View Full Version : Tell me the truth now.

04-10-2007, 09:09 AM
How many of you do gauge swatches for your socks? Or is the sock itself in fact your gauge swatch?

I had a little sock issue this past weekend. I was using Socks that Rock (compliments of feministmama from a year or so back) and was trying something new. I normally do a ribbing throughout the sock.....I have friends who do ribbing at the top then switch to stockinette....boring but fast and with STR, who needs a pattern, the yarn is so pretty without it!. Well, something went awry, and in hindsite, I think it was the heel - probably the rest would have been ok....anyway I ripped it all out. When I do-over - I will cast on with the same amount (56) on the same needles (Inox size 2's) as the top part was fine......

So I posted a question on the socknitters list. Many of the responses I received had to do with gauge and math and all those things that make my head swim......

So....back to the original question - do you swatch for socks????

04-10-2007, 09:15 AM
Nope, never. But, I haven't made many socks so maybe I've just been lucky.

I do make gauge swatches for everything else I knit though.

04-10-2007, 09:18 AM
The one time I did, the sock ended up being 3 times wider than it needed to be! :doh: I could fit both of my hands inside of it!

04-10-2007, 09:21 AM
I did on the last pair I knit, because I'd never used actual sock yarn and size 2 needles. I'm glad I did, because my guesstimate at my gauge was way off. On the other hand, I didn't wash/block the swatch, because I was afraid I'd run out of yarn. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't shrink or grow when it hits the water. I've never had that happen yet, but I've heard horror stories about it.


Miss Moosey
04-10-2007, 09:22 AM
I do gauge swatches, but I don't spend hours going up and down in needle sizes trying to make it perfect; I use it as a rough guide.

I figure if my socks come out too big (which is rare, as I have enormous feet), I can give them to people with bigger feet. And if they come out too small I can give them to my mom (who has small feet). And if they come out really really really small I can give them to one of my younger students!


04-10-2007, 09:31 AM
I usually do simply because I'm a tight knitter, but I've learned that since I usually have to go up about two needle sizes to get gauge, I just automatically do that.

That being said, however, I still think it's a good idea to do them. My tension has started to loosen, I believe, which made my most recent sock a bit too big around (not length, since I tried on as I went). I'm frogging the sock and doing them on the size needle recommended in the pattern.

I also have not found that my socks shrink. It's probably the cotton blend I use. Although I would be willing to bet that wool socks would shrink.

04-10-2007, 09:32 AM
always. i love socks, but i'm picky about them and want them to fit correctly.

The pair that i'm working on now, i'm on my third needle size. 3 for the calf, 2 for the ankle, and 1 for the feet. I got gage on size 2, but wanted the calf bigger. after finishing the ankle, i slipped my foot inside, decided it wasn't tight enough across the foot and switched to size 1.

04-10-2007, 09:34 AM
Interesting, ladies! Luckily with a sock its pretty easy to tell if its off or not. Easy to try on too!

I am still a relative sock newby - so am working on figuring out what works for me best. I have done 3 different heels now - and like the first one I learned the best....now that I have done several pairs, I can see what the differences are the relationships between the numbers.....so I can tailor patterns to myself.

04-10-2007, 09:41 AM
I admit that I never do a gauge swatch. I've always been confused about the math, and have just never bothered. So far, my socks have been fine, and I've never knitted any sweaters, or anything that needed to fit someone, so it has never mattered too much.

04-10-2007, 09:57 AM
If you learn to do toe up socks, you can easily try on as you go and make size modifications.

04-10-2007, 10:07 AM
I would like to learn toe-ups....waiting for silver's class on it hehehehe

04-10-2007, 10:39 AM
Hey, good to hear you like the yarn I gave you :waving: I do the smae thing, use size 2 needles and cast on 56 stitches. THey come out everytime. Well with sock weight yarn anyway. Can't wait to try Silvers toe up too! :happydance:

04-10-2007, 10:50 AM
Femmy - it is gorgeous yarn! And really interesting stripey design. Once I get the fixed rendition of it completed, will have to post. Love it!

How ya been???

04-10-2007, 10:57 AM
I would like to learn toe-ups....waiting for silver's class on it hehehehe

Silver's tutorial has been ready for a while now. Go to this (http://www.cometosilver.com/socks/2mlsocks_start.htm) page.

BTW, I really, really like doing the toe-up. I just finished my first one this way, and I LOVED the way I could try on as I went.

04-10-2007, 10:59 AM
I'm probably in the minority, but I swatch for everything.

I knit loose, and I've never been close to gauge on the needles recommended. I automatically go down at least one size, and even then I sometimes need to tweak.

04-10-2007, 11:18 AM
I swatch everything now.
But it hasn't helped much so far.
It all changes sizes on me later!

04-10-2007, 12:39 PM
Gauge? What is this thing you call "gauge"? ;)

04-10-2007, 12:46 PM
Can you do Silver's tutorial one toe up sock at a time? I am afraid that two would just freak me out!

04-10-2007, 01:15 PM
I normally don't do a gauge swatch. When making socks from the toe up, I continue increasing at the toe until the sock is a comfortable fit over my toes and the amount of stitches will work with whatever pattern I intend to use.

04-10-2007, 01:22 PM
I don't swatch for socks, but I try them on as I go, even though I always knit them top down. :teehee: It's kinda fun when it's on DPNs.

04-10-2007, 01:36 PM
Thats what I did - tried the puppy on and realized I wasnt going to be happy with it.

I did some surfing. Problem was definitely in the heel. The rest was fine. I just know not to do that heel again! ("german bootstrap heel" or some such thing).

04-10-2007, 01:54 PM
Funny, I was going to ask this same question. SO how do you swatch though with something knit in the round? Knit a flat swatch? Do you knit it in the pattern?

04-10-2007, 02:59 PM
Well, I contend still that the sock itself is the swatch. I mean, you could cast on like 20....IN THE ROUND....and do it that way too....but in order to get accurate gauge you have to do it in the round, I think!

I have tried that stupid thing where you loop it around behind....it really did not give me very accurate gauge.

04-10-2007, 07:12 PM

Here's a link to a good tute for toe-ups on 2 circs. No pattern, just 'knit until it's wide enough' instructions.

How about swatching in the round on 2 circs until you're comfortabe with the technique, even if it makes a long swatch? Then you'll be ready to tackle 2 socks. I agree that it's very helpful to use 2 circs on a single item first. After that you'll understand the process completely and be able to do as many items as the circulars can hold!


04-10-2007, 07:45 PM
I always knit a gauge swatch. I'm a very loose knitter, and if I didn't, my socks would always be too big. I don't make them for blankets, scarves, or things that don't have to be a certain size.