Fresh off of my Jaywalker euphoria, I cast on for another pair of socks. Well actually, that’s not the full story.
(Why are my sock stories always sagas?)
I had this ball of Magic Stripes yarn in the Denim Stripe color way which I bought last Christmas. I’m totally aware of people’s feelings about this yarn, but for some reason it just called to me.
While I was still working on my first Jaywalker, I cast on another pair in this yarn and plugged away.
I actually got almost to the heel-turning point before the concept of yardage entered my mind. 330 yards divided by 2 gave me much less yarn than I needed for a full pair. About 25% less. I did some math, I weighed some things, and when it came down to it, I didn’t really want Jaywalker anklets badly enough to have to calculate what percentage of the cuff to rip back. I also really didn’t want to knit a whole pair of socks constantly sweating the yardage.
I contemplated trying to find another skein in this dye lot (90), but Ravelry turned up empty and I couldn’t find it for sale online. It occurred to me that they weren’t lying on the package. It really could provide two socks in one ball, just not two Jaywalkers.
A-frogging I went. Man, it never really gets easier.
I decided the best way to handle my predicament was with math. This is probably a strange concept since this whole dilemma started by an aversion to math, but there it is.
I weighed my skein, measured my foot, then… made a gauge swatch. It is indeed the world’s twee-est gauge swatch, and I felt ludicrous doing it, but it was informative. I got exactly 8 stitches to the inch, and if I were estimating, I would have said 6.5.
I plugged some numbers into a brilliant worksheet, and suddenly I was casting on for toe-up socks.
The pattern is brilliantly simple (Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula from Knitty, summer 2006). It began with a crochet cast-on, a short-row toe (interesting and very easy), then undoing the crochet, picking up the live stitches and working in the round. I mangled the crochet in unpicking it, but I didn’t have any problems with the live stitches.
From there, I just zipped along. During a phone conversation with my mother and brother (they put me on speaker), I finished the foot. When I hung up, I turned the heel in literally a few minutes. I was amazed.
I weighed my sock at this point, minus the weight of the needles (can you tell that my digital scale is my new favorite toy?). It is 32.4 grams, leaving me 16.4 grams for the cuff, approximately 54 yards (I could explain all this math if you’re really interested, but it involved cross-multiplying and ratios). I think that will be plenty.
I really love this yarn, which consistently surprises me. I see baseball, Americana, and sometimes the 1970s when I look at it. Occasionally it makes me think of clowns, and though I’m genuinely terrified of clowns, this yarn mitigates that and I just enjoy it. It ventures into that “so wrong it’s right” territory for me, and for that, it’s won my heart.
I also have unending love for this pattern and its adaptability. I carefully tried my sock on at the point of this last photo, and the fit is spot-on. It is exactly the right toe-to-heel distance and has a really enjoyable snugness. It probably helps that my foot has exact measurements of 9 inches circumference and 9.5 inches length. My worksheet yielded beautiful numbers (64 stitches, exactly 8 inches for the sole etc), which has only added to the pleasure.
I have skeins of two more sock yarns due to arrive soon, and I may use this pattern (or another toe-up) for both of those. I like not having to worry about yardage. I like it a lot.