This is not an optical illusion

One of these things… is entirely not like the other!

And sadly, it’s not an optical illusion! Here’s another visual.

The sock on the right, in addition lacking a toe, is about 2″ shorter than the sock on the left!

As I cast-on for the second Belle Époque sock, I noticed that the leftover skein was looking mighty skimpy. Huh, I thought, it’s going to be a tight squeeze! I remembered being warned about the scant yardage of Colinette Jitterbug – 320 yards for a pair of socks… For comparison, Lorna’s Laces spoils me rotten with 430 yards/pair! But it wasn’t until I had fully started the second sock that I finally threw the thing on the scale.

Whaddayouknow… the first, knit with abandon, loving the yarn, better make these generous for grandma, grown-up sized sock had consumed about 60% of the available yardage. And now it… I mean, I, will suffer :(.

The plan is simple: I crunched some numbers and figured out that in order to distribute the yarn equally between the two socks, the first sock had to donate about 3 pattern repeats to the second.

Naturally, this donation will have to come from the cuff of the sock – grandma’s feet are not shrinking in length any time soon! Anklets were not my original intent, but I’m going with it – grandma loves all of her socks equally, there are no favorites (so she tells me).

To cannibalize the yarn, I’m going to thread a length of waste yarn through the round in question, snip above, unravel, re-knit the picot edge (or maybe just graft the original? I haven’t decided), and use whatever is left for the second sock’s toe. I call on the Power of the Maths to make sure the cannibalized amount will be enough!

As for the technique, good thing this is not my first time! Mia shrug, Filati tunic, and the Kristen hat have all paved the way for this next surgery. Wish me luck!


56 thoughts on “This is not an optical illusion

  1. Bertha

    I am glad your trust in maths is greater than mine (dirty, lying maths). I am sure you will be successful and they really look great at any length! I love this colorway so much!

  2. Nancy

    Yikes! This is why I like to knit my socks 2s2c. I weigh my yarn and then divide it into two equal balls, and match it up if it is self-patterning. I don’t like toe-up though, but many people would also tout that in this case, too. Your photo is burned in my brain! Good luck with the grafting. Anyway, the socks are beautiful.

  3. karen w

    Wow. You’ve got a lot of trust in those (as Bertha put it) dirty, lying maths.

    The socks and color are gorgeous, so I’m confident you will prevail over the maths. 🙂

  4. Heide

    My fingers are crossed that it all goes well with the procedure… heck, you’re Grumperina, you don’t need luck. I would like to add though that I’d probably cut on the wrong side of the waste yarn and be in a real pickle. The yarn is pretty though and the pattern flows nicely without being too busy. Your grandmother is very lucky.

  5. Shanna

    I believe I warned you about the short yardage in your previous post about the Colinette. I have a gorgeous deep maroon jewel colored sock with a brown, blue and white toe. Oops!!

  6. Penny

    I just ordered a half skein of Jitterbug from the Loopy Ewe to go with a full skein I received from a Secret Pal – for fear of this very thing happening. Good luck to you!

  7. Megan

    Oh! It’s the knitting goddess getting back at you for your comment on knitting two socks with one needle! Bwwwwaaaaaaa!!! : )

  8. Abbey

    Best of luck, that looks like risky surgery. But clearly the benefits outweigh the downfalls. I know they will pull through. They are beautiful, uneven or not. 🙂

  9. Stellsbells

    OK…I just did the same thing a few weeks ago, and don’t know how to fix. I do have enough extra yarn left over, so I don’t have to rip the longer sock to fix, but I don’t know how to deconstruct the top of the shorter one to add the missing rounds. Might you have the time to document how to do this as you fix yours? Or point me to a source if you don’t. aarrrgghhh

  10. Jennifer

    Wow! I never knew that about Jitterbug. Thanks for the tip. I’m so sorry about the upcoming surgery. I hope all goes well. Hmmmm. How will you do the picot edge? I’d be interested in seeing those pictures.

  11. Angie

    A big difference between my attempts at things like this and yours is that you can apparently do the math part correctly and I (apparently) cannot. Everything SEEMS fine when I do my initial calculations, but it never works out exactly as planned. I’m in awe!

  12. Snowbird

    Let’s see….

    I would be throwing up right about now. Not really. I’m not courageous enough to cut and graft, but may the “math” gods be with you! Waiting for the next post!

  13. Marie

    When reading of your knitting adventures I can never decide whether you are utterly confident of the math bits or just plain fearless. Maybe some of both?

  14. Holli

    Okay – wow! Grafting sounds scary to me. But from the links to your other projects, you’ve definitely got the skills to make it happen. Good Luck! And do post photos of the finished (evened-out) socks, which are gorgeous, by the way.

  15. Tana

    I finished a sock yesterday with literally one yard of yarn left. I’m so scared to start the second for fear I won’t have such luck and I’ll be a yard short. Then I’ll be sitting in your shoes.

  16. Knitnana

    OH My. You are brave…very brave.

    I’d just frog. Can’t wait to see the results of your surgery, tho! I suspect you’ll be a success!


  17. Knitnana

    OH My. You are brave…very brave.

    I’d just frog. Can’t wait to see the results of your surgery, tho! I suspect you’ll be a success!

    The socks are gorgeous…


  18. Melissa

    I had to do knitting surgery once. It made my heart flutter a little, and it wasn’t even something as nice as your socks! I hope give us a documentary of what you do.

  19. ReluctantPenguin

    Very sad about the surgery. This is a perfect argument for knitting toe up socks… two at a time. With our family’s big feet and sometimes skimpy skeins of sock yarn, this is the only way to go.

  20. Jennifer

    Good luck!

    I love how you said “the plan is simple,” followed by stuff that’s way over my head.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the results!

  21. Lara

    I would just re-knit the picot edge. It would be faster and less fiddly than grating, I think. (And I am the rare freak who likes grafting.) Plus, unraveling the whole top part will be faster than running another lifeline to stop it below the picot edge.

    Good luck! (Not that you need it.) Knitting surgery can be strangely satisfying.

  22. nikki

    Aw man! I hate when that happens! I’ve only had to perform surgery on plain stockinette, never on anything with more spice. I know you and the maths can do it!

  23. Maritza

    That yarn is so lovely, as is the pattern. I love the way you illustrate in the photo what you will have to do in order to make the socks even. So funny.

  24. Jómy

    You’re amazing!

    This realization would be the place where I grumble, throw the socks on the floor in a crumply mess, come back later, and frog the whole thing.

  25. mari


    I probably would have ripped all the way back on that first sock to get rid of the extra repeats. Your way sure saves a lot of time and work.

  26. Seanna Lea

    Gosh. The Jitterbug might be the only sock yarn where I might run out of yarn! I normal only use about 6o grams (I’d have to double check on the scale, but I’m pretty sure it is 60) to make a pair of socks with something like Trekking. I might have to pick up some of this yarn just to check!

  27. Kirsten

    Yep, my Jitterbug wasn’t enough, either, and because of the stitch pattern I used I couldn’t do your nifty fix. I ended up ripping both socks back to the cuffs and an inch of cuff on each, then reknitting the foot. Argh!

  28. pia

    good luck! i’ve had enough weird events such as yours happen with jitterbug, that i’ll never touch it again!

  29. Lisa in Toronto

    Yes, I concur that Colinette Jitterbug skeins seem make for shorter socks for those of us with foot size 38/ US 8 or larger. I used the leftovers from my friend’s size 7 pair for the toe of mine, as I had not made the leg short enough (and I don’t knit two at a time toe-up).

    My friend also had trouble with them wearing out quickly. Too bad, as the yarn is so nice to work with!

  30. Shelda

    They are really cool socks, however. You can take joy in that! And you’ll hardly remember this little glitch (except that you’ll have it in the blog for posterity)!

Comments are closed.