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I don’t know what it is with me and socks, but man! I am not having an easy time with the sizing this year. I made my husband a pair of super-soft alpaca socks for Christmas, and given the fact that I had ten thousand other things to make, I decided to go with a crazy simple stockinette sock.

I was following a pattern for the heel and the toe, since I still haven’t quite mastered the geometry of (a) how far across you work for the first and second rows of the heel turn and (b) when to start decreasing for the toe relative to your gauge.

Apparently the designer who worked up this pattern was still struggling with that herself, because even though I measured my gauge perfectly and the size she indicated for the pattern would have fit my husband, the first sock came out about 4cm short in the toe.

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Trying not to despair that I hadn’t measured it before grafting the toe and weaving in the ends, I made the other sock and used the length of the decrease from the first sock to figure out when I should start decreasing. You can see in the top sock what I was aiming for.

Alpaca yarn is not cheap, and this was a no-dye-lot handspun from a local craft fair, so buying more and making extra socks to match these two was not an option. (Believe me, I considered it.) So I had to do something that I do not do: rip back.

Never before have I trusted myself to set the needles up at an earlier point in the work. Never. I have tinked a fair bit, to be sure, but if I’m more than two rows beyond the mistake, I generally hold with the Amish philosophy of, “Well, there’s the evidence that no human can create perfect work.”

Long story short: I’m going to have to do a photo tutorial on ripping back, because once you do it the first time and realize it’s not that scary, it’s incredibly liberating. Sock number one will no longer cramp my husband’s style, and I…I can rip back.

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