could ever come up with my own designs and patterns I always tell them ‘it’s all about the math!

    happy knitting,


  20. Dove

    I did similar math the other day when trying to do a vest with a cabled (but only slightly) front and stockinette back. It worked! Who knew all those years of math were actually going to be useful.

  21. Kit

    Dang. Your smarts leave me as awestruck as your knitting. And here I was proud to have finished my shawl the other night with only 6″ of yarn left over. Dang, girl!

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