DIY SOCK FIX: Make Socks Actually Fit Your Calves!

(Topic: DIY, Crafts, Socks)

Hi Friends,

If you have calves that are anything larger than twiggy, you might notice that sometimes socks with patterns just don’t fit quite right!!

I now know to check the inside of the sock for long threads, but I still have socks in my drawer that weren’t fitting right.

So what’s the actual issue? Socks are a knitted item, and the curve of the thread going up and around, and down and around, to make a stitch, is what makes knitwear stretchy. When you work with two colors, though, the other color has to hide somewhere, and often they are just carried across the back of the knit item as a “float” (a long thread). A good knitter will keep the floats short (which will keep the fabric stretchy) or will use special techniques to integrate them but keep them hidden, and will also make sure the float doesn’t get too long. If the float gets long, then that portion of the knit won’t be able to stretch any wider than the length of the float.

So, socks: in patterned socks that are knit by machines and designed on computers (so no one is personally handling the length of each float as it occurs), there is often the potential for long floats. Many sock companies trim them for us (thanks!!!) but some sock companies just leave them there. As long as they aren’t trimmed too closely, the ends of the thread will just puff up a bit and they won’t pull out of place, so having them clipped means the sock stretches (and the design stretches too, more importantly!). But on socks where they aren’t clipped, if your leg is bigger around than the sock’s floats, then the sock is too tight, is uncomfortable, and slides down.

Note how some of the snowflakes on the leg of the sock are connected, and around the top (which is the widest part of my calf!!!) the floats connect ALL the snowflakes all the way around the sock.

The white thread they used is actually a bit stretchy, but not enough to actually fit around my calf. See how the snowflake on the top left just kinda drifts into the snowflake on the top right? Those threads are the worst problem. The long threads within each snowflake may or may not be an issue, depending on individual length.

STEP ONE:
Stretch the sock over your hand or a water bottle. This allows you to see where the tight spots/long threads are, and to access them well. If you’re not sure if it’s a long thread vs. part of the design, scrunch the sock a little: a long thread will ripple, whereas if it’s part of the design it will scrunch the same as the background of the sock.

Stretch the sock over your hand to see how the threads are too tight. Tight areas are where you’ll need to work.

STEP TWO:
Using snubnosed craft scissors (sharp points might damage the socks – I’ve lost a few that way…), slide the blades under the long strings you want to cut. Make sure you can see the tip of the bottom blade, so you know you’re not hooking the actual sock fabric.

Slide under the long threads, and make sure you can see the scissor tip again before you snip.

The threads puff up a bit once cut, which is great because they won’t slide out of the design.

Look how far it can stretch now!

Note that sometimes the sock background color has floats too. You can cut them as well. My rule of thumb: if it’s long enough that my scissor blade fits under it without forcing, then it’s long enough to be cut. Cut in the center of the float. NOTE: IF YOU CUT AT ONE END OF THE FLOAT, IT MAY SLIP OUT OF THE PATTERN AND CAUSE A HOLE IN YOUR SOCK.

When you’re done, the design on the sock will look the same, but it’ll be SOOOOO much comfier on your foot!

My tip is to check any new socks you buy to make sure they don’t have long floats – but this is a great fix for any socks that have been languishing in the back of the drawer unworn because they weren’t comfy around your calf!

Yours,

Sarah

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