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Old 01-07-2008, 03:40 PM   #1
busy_hands
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Do socks stretch or shrink?
I was just wondering if finished socks have a tendancy to shrink or stretch slightly with wear and washing.
I am using a merino sock wool and the sock so far (it is 3/4 done) is slightly tight at the gusset. I think having the needles in the work is making it difficult to gauge the comfortableness of the sock when I try it on.
Hmmm, I after reading several posts here I am considering frogging back to the end of the heel and picking up more gusset stiches. Or just continuing on and making these a gift for someone with smaller feet. What do you think?
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:59 PM   #2
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I'm not sure there is a general answer here to give you - some socks I've made are tight and others are very loose. Also not sure you can guage the fit with the needles in the work...
I would vote for finishing them and if they don't work out for you then take a picture and gift them to someone with smaller feet who will think it's super cool that you knit socks for them.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:01 PM   #3
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I think that can depend entirely on your yarn choice/gauge/needle size, etc. But if it's a little tight now, it wouldn't hurt to frog back and pick up a few extra stitches. Or, if you are so inclined, keep on making them and share the knitted sock love with someone else.
I've got some socks that I made that loosen up with wear during the day, but go right back to shape after being washed, so it's a little of both in the stretch/shrink department.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:18 PM   #4
Jan in CA
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It probably depends on the yarn, but for the most part I'd say wool won't shrink..unless it's feltable, but hopefully you're using superwash wool.

My socks were too tight at the gusset, too. I solved the problem by making the heel flap about 1/2 in longer and picking up more gusset stitches. They're great now!
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:20 AM   #5
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Tight gusset = need a longer heel flap.
I think the shrinkage or stretchage (is that a word?) depends on the yarn and pattern. If you love the yarn and pattern and really do want to keep them for yourself, go ahead and and frog back to make the heel flap longer so they will fit comfortably.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:26 AM   #6
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In my experience, socks stretch while wearing, and shrink after washing. They go back and forth between the two. Different yarns act differently, but I'm speaking generally.

As a rule, socks should fit nicely straight off the needles, without blocking. Otherwise they're very likely to be too tight after washing, or too loose while wearing.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:55 AM   #7
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If you're using magic loop, is it worthwhile to try them on while you're still on the needles, by sliding the sock off so it's completely on the cable?

In Knitting Rules, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee recommends making a gauge swatch, and then washing it, so you can see the gauge of the fabric after laundering. Is this a good idea for socks?
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:19 PM   #8
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I have to agree, it is probably depends on the material...I tend to stretch the foot part of my socks to reach the intended length, just to adjust for the slack that I tend to feel in the heel. This works for me, however I do get a little tightness on my first wear.
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:32 PM   #9
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it's kind of a pain but sometimes if i'm uncertain as you how a sock will fit and i will slip all of my stitches onto some scrap yarn so that it is off the needles and easier to try on
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