Sunday, May 13, 2007

QUICKTIP: How to see if socks will fit without trying them on

On mother's day, I will channel one of my own mother's tricks for you--a trick for figuring out whether socks will fit without actually trying them on. It works on the principle that people's hands and feet are in proportion.

Top photo (opposite)
Have the sock's Intended Wearer (IW) clasp the toe of the sock between thumb and hand- grasping as little of the toe as possible.

Bottom photo (opposite) Make a fist, then wrap the sock all way around the hand. You are aiming to get a foot length so that the heel will slightly overlap the toe.

If the heel does slightly overlap the toe, the sock will fit that person.

It is true that when in the process of knitting socks, there is not yet a toe to clasp (or, if making them toe up, there is not yet a heel to measure against.) Nevertheless, you can adapt this principle to "try on" socks without sticking your (or another's) feet into a nest of sharp and poking dpn's. The thing to do is to "guesstimate" based on having the IW clutch the sock by the needles, then wrap the already knitted part of the foot around the IW's fist. Don't forget to factor in the toe (or heel) length. The size of the gap reveals the amount of foot still left to knit.

This is also a great trick for "trying out" gift socks without revealing what you are making--have the IW shut their eyes (no peeking) and wrap away--if the IW thinks anything, they will think you are knitting them mittens.

A mother's day thought: trying on mystery garments is very intriguing to little kids--they love the drama of "no peeking!" I fondly remember my mom and grandmom doing mystery try-ons for my sister and me--mostly dresses, but sometimes knitted garments--it is one of my favorite childhood memories. Afterwards, my sister and I would speculate on what those garments could possibly be...

(You have been reading TECHknitting on: making socks that fit.)


Clair St. Michel said...

This is a great trick for sizing socks - it really works. My mother taught it to me, years ago, and I use it to this day. Thanks for spreading the word!

Brenda said...

Great tip! I've also heard, and correct me if I'm wrong, that putting a fist into the leg of the sock will give a pretty good approximation of how much the sock will be stretched on the person's foot or ankle.

--TECHknitter said...

Brenda--that sounds very useful--I hope it's true--I'll try it out on my next sock. Thanks for writing!


Kelly said...

I really love this tip and the sock!!! Could you please tell me which yarn you used?


Angelika said...

That's funny, that's how my mom used to check for sock sizes too.

lababla said...

my grand'mother used that trick. I have always been puzzled about it. My mum has bigger hands than I do, but has smaller feet. Most of my colleagues will have same hand size than I do, but some of them have bigger feet;)
I guess this works for women versus men versus kids

CricketB said...

My MIL taught my husband that trick. I use a measuring tape rather than a WIP for it. Easier if the wearer lives in another town.

jessicawings said...