the trouble with sock sizing

Here I am, sitting with my two favourite books on socks, both informative, educational, detailed, well thought-through. And yet, they are both utterly useless in helping me out of my conundrum. You see, I’m knitting socks for my mum, whose foot size is totally different from any of the feet I have close to me.

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And yet, the thorough introductory sections and the 38 patterns included in these two books all say the same: Work even until the foot is approximately xy cm shorter than the desired finished length. Assuming, of course, that you have the foot at hand and can therefore easily slip the sock-in-progress on and check them against your desired finished length. So what if you don’t?

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Is there a better answer than the only one that comes to mind now, which is try to eyeball it and keep your fingers crossed until December, when I plan to hand over loads of socks to loads of family members (as a surprise), all with vastly different foot sizes? Is there an obvious thing I’m missing? Or a magical chart somewhere on the internets that will tell me everything I need to know, if only I’d be bothered enough to google for two minutes? Help!

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p.s. This is another pair of plain vanilla socks knit from the toe up, in the magnificent
Ancient Threads Sockittome Select, one of my all time favourite sock yarns.

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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.

7 thoughts on “the trouble with sock sizing

  1. This is my go-to chart for hand knit sock sizes (Googling Hand Knit Sock Size Chart will bring up results with different formats). This one is in American sizes, but I think it has enough information to easily convert to European if needed.

    http://myjewelthief.typepad.com/myjewelthief_knits/2009/11/shoe-size-charts-for-knitting-socks.html

    I like this one because it tells you how long the whole foot should be, then breaks out how long the toe and heel are.

    You probably already know this, but I have to remind myself, if a foot is wider around, and you don’t account for it, the sock with stretch width-wise and shorten length-wise when worn. I knit the same length and width for my husband and I, and even though his feet are longer, because my feet are wider, they fit us both, they’re just a bit more snug on me. :)

    • Thank you!
      Yes, I’m aware of the width issue as well, which makes things even more complicated. I think the best solution would be to only knit for people who have the same sized feet as me :D

  2. since my son likes handknit socks I traced his foot on a page in a favorite pattern book many years ago. that way I can knit him a sock without him knowing.
    also I some times compare my foot to other peoples that I want to knit socks for. funny how you can get people to line their foot up with yours for a quick comparision. but easiest of all is asking what size shoe they wear and then knitting to that length.
    ps. I love the shorties( or ankle socks)

    • Thanks! My mom wanted shorties because her lower leg gets swollen a lot and then she finds socks cutting into her legs and being uncomfortable. I hope this does the trick.

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