Saturday, November 10, 2007


I haven't been very good about blogging lately, have I? But I haven't made much knitting progress, so there's not much point. I'm recovering from the too-sick-to-knit thing, trying to catch up on school and house work, and trying to make the apartment look presentable enough for the upcoming Secret Pal Reveal Party. This would be a challenge even if we didn't live here - since I'm still unpacking from last fall's hurried move - but since we do actually live in the place it seems like our organizing and cleaning is constantly being undone. What's up with that?

And, sometimes, knitting hasn't been much fun. Here's my Coriolis sock from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I'm insanely happy with the way the Fleece Artist yarn is knitting up. I like the look of the finished pattern. But the math is driving me nuts.

I don't like to do gauge swatches, especially for socks. It made perfect sense to me that, for a toe-up sock, I'd knit until it fit, and go from there. So my gauge of 8 stitiches to the inch for a sock 7.5 inches around gave me 60 stitches. I thought I'd look at the "Magic Numbers" tables, and see what a sock with 8 stitches and 7.5 inches was supposed to be.

I began to worry that something was wrong when I looked for the "After Arch Increase" number, since it didn't quite add up to the "1.5 x the number of stitches around" promised by the book. But a lot of the numbers on the chart didn't seem to add up, so I thought it must be OK.

Then it was time to place markers to begin the heel, and that's when everything really went downhill. Nothing added up. I had to go back to the first magic numbers to find out why.

It turns out that 8 stitches x 7.5 inches = 54 stitches. 60 stitches = 8 inches x 8.5 stitches, or something like that. Apparently the magic numbers require removing a few stitches to make the sock fit snugly, and that the 7.5 inches refers only to my foot, not to my sock. I am not so trusting about this "snug fitting" part, since I've had socks shrink.

I would like to rant and rave about how Cat Bordhi's sock book stinks, how she obviously can't do math, and that the pattern is impossible to follow. But it's hard to do that when I didn't really read the book. Many people say that it's important to work carefully through the book, and to forget everything you know about making socks. I'll wholeheartedly second that.

I'll confess to being a little disappointed in the book. Some of the constructions that looked really exciting and funky proved to be less funky on closer reading. A lot of the socks are made with a worsted weight yarn - often held double - at a gauge more suitable for armor than socks. But I still like the Coriolis sock, and I have plans for what I'm going to do next (probably Jeweled Steps, from my Alpaca Sox), so I'm pretty happy overall.

But I'm still not thrilled about having to sit down with pencil and paper (but no calculator, at least!) to make socks.


Blogger Dotty said...

I agree with you on the fit. Cat assumes half an inch of negative ease so all her magic numbers work from that assumption. But most sock knitters don't knit that way. Most sock knitters want to know the finished width of a sock. I am currently knitting a spiraling coriolis sock per her instructions knowing full well that it won't fit so that I know what to adjust when I make socks that *will* fit.

11:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home