Most commercial sock yarns are the same. Opal, Regia, Lang Jawoll, Lane Cervinia, Online… I’ll get about 36 stitches to four inches on US #1 needles. Without even thinking about it, I know that I should make a 64-stitch stockinette sock for myself with these yarns. I know that with Trekking XXL, I get 45 stitches to four inches on US #0 needles.
But now here is a new yarn, Cascade Heritage. It looks to be about the same thickness as the ‘standard’ commercial sock yarn. I know I have to make these socks slightly larger, ’cause they’re not for me. But swatching? Pfft. I’ll just start the sock with 72 stitches, I say to myself. The cuff can be the swatch… and oh, man, that’s large. After twenty rounds of cuff and five rounds of sock leg, I stretched the cuff out around a tape measure, and there would be no negative ease in these socks at all. Okay, well, twenty-five rounds isn’t much to rip out and start over.
Second try, 2×2 ribbing over 68 stitches, and I realized that while the socks are a much better size, I don’t really like the way that 2×2 ribbing will flow into 3×1 ribbing on the sock leg… so I ripped it out again, only six rounds this time, and started over with a 1×1 twisted rib on the cuff. Since there will be 3×1 ribbing all the way down the leg and top of the foot, I’m not relying on the cuff to hold up the whole sock. I like the look of the twisted rib, and it will fit nicely into the body of the sock.
I really like the yarn so far. It’s very smooth on my hands, and slides nicely across the needles, and what little I’ve knitted up felt pleasantly squooshy. I can’t tell yet if the colors will pool, flash, or distribute evenly. I’m hoping for the latter, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does something funky across the gusset.