Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On Fitting a Sock

Wow. I have had my butt kicked by a pair of socks. I'm working on a design project right now, with the ultimate goal of publication. A simple pair of socks, no problem. I'm good at socks. Have designed tons. I know the yarns well, I have various techniques in my repetoire. No problem, I thought.

I found a cool stitch pattern in an old, out of print, knitting book. A cool stitch pattern that would highlight the subtle striping in the chosen yarn. A simple but interesting repeat. Seemed ideal. It even had "rib" in the name. No problem. I've made plain socks, ribbed socks, cable socks, lace socks -- all sorts of socks. I am a sock goddess.

The sock goddess had her butt kicked.

What it came down to is that that the stitch pattern I chose simply wasn't stretchy enough. Yes, absolutely, it fit my leg very well. Too well. A perfect fit around the leg meant that the fabric didn't stretch enough to go over my heel. And if I added sttiches to the pattern repeat, the leg was too loose -- and I don't want slouch. Blocking didn't help -- it took out what little bounce-back there in the stich pattern. It drove me mad. I worked an entire leg of the sock in two different variations of the pattern, blocked, used foul language, changed needle sizes -- none of which helped me in the least.

Until this, I hadn't honestly spent much time considering the stretch factor in a sock fabric. Every stitch pattern, every fabric I created (ok, except for a couple of fair isle pairs dating back to my early colour experiments) naturally had enough stretch. Some socks were slouchier than others, but I'd never run into this problem before.

Lesson learnt.

I ultimately found a substitute pattern that I'm happy with, so this story will have a happy ending. But it hasn't been a happy process, I have to say.

1 comment:

AuntieAnn said...

You know, this give me hope. If you, the sock goddess, can have these problems, well then why shouldn't I? I'm not such a hopeless case after all, perhaps.