Thursday, 23 October 2008


I have been trying to get on with the Salish Sea Socks. They were, for goodness sake, from the 2007 Blue Moon Sock Club. 2007! I want to be getting on with the 2008 ones, which are still lined up accusingly on the shelf.

The Salish Sea Socks are designed by Cat Bordhi, and their construction is unusual and interesting to knit. However I do seem to be having a problem. I will explain a bit.

First of all I should note that my tension is spot-on. This pattern is written for STR Mediumweight, and as this is a Club kit, that is of course what I am using - and the tension is 7.5spi. I'm using 2.25mm needles for this, as the pattern suggests.

Now, the sizing. I did have a bit of a wander around Ravelry looking at people's Salish Sea Socks, and problems with this seemed to be pretty widespread. The thing is that usually the foot part of a sock is basically a straight tube, ok with a couple of little extra gussets at the side for a heel flap construction - and this sock is not.

The arch expansion, ie adding extra stitches to give the depth needed for the arch, this starts much earlier than we are used to. And this means that it is definitely harder to judge the choice of sizing. I did notice several people saying that the sock seemed large until they worked the heel turn, and then it all came into place, and it seemed sensible to pay attention to this.

Anyway, the pattern has lots of explanation, and lots of choice too. In fact, there are no less than 5 different sizes, labelled extra small through to extra large, with finished measurements ranging from 6 1/2" to 8 1/2" foot circumference.

Now, I wear a UK size 6, European size 39 usually. I need to go up a size for boots, as I have a high instep and invariably cannot get boots on my foot otherwise. My ankles are not skinny but neither are they outrageously enormous - just about the ankle bone, they measure something like 9 or 9 1/2 ". Around the ball of the foot, measured quite firmly with no ease whatsoever, my feet measure 8 1/4". Usually, a 64 stitch sock at 8 sts to the inch fits me just fine - in other words, a sock with a finished foot circumference of 8".

I do need to take care with short row heels that I allow enough depth for that instep, and I like heel flap socks because I don't need to do any extra thinking. This is a heel flap pattern, albeit worked toe up, and the designer even mentions how to work extra-pointy toes (I like socks with pointy toes) and how to give additional space for a high instep - so, all good!

I looked at the range of sock sizes. Finished foot circumference 8" was a size Large. Ok. Off we went.

By the time I was halfway through the arch expansion, it was crystal clear that this sock was going to be much too loose. Really, there was no way that this was going to be all ok after the heel turn. It was much too roomy, even right down at the toes, and I've never had that problem before. And this was the pointy-toe version too. So, frog. Try again.

Finished foot circumference 7 1/2" is a size medium. Well, 7 1/2" sounds a bit on the small side, but the so-called 8" ones really were way too big, and medium sounds good to me. I like medium. Medium sounds good, medium sounds like what I would normally pick. So, off we went.

And would you believe it is still too big?!

I am going to have to frog it again, and try with a size Small. Finished foot circumference 7", it says. That's a 52 stitch sock. Hmmmm.

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