Another pair of socks is off the needles and on my very happy feet. This is RedTwo, the second pair of red socks, and number four of the sock family, finished in late afternoon of July (not June!) 6.
Pattern refinements continue, and these fit the best so far. Yarn is Ella rae Classic, 100% wool, worsted weight, knitted on size 5 US, at 6 1/2 stitches/inch and 8 rows/inch. They were just off the needles when I took these pictures--not washed, not blocked. The asymmetric toe shaping gives my long and upturning big toe plenty of room, without extra knitting wadded up in front of my little toe.
July 8...Added some under cut--comments on commercial heavy wool socks & comparison pix.
My problems with commercial socks began some years back when a) I began to have swollen ankles & feet while traveling (later, all the time) and b) commercial socks began using more, and fiercer, elastic, with ever tighter (and smaller) ankles/legs. The kind of socks I'd been buying before were no longer available.
Because I have long feet (for a woman) I'd never been able to buy "fits all women" socks. Hiking socks from some companies came in small (supposedly fit all women), medium, large, and extra large. I had to buy men's sizes (and the ribbed part was often then too long for me, making the unstretchy tops even more uncomfortable. Having a deep groove in my leg, the marks of ribbing all the way down, and more swollen feet...isn't healthy.
I tried laboriously cutting all the elastic threads in these socks with embroidery scissors--and that helped some--but the very top, the "cast on" of the ribbing, was just flat too small. The gusset space--from heel to the leg-foot angle of instep--was too small, making getting my foot into the sock at all a struggle. And the thick toe seam--with a bulgy bit at either end so that one "knot" always dug into my big toe...also not good. I started wearing these commercial socks inside out, so at least something cushioned my toes from the abrasion and pressure of the seam.
Here are some comparison pictures I took this morning.
Slightly worn commercial ragg-wool sock v. hand-knit completed early-mid June
Notice that except for the length of ribbing, all parts of this sock are smaller, especially the space from heel angling to top of foot--these socks were so tight over the instep it was hard to bend my foot.
Same two socks, showing how much smaller, and narrower, commercial sock is.
The inside of commercial sock, and inside of latest red sock just pulled from foot.
Thinner commercial socks had similar problems, though men's dress socks did have flatter toe seams. Women's socks were always too short from heel to toe (so the heels had to slide down under my heel); men's socks the length of my feet were always too narrow, and elasticized so strongly they cut in and made circulation and swelling worse.
I was able to wear hand-knits for all of A-Kon and it made a huge difference to my feet--and thus to my mobility and my mood. Painful feet just do not make happy campers. With four pairs of hand-knits, and my own "sock towel" to roll them in for drying (they would stain a hotel's white towel slightly) I'm now almost ready for longer trips and conventions. Could probably make it, in fact, but I want a few more pair to allow for emergencies (and the inevitable wearing-out of these.)
I've just pulled all the old wool socks out of the sock drawer...they're going away. RedTwo is soaking in its first wash. The other three are now inhabiting the sock drawer.
And now, those who aren't knitters and have wondered why spend the money and time to make my own, you know why. Happy feet. It's all about happy feet (and the ability to walk farther with less misery.)