In a fit over sock fit
So, I've been interested in becoming a better sock knitter. I wanted to document some of my frustrations about how unpredictable sock fit seems. I wear a size 8 1/2 wide shoe, and have big calves. My first pair was made about a year ago, in Plymouth Sockotta--straight stockinette, in order to learn the Magic Loop technique. No photo, since I gave them to my mother. 70 sts in st. st., Addi US#1 (2.5mm).
Pair #2: My Jaywalkers, in Lana Grossa Multiringel. I had to restart them several times, to get the sizing right, and ended up making the smaller size, but on US#1 Addis (2.5mm). In the end, they came out slightly loose in the feet, but definitely wearable. 76 sts in Jaywalker pattern.
Pair #3: Embossed Leaves from Interweave Knits (Winter 2005), in Koigu blue (? color number). These are my very favorite socks. They are soft, fit perfectly, and were fun to knit. I did them on Addi #2s, but had to knit very tightly to get gauge. I could probably have used Addi US #1, and relaxed a little. 72 sts in lace pattern.
Pair #4: Conwy, from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. I used Lorna's Laces in Baltic Sea colorway (love the name) on the Addi #1s again. I enjoyed the smooth, skinny, round yarn and the twist pattern (cabling with a needle seems like a little much for socks). I made them as the pattern is written, calf shaping and all. The stitch count goes down to 60 sts at the ankle, and continues that way down the foot. As soon as they were made, they fit very tightly and I wasn't sure they were wearable. However, after wearing them for one whole day, they've stretched enough to be comfy. This brings up the whole concept of negative ease, and how much is enough.
Pair #5: In progress. Vine Lace Socks from Socks Socks Socks, but in an amazing skein of Claudia Handpainted Yarns called Just Plum (006), Addi #1 again, Magic Loop. The first sock will be done in a day or two, so I'll put up a photo. If I thought the Conwys were tight, these are even smaller at the ankle. They're on 54 sts, in a lace pattern. They're just incredibly difficult to get on and ease over my heel, but once they're on they fit pretty well. I guess I'll suspend judgement until they're worn and washed once.
So, I don't think I've come close to answering the question: "What's with sock fit?" Each unique pattern makes it impossible for me to predict how stretchy the fabric will be, and how tight it will feel. If I were smart, I'd just ditch the fancy-schmancy patterns I fall for in Interweave and on various Knitalong Yahoo groups (I've joined Six Socks Knitalong, Townsend Knitalong and KOTR Knitalong; just lurking so far). I should listen to Charlene Schurch and actally measure my foot (novel idea!) and pick a stitch pattern. For my husband's socks, I'd better do just that. There's a nice sock pattern in Big Girl Knits I'd also like to try, using 2 colorways of Lorna's Laces, and relies on measuring your actual foot.
If you have any insight, I'd love to hear it. It's funny--for sweaters, which are so much more complicated to fit due to differences in women's bodies and proportions, we customize the pattern, measure 30 times and obsess over each 1/4 inch. For a sock, I just blindly cast on and do what the pattern says.
More on future sock choices next time--I'm going to need advice on what socks to knit on vacation.