This blog could have so many titles.
Something like “Got Gauge? NO!” would work.
Or “Too Smart for my own Socks.”
Or “Oops! There will be a slight delay in your Birthday present!”
I decided to knit a pair of socks for my sister in law Katy’s birthday which is today! Happy Birthday Katy!!!!
She has petite feet, not much bigger than her daughter Taylor’s feet. I picked a sock yarn I thought Katy and Taylor would like. Obviously Taylor would need to approve of the yarn choice in order for this to be a successful project. I thought I had done well in my choice of an easy care washable wool ( for Katy who does the laundry) in pink with a metallic fiber and soft grey irregular stripes (for the almost six year old Taylor who LOVES pink). The metallic fiber was to give the socks a bit of glam. Katy lives nearby in the eternally wet north woods, but that doesn’t mean her socks and therefore her life can’t have glam.
A couple nights ago, when I still thought the project was sailing along well, I read a discussion of gauge in Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s latest knitting book Knitting Rules. She had my number inspired me to promise myself I REALLY would knit a proper gauge swatch on my next sweater project, so I would no longer have sweaters the size of small countries. Really, I would deal with that lazy enthusiastic streak that saw me skipping over doing a gauge swatch. With a gauge swatch under my belt, it would be much more likely that I would knit the project on the right size needles and end up with the right size sweater. This seemed like a sensible alternative to wasting six zillion hours knitting a sweater that would easily fit a small hippo.
As I read her book, I laughed to myself, thinking how great it was that I HAD SOCKS DOWN COLD and didn’t need a gauge swatch for them! I always got gauge with my socks! ( famous last words)
By this time, I had knit the whole top of Katy’s sock with a ribbing so that it would fit on her lovely slim ankle like a…. well fitted sock! I was so impressed with myself that I hadn’t bailed out on ribbing an inch or two into the sock like I usually do, but had kept on doing this tedious ribbing all the way down the ankle part of the sock to give Katy this really nice fit.
I knit the heel flap and then turned the heel. This is always a magic moment as far as I am concerned. Don’t you non- knitters out there WONDER about the magic of socks making that right angle turn? I always did and it amazes me how it is done. But this time my amazement was somewhat dampened by alarm bells ringing. This sock seemed too large. I knit a bit longer and had that unpleasant and all too familiar knitting experience. That sinking I HAVE GAUGE PROBLEM feeling.
I could no longer deny the truth. Katy’s sock was enormous. It was too big for Katy’s foot. Why it was too big for Katy’s husband’s foot too. It was too big for Katy’s husband’s head and he has a big Sheehan head!
Somehow I had knit with a sock wool that was just a tad thicker than my usual sock wool and because I hadn’t knit a gauge swatch, I hadn’t noticed that this thicker wool was going to knit up into a bigger sock….
Suddenly, I had this extra large pink sock on my hands. One of a kind because I don’t know any elephants to give a pair to!
Happy Birthday Katy! Think of me tonight, back to the drawing board to try and do better next May 23rd!