Among others, I check out Nona's blog nonaKnits pretty much every time I check blogs. I find she's always got something interesting for me to learn. So when she started talking about knitting socks sideways I was fascinated. I followed along and as soon as she announced a pattern I started thinking which yarn I could use.
I had a skein of Spunky Eclectic sock club yarn (Strawberry Fields) that I hadn't been able to find a pattern I thought would show it off well.
I fell in love with the idea of using this skein for the Sidewinders socks. So I started swatching. US size 2 needles (3.0mm ones) gave me too few stitches per inch (about 4 5/8" for 30 stitches). So I ripped it out. US size 1 needles gave me too many stitches per inch (3 11/16" for 30 stitches) but I liked the fabric so I just switched needles and kept the swatch. And I'm glad I did. I found I had a US 2 that was 2.75mm so I tried that. It gave me closer to gauge but still too few stitches per inch (4.25" for 30 stitches) and I don't like the fabric as much as I do the one from US 1s. The 1s give me something that feels like it will wear ok for socks. The 2s (both but the 3mm ones were even worse) felt too open to wear well.
The section below the purl row is the US 1s swatch. Above the purl row the swatch is done on the 2.75mm US 2s. You can click to enlarge that photo but I don't know if it will be possible to see the difference in the photo nearly as much as you can feel it.
The row gauge I am getting for the US 1s section is 10 rows per inch on the dot. The row gauge for the pattern is 10 rows per inch. So I am good on row gauge. But there's math to be done to figure out what to do about the stitch gauge.
I'm getting 8.135 stitches per inch on the US 1s. The pattern is written for 8 stitches per inch. So in order to get the same number of inches of knitted material I will need about 1.6% more stitches than the pattern calls for for my size foot. If I were getting gauge I would be knitting the one that is 7-8w. So I'd be casting on 116 stitches. Adding on 1.6% more would mean I'd need 117.9 stitches which is darn close to 118 stitches. A difference in length of 1.6% is only a bit more than 1/8 of an inch so I suppose I might be able to get away with just knitting the size 7-8w and not worrying about adjusting. Except that my left foot is actually 9.5 inches long and I hate short socks. I don't like long socks any better though, and they'd end up long if I went up in size to get one that the circumference would fit on and the length wouldn't be short on. So, in the end I think my solution will have to be going with the size pattern as written unless it looks obvious that I can just add in a couple of stitches in the foot and not worry about the leg section being a tad short. If I can't figure out how to add stitches to the foot maybe I'll just hope I don't feel fidgety about that missing 1.6%.
I'm definitely sick with some sort of sinus issue so if you see a flaw in my maths please tell me. It would be a kindness.