Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bad Knitting Karma and a Belated Birthday Wish

So, I have a knitting dilemma.  I have finished one lace sock, and it looks good...except that it is rather big.  I knitted a swatch, I got gauge, I measured my foot, and chose the size that would give me a bit more than an inch negative ease, and, well, it's a bit big.
It fits, it just doesn't fit as snugly as you might wish a sock to fit.  I'm afraid it's going to bunch up in odd ways when I wear it with shoes.  And I ended up shortening both the foot and the toe from the recommended length, or it would have been even bigger!  And yes, I double checked on the stockinette sole, and I was at the right gauge.

So what do I do?  Do I knit the second sock the same, and have two socks too big?  Do I knit the second sock smaller (maybe go down a needle size, or knit the next size down in the pattern), and risk having something that's too small, and then also have to tear out and re-knit the first sock?
I'll admit to being a bit stumped on what to do next.  Suggestions?

In happier news, it was Elizabeth Zimmermann's birthday on Sunday.  For the non-knitters out there, Elizabeth Zimmermann was an extremely creative designer of knitting patterns.  Not just pretty stitches, but some pretty amazingly innovative ways to construct garments.  Exhibit A of her creativity is the Baby Surprise Jacket.
Yes, it's an amorphous blob.  I've heard this referred to as "the obligatory amoeba shot".

This is for my nephew, and no, on this one I did not knit a swatch and therefore this came out somewhat larger than planned, which I suppose for a baby beats it being smaller, eh?

(Why is it that when I check gauge, it comes out too big, and when I don't check gauge, it also comes out too big?  Something's wrong with this picture.)

But, you say, it doesn't look like a baby sweater!  And what's the "surprise" part of the title?

Ta dah!  Fold it right, and sew up the shoulder seams, and surprise!  It's a jacket!  (I have yet to actually sew it up and still need to get buttons, but I'm still charmed.)

Knitting this was actually really, really fun.  It's a bit of a scary pattern - it assumes some amount of knitting knowledge (not much, really), and you have to have a LOT of faith in Elizabeth, because, while you're knitting it?  It looks like the amorphous blob.  She actually says in her original instructions, "Work will start to look very odd indeed, but trust me and press on."

Indeed, if you follow the directions (I did watch portions of the available DVD just to clarify a couple of sections), and just trust her, you get a very charming little jacket.  Well worth the effort, and truly, I found it very fun to knit.  I would highly recommend it.

So, a success at Baby Surprise, and mixed on the lace socks.  What do you think, same again, smaller, ???  Help me out!


hokgardner said...

Because I have larger than average feet, mybsicks usually end up too small and then I give them away. I think I'd knit your second sock to match the first. Having socks of two different sizes would bug me. And if they are really too big, you could send them to a certain large-footed blogger in Texas (ahem).

I will always remain in awe of anyone who successfully makes a surprise jacket. I've tried twice and failed.

Nic said...

I speak as a person who knows nothing about knitting, but I do know that I like to wear too-big socks around the house to keep my feet warm.

I say knit the same size!

Lisa C said...

I hate miss matched socks, but I'm in a different camp. I'd say knit the socks a little smaller so that they have a chance of fitting. So knit the second one smaller, see if it fits and then reknit the first one to match. But then, I've really discovered I'm a process knitter and I'm ok with doing it over if I like the results better.

Ann in NJ said...

I think I'm more of a project knitter, although I'm enjoying the lace - just interesting enough to keep you engaged, and i've finally figured out how to "read" it so I can deal with interruptions.

I actually started the 2nd same as the first, and am hoping it might shrink a little in blocking. Next sock, though, will go for less ease.

Lisa C said...

I go for negative ease on socks as I like them close fitting. I do mostly ribbed for that reason.

I hate to say it though, but blocking doesn't usually make them smaller, just larger if you need it (or same size). I asked specifically about blocking on a sweater project and everyone said it won't help it go smaller. You might get lucky. Of course this was an acrylic project which it turns out you couldn't block anyway. Figures!