WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Knitting Without a Safety Net

I’m living on the edge with this week’s WIP – for the first time ever I am knitting socks without a gauge swatch! They’re not for me, they’re for my boyfriend, who was so pleased with his first pair of handknit socks that he requested another.

I let him pick out the yarn, which many female knitters might cringe at because their male counterparts have a tendency to choose the most boring of colors. I wasn’t worried though. My man is braver than most. He picked this skein.

indigodragonfly Merino Nylon Sock - Roadkill: The Slower Red

indigodragonfly Merino Nylon Sock – Roadkill: The Slower Red

Definitely not boring! In fact, its origins are quite manly. The colorway was inspired by this picture of Joey’s garage in which he fixes up motorcycles and such.

Joey’s Garage – photo by Heather Sebastian

With the yarn decided, all I needed to do was figured out what pattern to use. I decided I would use this project to learn a new technique – knitting two socks at a time. It sounded like sorcery to me, but I love the idea of having both socks match exactly without worrying about my gauge changing between the first sock and the second or that I forgot to write down any modifications I made so I could repeat them.

Since I would be using a new technique I wanted to find a fairly simple pattern, but with highly variegated yarn like that having a little texture in the fabric helps break it up a bit and prevent it from looking like a hot mess.

After quite a bit of browsing I settled on Hermione’s Everyday Socks which uses a few well-placed purls to add some texture to the pattern. All I had to do was size the socks to fit my boyfriend’s feet!

Here’s where I descended into chaos…I cast on for the socks right away without knitting a gauge swatch. Why? Well, since I was trying a new technique I wanted to try it out with a realistic road-test. I figured the cuffs could sort of be my gauge swatch. If they ended up too big or too small I could just frog it and start over, having gained some two-at-a-time knitting experience in the process. I just grabbed some 2.25mm circulars (a pretty standard sock-sized needle) and went for it!

Micah's Everyday Socks CO

Knitting two-at-a-time was pretty awkward for the first 10 rows or so, but once there was a bit of fabric to guide me it was surprisingly easy! It’s really just a form of Magic Looping, the only difference is needing to keep track of two balls of yarn and making sure you knit things in a certain order.

Once I finished the cuff I had boyfriend try them on. They fit!

Micah's Everyday Socks start of leg

I proceeded to the leg. Once I finished the leg I had boyfriend try them on again. They fit his leg!

Micah's Everyday Socks - partway through leg

Then I had him try the leg portion on over his foot since the leg and the foot of the sock are supposed to have the same number of stitches. That was the first sign of trouble – it was too loose for his foot. If I pulled it tight enough to fit his foot the same way his first pair of socks did I would have to lose about 12 sts. That sounds like a lot to me and I don’t remember having that much trouble figuring out how to get his socks to fit the first time, so now I’m starting to worry that the I might have screwed myself over by not having a gauge swatch.

Micah's Everyday Socks - gusset picked up

I already finished the heel and did the gusset decreases up until the point where there are the same number of foot stitches as there were leg stitches. Based on the measurements I made I should continue the gusset decreases until there 12 less foot stitches than leg stitches. My gut is telling me that’s too tight. I think I’m going to put a lifeline in before I continue.