One of the first things that occurred to me when I started learning to knit was that if I could knit, I could make things that fit me perfectly. How many times do you think that has actually happened?
So far, zilch.
It isn't all that strange that I have taken to knitting shawls and long floppy hats. There is no fitting there. As much as I have tried, my sweaters are lumpy and loose with sleeves to make any greater ape happy, mittens are too tight, socks are too short. So here I was, roughly 3 years into my knitting odyssey when I began to understand just how far short I had fallen from my goal of knitting stuff that fits, and it comes to me - now that I understand construction of a sock, I should start working on fit. Duh!, you say, but this is a revelation for me, believe it or not.
I decided to build my perfect sock. Mostly because I have knit more (single-shhh!) socks than any other garment, and secondly because poor fit is most frustrating to me in a sock. I have had quite a few sock failures (mohair, need I say more?) but most of my stash consists of sock yarns, so I needed a plan. It started like this.
First, I needed to decide what I wanted out of a sock; a plain old everyday kind of sock. Yarn: Opal, because it wears like friggin iron. Also because I own 90 bajillion skeins of it, Rainforests, Hundertwassers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Apparently I am a complete whore for trick color effects, and have really questionable taste. Pattern: This was tricksy. I first contemplated what I currently wear everyday. It's Hanes cotton crew socks, machine made with a short row heel and toe, and ribbing from the ankle up. There must be a reason I wear them everyday, so I thought about it, and decided that the close fit and the ribbed cuff (which I often but not always turned down) were the items I wanted to keep. Check. Cotton I don't care much for, and the heel and toe are far outclassed and surpassed by some really superior techniques I have learned, so that was all jettisonned.
Next I thought back on all the socks I'd made before and thought about the techniques. Toe up socks were out, I haven't found a toe increase I like. Top down toes decrease smoothly, and now that I can kitchener moderately better than a baboon on acid, they are an ever viable option. Top down it is. Cuff has to be relatively short, but long enough to turn down, and no fancy Monkey or lace stitches. Two by two ribbing is the most elastic and would keep the socks snug. In one pair of socks I made the ribbing was extended over the instep and I really liked the extra cushiness under lacings, so that's in. So, heel and gusset were all that was left to choose.
Now I love a flap heel beyond all reason, but I hate the heel stitch. For some reason all those columns of slipped stitches begin to get rangey and loose, and the overall effect to me is kind of slidey, weak and unsecure. Not wanting to lose the cushion effect of the heel stitch heel, I settled on an Eye of Partridge heel, coupled with a garter edging for ease in picking up the gusset stitches. No more fumbling about the start and end of the gusset, wondering what I was picking up. I have decided to rename this combination the Eye of Keith Partridge heel. Why?
I think I love you.
This may be the only heel I ever use again. No sagging, no slippy feeling, plenty of cushion, my stitches do not grow in ever fattening columns. And best of all?
I was able to incorporate the great crush of my preteen years into the most perfect sock imaginable! How much do I rock, exactly?
So now, all that was left was to knit the thing. That's when I found out that this is only going to be my perfect pattern for Opal socks. That yarn is tiny, folks, and I being the loose knitter I am, ended up having to go down to size 00 needles to get the fabric I wanted, making this a 72 stitch sock. While our heads are reeling with the implications of that, lets have another David Cassidy moment.
So 72 stitches on 00 dpns. Top down. 2x2 rib for 72 rows down to a heel flap done in eye of Keith Partridge. Continue ribbing on instep as you decrease gussets and throughout foot of sock down to toe, where you gracefully decrease down to 20 stitches and kitchener the toe like a baboon on very weak acid (I'm getting better at this all the time). That, folks, is the sock I'd make.
And, indeed, I did make, out of Opal Rainforest, Owl colorway. Which actually looks more like it should be called smores to me.
Which makes this pattern all the more perfect to me, because not only have I managed to include the love of my life (c.1970)
But one of my favorite foods from the time period as well. Life is good, my friends, life is good.