Saturday, November 07, 2015

FO: Big Socks for Big Feet

It is with happiness and no little sense of relief that I report to you that Carl's Big Dude Socks are (finally) done.

This is the first pair I've ever knit for him, so I didn't really know what to expect.  I started making plans before I realized that my gauge had changed, so right off the bat I started with some faulty assumptions.  I measured his calf, did some maths based on what my gauge had been, and cast on.

No I didn't do a gauge swatch, don't be ridiculous.

Anyway, I knew going in (and in fact made mention in this very blog) that it might take a couple of tries to get it right.  And so it did.   I knit on the first sock half-heartedly for five or six months, until I'd finished the heel flap and about half the gusset stitches.  In July I finally faced the music and admitted that the socks were too big at the calf and too small across the instep.  An uncomfortable combination at best.

There was nothing for it but to frog and start again.

The second attempt was far more successful.

One of the challenges that I needed to face was, and there's no way to put this delicately, Carl's weird-ass feet.  The diagonal line from his heel to the top of his foot (what the heck is that called?) is longer than average.  (I guess, I mean I don't really go around measuring a lot of dude's feet.  Maybe they're perfectly normal.)

(They aren't perfectly normal. They're weird.)

This bit here that's in red -- on Carl's feet that line is particularly deep.  He has bootylicious heels, or something.  Anyway, I needed to create extra room through that part of the sock.  My solution was to knit the heel flap longer.  A longer heel flap means more stitches picked up for the gusset, which in turn means a deeper gusset, which  means that his weird-ass foot foots in the sock perfectly.


And since he loves them, and I already bought yarn to do another pair, I'm going to write down what I did,  (And if you want to knit socks for Carl, or some other weird-footed dude of your acquaintance, you can too).

Carl's Big Dude Socks

CO 76 stitches, join in round, being careful not to twist (unless your man's foot is actually a klein bottle, in which case twist away, you know your business better than I do).

K2 P2 for approximately 2 inches or until you've lost the will to live, whichever comes first.

Purl across, decreasing 4 stitches evenly across, using a P2tog.  (72 stitches).

K3, P1, until desired leg length is reached.

Heel Flap

Rearrange the stitches so that there are 37 stitches on the instep, leaving 35 stitches for the heel flap. The instep should begin and end with a purl stitch -- this makes for a pretty transition down the length of the foot.

At this point you have a decision to make.  The clever among you will have realized that an odd number of stitches and a traditional Slip 1, K1 heel flap don't mix.  I solved this by ignoring it and did the following:

Turn work.

R1:  Slip 1, p across.
R2:  Slip 1, K1 across until the last stitch, K.

If that bugs you, feel free to add an extra stitch to make the heel flap an even number of stitches.  But I promise you, no one will ever notice.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 a total of 22 times (44 rows).  (A "normal" heel flap would be closer to 18 repeats and 36 rows.  This is where I built in the extra space for Carl's bodacious heel).

Turn Heel

R1: Slip 1, P19, P2tog, P1
R2: Slip 1, K5, K2tog, K1
R3: Slip 1, P to 1 stitch before gap, P2tog, P1
R4: Slip 1, K to 1 stitch before gap, K2tog, K1

Carry on repeating rows 3 and 4 until you run out of heel to turn.  (I am really assuming you are already familiar with basic heel flap sock construction.  If you aren't, I'm very sorry and would like to recommend Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's "Sock Recipe: A Good Plain Sock" as a great place to start.  It's in Sock Rules, which you should totally own.)


Pick up and knit stitches along the side of the heel flap.  You'll pick up 1 stitch in each slipped stitch chain.  You should be getting 22 stitches. (This is not rocket surgery.  Pick up the number that makes sense, and just make sure the other side matches.)

Work across the instep in pattern.

Pick up and knit stitches along the other side.

Arbitrarily decide that your round now begins at the back of the heel.  You can put a stitch marker if it would make you happy to do so, though I rarely bother.

R1: Knit to two stitches before the instep.  K2tog.  Work across instep in pattern.  SSK, K to end of round.
R2: Knit to three stitches before the instep.  K2tog, K1.  Work across instep in pattern.  K1, SSK, K to end of round.
R3: K to instep.  Work across instep in pattern, K to end of round.

Repeat Rounds 2 and 3 until 35 stitches remain on the bottom of the foot.   (72 stitches total: 37 across the instep, 35 on bottom).   If you used a stitch marker to mark the back of the heel, you can take it out now.

Work even until approximately 2" before end of foot, ending after knitting the stitches on the bottom of the foot.


Rounds will now begin right before the first stitch of the top of the foot.

R1: Knit 1, SSK, knit to three stitches before the end of the top of the foot, K2tog, K1. Knit across the bottom of the foot  (70 stitches total: 35 on top, 35 on bottom)
R2: Knit
R3: Knit 1, SSK, knit to three stitches before the end of the top of the foot, K2tog, K2, SSK, Knit to three stitches before the end of the bottom of the foot, K2tog
R4: Knit

Repeat rounds 3 and 4 until 28 stitches remain.  Then repeat round 3 until 18 stitches remain (9 on the top of the foot, and 9 on the bottom).

Kitchener closed and Bob's yer uncle, you've got Big Dude Socks!

Caveat Lector:  I just typed these notes up from memory, and they certainly have not been tech edited. They're just basic, heel flap socks with a longer than average heel flap tho'.

Project Notes

Pattern:  Basic socks, see above
Yarn:   Supersocke 4-fach Mali Color,  "Brown Shades" colorway
Total Yardage:  440 yards
Needles:    US 1.5 (2.5 mm), 2 16" circulars
Started:   January 22, 2015 and July 12, 2015, depending on how you're counting
Completed:  November 1, 2015
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