Books · Craft · Knitting

Knitting socks (which actually fit)

Yesterday I picked up my knitting and started a new sock. It’s for a friend from yarn they bought. I have their foot measurements already, so I did a gauge swatch (I know, shocking for me!) and figured out the maths of the whole thing. This is much, much more organised than I usually am in sock knitting, but there’s a reason for it: if I’ve worked it out right, they’ll actually fit my friend.

In the past I’ve been lax about this, bizarrely. I’m a bit of a lax person when it comes to fine details anyway, so it’s not a shock that it transferred over to my knitting. Relaxed, that’s what I am. That sounds a lot better than ‘absent-minded and all over the place’. Sometimes I’ve knitted socks that barely fit my foot and are too loose around the leg, but I don’t care. I kept them, I wear them. I’m stubborn that way, and I still love my creations.

However, it is possible to make socks that actually fit, and I learnt that last year.

I think I mentioned that my friend and I went to a class with Kate Atherley at The Purple Purl. We turned up late because Toronto traffic is evil but even in that time we learnt so much.

Kate Atherley has very strong feelings on socks. I respect that. She showed us how to measure our feet and what gauge to aim for and what yarn is best for socks. By the end of the night I was so inspired by the awesomeness that is knitting and maths that I went out and designed my own shawl – not sure how that is what my brain took out of it, but you can’t account for the little grey cells.

If you want to learn about this magic and set your knitting brain aflame, you should check out Kate Atherley’s book Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet. No, this is not a sponsored post; I do not yet even own this book, though it’s on my wishlist and one day I shall have it, it shall be mine, my precioussss. However, I’ve had enough looks at it to know that it’s incredibly useful.

Even better, it’s logical thinking that’s tricked my illogical mind into actually planning ahead when knitting something. Sometimes. Okay, occasionally at best, but it’s a start.

Do you use unmodified patterns for socks or do you do your own thing to make it fit perfectly?


12 thoughts on “Knitting socks (which actually fit)

  1. I modify freely, but I also gauge swatch and have foot measurements (e.g., cardboard or hard plastic foot patterns) handy. I’m pretty fearless when it comes to knitting socks, but tend to prefer knitting socks with yarns that are high twist and/or contain 10-20% nylon. My tile floors ‘eat’ socks if I use yarns that are softer.


    1. I realise I am replying to this really late and for that I apologise.

      I completely agree with you on the nylon part – I actually don’t like knitting 100% wool socks. I can make them last a while fortunately but I much prefer to have the nylon to keep it sturdier for longer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries – I just now saw your comment, so apologies are mutual! While the crunchy hippie in me likes the idea of just plain wool (preferably handspun, at that), the practical side of me realizes that I probably need a little nylon in my socks to keep my tile floors from destroying the socks within a year. I don’t knit that much for myself – so I’d like what I do knit for myself to last!

        Thanks for reading.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m still procrastinating, with the socks. I’m a pattern girl all the way still not happy going off the reservation. I’m trying to be fearless but working on the abilities first.


    1. That’s fair enough – I love knitting with a pattern too, it definitely helps hone the skills. I’m sure you’ll get there to the point where a pair of socks will flow naturally though!


    1. That’s an awesome way to do it. I did that with my first pair, I believe; not three patterns, but I used a different heel than suggested because I liked it better. I’m glad that worked out for you for sure!

      (Sorry for the late reply!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m a newbie on the sock knitting front, so far I’ve only ever followed a pattern ~ each one with a heel flap and picked up stitches I’m eager to try a ‘proper heel’ if you know what I mean LOL can you recommend a fairly simple one to try


    1. I’m not sure about the heels, to be honest – I love heel flaps and swear by them. They’re my default. I suppose a lot of people like short row heels but honestly I’m fixed on heel flaps. I once tried an afterthought heel and hated it!

      Do you like the heel flap or are you looking to change for frustrated reasons?

      (Sorry for the late reply!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a heel flap type of girl, I just wondered if you had experience of short row heels and what your preference would be ~ as for an afterthought heel as far as I’m concerned it’s not going to happen LOL


  4. I started by following ‘all the math’ pattern, which gave me the basic numbersf, and have started modifying various bits at various times (although not too many at once because I am cautious)


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