Kniftybits's Blog

All knitting, all the time.

Negative Ease Nuisance January 28, 2011

Today I bit the bullet (a colloquialism originating from military doctors giving soldiers a bullet to bite during surgery (fun!), see you just learned something new) and frogged my toe up sock to the round before the last set of increases.

As you may recall, I feared it was too large, so I trusted my unreliable gut and frogged.

I picked up the right strand of each stitch on the target round before letting her rip. If you don’t know this trick, check out the video titled “How to re-insert your needle” on the indispensable site (that may be two new things you learned).  All in all it went well, only a few twisted stitches (coincidentally, an awesome name for a knitting rock band) and I didn’t have any suicidal stitches make a jump for it.

I knit on with my five fewer stitches and am about half way through the foot now.  I am pleased to report that my faulty gut instincts were right on this issue and the sock is the right size, which makes we wonder about the general wisdom of the 10-15% negative ease guideline for knitting socks.

I am not sure what it is, but my last socks were also knit with 15% negative ease and frankly I have baggy old woman ankle going on. I am not pleased.

And this toe up sock was calculated with 15% negative ease, with a couple extra stitches deducted for good measure, and it was still too big.

At this point I think I need to increase to 20% negative ease as my standard, but I’m not sure why. Could it be that my gauge swatches, which I lazily knit flat for these circular projects, differs greatly from my in-the-round project gauge?  Could it be that I am a loose knitter and thus need more negative ease?  Could it be that I just am accustomed to a tighter sock?  Could it be something else entirely?

What do you think?  What is the culprit?  And have you ever had the same problem with negative ease?



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