Some time in the past, a blog reader from Ohio named Leslie (hi, Leslie!) commented with a question about socks. Luckily enough, I was able to grab a moment to answer it with a piece of advice, and I asked her if she minded me sharing it with the rest of you, since it turned out so well.
Her question was about fit – she’d done several pairs of hand-knitted socks, but was finding they all kept falling into her shoes and she was walking on a portion of the legs and heels instead of the soles of the feet. Since I am a large-footed tall person in a world that does not necessarily presume that the average person is a large-footed tall person, I had a pretty good idea what the fix was: The feet need to be longer. It’s a good bet that if your socks are being tugged down like that, that means there isn’t enough room in the foot of the sock for your actual foot, and the sock tries to compensate by struggling to cover your sole with the rest of itself.
This is pretty common for anybody with a Size 11 foot (or larger), who is faced with a rack of commercial socks, all of which say “Size 7-10.” I’ll give you three guesses what happens when a Size 11 footed person tries to wear socks labelled “Size 7-10″, and the first two don’t count.
This is also a problem I ran into early on during the first few pairs of socks I knitted. I think, in my mind, I kept comparing my hand knitted socks to the tight-fitting socks I was used to buying in stores, and I produced similarly-fitting socks. As a result, I’ve ended up gifting away several pairs of socks to family or friends with shorter feet than me. (They have not complained about this). Over the years that I have been knitting socks, I have become accustomed to adding a little bit more length in the foot than I did at first. It also means I keep a watchful eye on yardage before picking out a skein of yarn – with practice comes the knowledge of how comfortably far you can knit before playing chicken with yardage.
What Leslie did, though, was much more stubbornly awesome. She determined that she was not just going to gift away the too-short socks. This photo above is hers, of her hand-knitted socks, all of which have had the toes pulled out and re-knitted to be long enough to fit her feet. Now she has socks which are hand-knit AND which fit her.
It just goes to show, folks. You may not be in control of the size of your feet (or some other body parts, for that matter), but you are darned well in control of your knitting, and your socks can be however the hell long you need them to be.