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We are almost ready to start knitting our socks.  We will be ending up with socks that look like either this (plain):

or like this (with a rib down the back seam)

We are going for simple and easy.  To this end we are using a pattern that you can read 3 ways: the basic sock pattern here, which also comes in an algebraic version (which is what I use) and a pocket reference version which I live by.

The reason I use this pattern is that it uses your gauge swatch to work out how many stitches to cast on etc…  no messy calculations or measuring calves, ankles, toes or insteps.

If you have your yarn and needles you can prepare for our start by doing a gauge swatch.  HOWEVER you must do a gauge swatch in the round as a back and forth gauge can be different to how you knit in the round.  To do this easily without  actually knitting in the round watch this video and swatch about 25 stitches for about 15/ 20 rows.  You want enough to get an inch of even knitting out of it- and yes the first and last stitches will be very loose.  It is a swatch- it doesn’t matter.

Note:  If your yarn can stand up on it’s own you are probably knitting too tightly and will want to go up a needle size.  While sock gauge has to be fitted, it cannot be too loose or too tight.  If you are not sure- that’s what I am here for, send me a pic on twitter and we can have a look at it together.

We will probably start on the main sock next weekend- so get your needles ready and lets swatch!

More help from KnittingHelp.com: Thankfully, there is a trick to working a gauge swatch for knitting in the round. You knit a flat stockinette sample using all the knit stitch by doing the following: *knit a row; slide the work to the other end of the circular needle or DPN; leaving a long strand of yarn in back. Repeat from *.  If you leave the strand in back long enough, you can use it up by knitting with it for a row.  This removes the strands from dangling behind the swatch, but is entirely optional.  In any case, the end of the row will be loose and messy, so add about four stitches to your swatch to accomodate this.

My Swatch using 2.5mm needles, I have a small swatch on 2.75mm as well but it is easy to see when stretched a little bit that it is too loose, therefore 2.5mm is the correct size needle to use.

2.75mm swatch- too loose