Have you ever seen a sock pattern and wanted to make it for the manly man in your life? Have you looked at the pattern only to see that it goes to a woman’s size 9 and you think, “WHAT?! How the heck am I going to make it the right size? Forget it.”?
I was almost that way, but decided, uh uh, guys need socks too, let’s DO this. Of course, the sock pattern I chose just HAD to be a pain in the butt and a little complicated to construct. But you know what? Victory was mine and I lived to tell the tale! (See blurry man-taken photo of the finished product).
Let’s begin. I took the pattern for the “Half ‘n Half” socks by Patons. I was careful to keep to the same needle and yarn size for my first man sock test drive. I casted on using the German Twisted Cast on and highly recommend it. (DO NOT use a long tail cast on for socks, you need a stretchy edge. It’s a whole other post for why, but heed this advice.) It does a great job stretching, but isn’t so loose on the first row that you lose close stitch construction.
To figure out the man re-construction, I was directed to Cabin Fever “Need a Sock?” book. It took me a while to find ANY literature with information on the construction of a man sock. While I only borrowed it, I’m definitely going to buy it. It’s a little pricey, but it helps you break down every section of a sock to figure out how to custom design/alter patterns for any foot size. From this handy guide, I was able to figure out that casting on for a Size 12 man sock needed 80-84 stitches (those man calves, they’re a killer). Be sure to take into account the cuff because, just like women, if you can’t get their man foot through the hole or the sock up enough the leg, no one is wearing that baby.
The first sock I casted on was with a size 2 needle, but I thought that was a tad tighter than I wanted, I went up to 2.5 and it was better. For the cuff, I would go up . 5 or 1 whole need from the pattern size to be sure the cuff is stretchy enough. Because of the pattern needs I was working with, I casted 81 stitches.
After casting on 81 stitches I did the cuff with a ribbing of P1, K1 for 2 inches. Then I followed the leg pattern for a total of 7 inches for the cuff and leg. You might need to repeat a section of the leg to get the size proper size. For the foot I knitted 8 inches then shaped the toe for another 2.5 inches. Cabin Fever suggests a total foot length of 10.5-11.5 inches for the entire foot of this size.
For the heel, I had 41 stitches and followed the pattern’s “flap heel” construction directions for 2.5 inches before the shaping. For the sole I picked up 67 stitches (22 stitches for each side and 23 for the bottom). You can follow the directions for the heel, because the heel shaping will give you the extra (or shorter) length you need for the right foot size.
I didn’t delve too much into the specifics of the pattern, because I’m trying to give an understanding of dimensions for a “man sock,” not copy a pattern and call it a man sock. Also, these particular socks were very different from most sock projects because I had to do them flat, then sew them up at specific points (of course my first time out with a full set of socks was not kindergarten but advanced calculus). That being written, you can still use these general measurements and tips for the sock pattern you are trying to modify. I was quite upset that I couldn’t find anything on the internet about how to figure out man socks! I’m setting about to shatter the silence ;)
Finishing up my killer sweater,
-Stacy C. Cervantes