A few months ago, Wool and the Gang sent me a kit with their new Kinda Magic Sock Yarn (thank you!) and I cast on, and then immediately got sidetracked by the holidays. And then round upon round of colds and other sicknesses. But now that it's nearly April, wanna see my sock yarn?
You have probably seen this before, it's self-patterning yarn that knits up into leopard print spots. Neat-o, right? The catch (there's always a catch) is that your gauge has to be absolutely spot-on for this to work.
But what if your gauge isn't spot-on? Or, what if your gauge is just right for the pattern but the whole sock is too big or small for your foot?
Here are four possible problems and tips for solving them. :)
Problem: pattern/spots lean left.
Tip: This is what's happening to me and you can see it most clearly in that dark blue round between the ribbing and the rest of the sock. I've knit one round plus two stitches in blue. This means I need to use an extra two stitches worth of yarn in each round. One solution is needles that are a little bigger so the gauge is looser (each stitch will be a little bigger so I'll use a little more yarn). OR, if I really like the gauge I'm at right now, I could cast on two extra stitches and adjust the pattern accordingly.
Opposite problem: pattern/spots lean right.
Tip: In this case, there's too much yarn being used in each round. If I had done this, you'd see that the blue stripe didn't make one full round. Try smaller needles for a tighter gauge OR try casting on fewer stitches.
Problem: The pattern looks good but the SOCKS ARE TOO SMALL.
Tip: Uh oh. Changing needles or casting on more stitches is going to mess with the pattern. Here's an idea that I haven't tried but seems like it should work: choose a stretchier stitch pattern. Maybe a panel of lace/mesh along one side of the foot?
Opposite problem: The pattern looks good but the socks are too big.
Tip: How about incorporating a stitch pattern that tightens the sock, like some ribbing or cables?
Bonus tip: Don't worry about it! Especially if you're new to socks, the best approach is probably to have fun and try to make socks that fit your feet, regardless of exactly how the patterns works out.