unexpected

I’ve learnt a lot since becoming a knitter. About all sorts of things I had never thought I’d need to know about. One big topic has been the construction of clothes and – sizing. Yes, sizing is the hot issue in knitting currently. But let’s leave the “main” sizing issues for some other occasions (I do assure you I’ll have a few words to say on the topic eventually), and look at one completely unexpected sizing issue that has sprung up on me recently.

How should I explain it? Well, it’s pretty easy, actually. I’m trying to knit size 42 socks. My foot is size 38.

I have two sock knitting books on hand. And guess what! While they both give useful suggestions for several sizes in terms of foot width, in terms of length they are leaving me completely stranded.

Knit until approximately 7.5 cm shy of the total desired length of the foot. Aha, thanks. And what if I am not knitting for myself? I am really baffled by these instructions. Shoe sizes of all things in the world are fairly standardised, so can’t you at least give me some idea of how long a 42-size foot is? Can’t you assume that if I am knitting socks for someone it is much more likely that I will ask them for their shoe size than order them to tape-measure their foot? Or do you not knit socks for other people, dear author? I don’t get it.

Oh and – help, please! Sock knitters out there, how do you deal with this? I can’t be the first one to have banged my head against this question!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , by fridica. Bookmark the permalink.

About fridica

I started knitting completely by accident, when I was visiting my parents for a holiday in 2008. On a boring Sunday afternoon, I decided to dig through their stash of books to see if there was anything interesting to take back to my apartment. A knitting manual happened to be one of the books I found. I got curious, my mom immediately dug out her old needles and yarn stash (which she hadn’t used in a decade at least), and in a few minutes we were both casting on - she by memory, I by following the instructions from the book… :) Since I normally prefer learning from books, this was ideal.. I took the book home with me, and very very soon - I was an addict.

17 thoughts on “unexpected

  1. I understand your frustration. The last socks I knit were sized for the shoe size and they were way to small. I ended up knitting another pair in a ladies large size when normally I wear a small and they fit perfect. When knitting for others I usually gauge their foot size to mine and make any adjustments in width and or length – basically I guess :)

  2. The sock book I have actually has a table of US shoe sizes and what those correspond to in length/width/EVERYTHING. Sensational Knitted Socks. Really good book. :)

  3. For a size eur 40 (my size) I use the metric 25cm. I know I will begin my toe decrease 5cm/2″ before desired total lenght.
    As for knitting for someone else, I’m quite new at this too. I’m currently working a pair of socks for my dad (eur44.5/28.5cm). I know he has a high instep and larger feet than me. So I chose a stretchy pattern (ribbing is perfect) added a few stitches at circumference and simply measured his heel lenght (which determins instep hight).
    Anyway, Luisa’s link to international shoe size is very clear and gives you both metric and international shoe sizes. You should be okay. :)
    Good luck!

  4. Hi, my first pair of socks were a bit tight so I learned my size by error. The next pair I made a bit longer and now I know my size. Judy

  5. I have the same size feet but I am afraid I cant help as I knit mine from the cuff down. I usually start my toe decreases at the bottom of my big toe and they turn out perfectly fine, and I only cast on 60 sts to start with.

  6. So far I’ve only knit socks for myself so I didn’t have this problem. What you might try is to find a conversion chart for different shoe size measurements (European, which we mostly use vs. inches vs. cm), such as these found on this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoe_size. Than you’ll have a standard of sorts agains which you can measure. If nothing, you can see how your own 38 measures against different systems and then work out how large your 42 sock needs to be. Not sure I’ve made it sound simple? :)

  7. My “rule of thumb” (in centimeters) is that the foot from heel to the beginning of the toe (where you’d start decreasing if you were knittin top-down, so I guess it’s where you stop increasing, when you’re knitting toe-up) is equal to half the shoe size in cm. I.e. if you’re knitting for a size 42, the lenght from toe-ending to heel should be 21 cm.
    Does this make any sense? It works great for me, I must admit.

  8. Haha! I just don’t knit socks for other people, unless they have the same shoe size as I do :P

    But if I WERE to knit socks for people with another shoe size, I’d do what Heklica suggested. That seems a sensible way to do it.

  9. That would be a (sock) problem. All I can say is that the one time I drew an outline my kids foots sizes on cardboard, and took the cut outs with me to France where shoes are cheaper, I ended up with totally the wrong size shoes – though they fit the cardboard prints perfectly! I guess feet are tricky tridimensional things!:)

  10. I took a sock class once, and my instructor advised to trace the outline of the foot of whomever the wearer would be, standing up against the wall–then take measurements from the tracing. If you don’t see the person very often, you could also get them to trace their own foot and mail it to you. She also advised that it’s best for someone else (not the person whose foot is being sized) to do the tracing so that they’re putting their weight on their feet normally. And be sure to measure both! Most people have slightly different sized feet. I’ve always had good luck with this!

  11. I too was thinking the other day that if I knitted socks for someone else, it might be difficult to know if it fits without having this person trying it on. Not only for the length… Sizing is definitely a challenge in knitting ;-)

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