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December 18, 2010



In our family, we actually share gift idea lists with sizes for possible gifts. Since I coordinate this every year, I have just asked for shoe sizes as well as favorite colors. It has really worked to my advantage over the years. I think that the members of the family who don't share this information on their gift lists just plain don't want hand knitted socks because they all know that I knit. I pick and choose each year who gets socks based on time I have for knitting and requests from family members for more socks for them. The people who love to wear hand knitted socks definitely let you you, at least that has been my experience. I try to keep them supplied since knitting socks is one of my favorite pasttimes.


Sneak a peak at the shoe size or have gotten close. Have not gotten caught yet. Lately I'm a pretty good guesser.

bunny dimmel

I only make socks for loved ones. They are all close in size and cross their fingers thet don't fit the foot of person intended so that they get to try it on.


I usually guess their size, just take a peek at their shoes, or if their feet are really big or small just make a joke/conversation about their shoes and they usually tell you what size they are.

Ruth Anne

I've only made one pair of gift socks and I knew his size. I did do a bunch of felted clogs one year for Christmas gifts - since they're not as well-fitted as socks I just took a guess and it turned out fine. For gifts I try to stick with scarves - one size fits most!


I've made socks for my mom and sister, and both times they knew about it, happily gave me their shoe size and showed me their favorite colors.

Sara Lee Albright

I don't make socks for very many people, and those that I do gift are "guess-timates" ...... not everyone I know appreciates the time and effort put into hand-knitting socks, and I wear my own socks all the time at work,


I will usually ask the person's spouse what the shoe size is. Or....sometimes I've been able to sneak a peak myself. It can be a bit tricky....but, once I have it I write it down in my sock knitting notebook. And, unless the recipient is a kid, I usually don't have to worry about ever getting the size again!


I have only knitted one pair of socks for someone other than myself, because no one else is willing to try a homemade pair of socks. My best friend is the person I made the socks for and since we have been friends for a very long time I just asked her what size shoe she wears, the trick was I asked her in June and she got the socks for her birthday in November, so she did not associated the question with the gift. If I were to make socks for someone else it would either be my daughter ( and I know her size), her husband (and I would ask my daughter) or my husband (I know his size also).


I've done the sneak a peek and also have just asked the person. For the most part, I knit socks for close family members so I all ready know their sock sizes.

Robin Clark

I'm afraid that I've just tried to guess by looking at their feet! No sneaky manuevuers...just lucky knitting.


Fortunately, socks can stretch a bit so they don't have to be an exact fit. It is more important to me to choose a yarn that won't felt so that they can get more than one or two wearings out of them. But I have been known to sneak a peek at their feet ;-) and then guess!


Afraid I don't gift socks to anyone but my husband. Not everyone appreciates hand knit socks so I keep them for myself and just show them off!


I just started knitting socks this year & haven't gifted any yet. When/if I start gifting them, I'll check their shoe size, if possible, before enlisting anyone else's help.


Like others, I only knit gift socks for a few people who are close to me. At this point, I know what will fit and what won't: I make my sisters' and mother's socks a little big for me; I make my dad's socks a little small for my husband. Then if something doesn't fit the giftee, it will usually fit someone else in the gifting circle.

kelly-ann (on ravelry)

I just ask the shoe size and compare it to myself/husband. With my mom, I actually had her try the sock on with closed eyes before I started the toe decreases. Right now, I don't do much sock knitting for others since I am selfish with my sock yarn!


I either try to get someone nearby to look at the recipient's shoe size, or use other ways to determine it. If I really have no idea, I'll make the first sock to a size I believe to be close, and then have them try it on before I make the second sock. It's not a ready-to-wear surprise, but I'd rather live without that than make something the recipient can't wear.

Patti Ritz

I have yet to find the courage to give someone hand knit socks as a gift.
I have measured my grandchildren's feet, but they think that is a great adventure.

Jolene (JoboDesigns on Ravelry)

I'm a sneaky one... I usually ask a family member, or grab a shoe when nobody is looking. I also keep a small notebook in my purse where I write down measurements so I don't forget. i.e. each family member has a page, and I keep relevant info for each person. My sister has skinny wrists (I learned when I made her mittens last time) and loves green but hates red. I have the shoe sizes of my husband's 3 brothers, and many of my aunts and uncles. Now that I have the info, I can make things for any of them without having to hunt down too much information. I'm sneaky like that ;)


I love the Embossed leaves socks and made two pairs with cashmere blends. It's a great pattern and was done on your recommendation. Thanks, Alison!

Lisa Viviano

I have been known to enlist family members to spy and get shoe sizes and then I knit socks in a forgiving rib pattern.


I have knit a number of pairs of socks for friends and relatives--never as a surprise. People's feet are far too weird, and if they are going to have the luxury of a hand knitted pair of socks, I am going to measure the length of their feet, the circumference at the ball of their foot, the desired length up the leg and the width of their ankle. There is nothing like a pair of custom made hand knitted socks, so I have been told. As for my family (a husband and two grown boys) I have their measurements on hand so they are the only ones that can be surprised (but not really since they know I am knitting stuff all the time and they are high on the list of intended recipients). I would never knit for someone who might not appreciate the effort or not like wool. therefore, no surprises.


I wear size 10, so I sometimes look at my foot next to "theirs" to compare and get a good idea. Nothing like a scientific way to get information!


I haven't knit gift socks to anybody but very close relatives, so I know what size shoe they are. That makes it easy to look up in any of my many knitting books.


Hand knit socks are the ultimate luxury-practical and beautiful. Not everyone appreciates them. I only knit for People I love and hold close and believe or not, shoe size (therefore socks) can actually come up in casual conversation. "Great shoes, do they run small? Oh, what size are they?" If not asked in December it can seem random. Jane


I'm knitting for my best friend's feet this year, which are inconveniently located out in California. I wrote and told him I was collecting that info from friends for next year's knitting projects.

So he knows why; he just doesn't expect them this month.


I stick to my husband, daughters, mother, and an occasional baby - they grow! - for gift socks, so sizing hasn't been a problem so far.


If I'm going to invest the time, I ask them what size shoes they wear and then follow the formulas available in books.


I've only ever knit socks for me.


I have made gift socks by guesstimating the difference between my shoe size and theirs and used a ribbed pattern that is stretchy.


I have yet to knit socks for anyone but myself and my daughters and I know their sized. I like the idea of bringing it up in casual conversation though.


I usually try to measure their feet months ahead of time-in the summertime usually. or I will say I am knitting for my son's girlfriend and her feet are the same size as yours-can i use you as a standin? Fooled a few of my friends!!


Another vote for not asking in December! I only knit for people I am very close to, so it does not seem odd to ask shoe sizes!


Like so many others, I only give handknit socks to close friends and relatives and of those I limit them to people I know will take care of them. I find it disheartening to see a pair of socks which has gone through hours of the dryer - too much work involved for that nonsense. I usually guess the size, most times it works out.


I ask them there hat size,glove size, shoe size,sweater size. What colors are their favortie. Are they alleric to anything. I make sure I write it down and keep it in a safe place.


I gift socks only to a select mother, sister in law, husband and one child. My mother like Cascade Fixation which, knit in the Broadripple pattern from Knitty, is very stretchy. If you sre guessing, i would recommend this combo.

Kathleen B.

I have not gifted socks as they are still new to me. I am interested in the other responses for when I am ready to gift socks.


I knit socks for only my immediate family, and a pair for each at xmas is a new tradition, so I measured everyone's feet one year. Except my son-in-law, who didn't want anyone touching his feet! I figure his feet are about the same as my SO's, though.


I've only knit socks for a few people and I just mentally compared their feet to mine. That combined with a stretchy pattern (ribbing or twisted stitches) really helps.


I've knit socks for Mom, sisters and daughters, and I know how big their feet are. If it's a gift that's to be a surprise I ask their SO or their Mom.

Patty McD

I only knit for people I consider special, so I want them to fit. I have them (or I do it) trace their foot onto a piece of blank paper and use that as my guide.


I take a look at their shoes and sometimes, if the moment presents itself, ask what their size is.


I sneak a peak or try something stretchy as well. If it doesn't fit, they can pass them on to someone else, but I'm sure it would hurt my feelings. This is the first year I'm gifting socks to family and don't know if they will be appreciated.


I only knit socks for a few people. There are those in my family who are not knit-worthy, so I'm certainly not making socks for them. Those who I do knit for have voluntarily left a tracing of their foot with measurements near my sock yarn. Their surprise is which yarn & pattern I pick for them.

We all take our shoes off to go in houses, so it's pretty easy to take a quick look. Also I've used the.... Wow, what great shoes - what size are they line. And to guys and nephews, Wow! Your feet are (getting) so big! What size shoe do you wear??


I usually ask somebody else.


I've only knit one pair of gift socks - wasn't a total success. Might try again,though.

Susan C.

I admit that I've never knit socks as a gift. I tend to knit gifts without sizes, like scarves, to keep the potential for a wrong size to a minimum.


I go by shoe size. I've found it's relatively easy to find out someone's shoe size without tipping them off - you can say "Wow, what cute shoes! Your feet are so small - what size shoe do you wear?" or something to that effect!


I only knit socks for people I know want hand knit socks, so they're more than happy to tell me their shoe size and the preferred colors. Some like the Opal/Regia type self-patterning, others like solid colors.


I know the sizes of the few I knit for--and even then I try to make something simple and stretchy!


Only knit socks for my mom and daughter. We all have approximately the same size foot.

NancyN from Texas

I try to look at their feet. I only knit socks for people close to me, so I usually know their shoe sizes. Also, I discovered one year by carefully measuring my daughter's foot, which looks very slender compared to mine, that the circumference was actually the same. So, if it fits me, it fits her!


I usually don't knit the first pair of socks for anyone as a surprise; I measure. Then, depending on how well received that first pair was, I have the exact dimensions to replicate any pattern for a 'surprise' gift. And yes, they have to be worthy recipients before that 2nd pair gets made.

I've knit a pair for a relative and found out later they 'lost' them before they ever wore them because a friend borrowed those socks. I too seem to have lost something: her foot measurements.


I haven't knit socks for anyone else yet, but I'd check their shoes if it's possible. Otherwise I'd ask someone that lives with that person.


I don't knit surprise gifts.


I have knit socks for lots of people, and have to admit that they are more likely to get socks if they have feet more or less my size, because most of the socks in my stash were made to fit me! Usually I knit for people who I know want socks, so can ask outright. Sometimes I try to find out size by asking one of their family members, but I admit that I haven't come up with a good way to find out.


I've wondered about this. I have a pair of socks I've started for a friend but don't know her shoe size. I'm not sure how I'm going to find out her shoe size. All the others I already knew their shoe sizes. They just happen to be the same as mine.


So far I've only knit socks for myself and my sisters. We are all between a seven and eight so I just aim for a seven and a half...and hope for the best.


If I'm going to go to the effort of knitting a pair of socks for someone I try to have them trace their feet. Watch out on kids and grandkids - their feet grow quickly!


My mom is the only person I knit socks for, so I know that I have to make her socks slightly bigger than I make my own!


Usually peeking at their shoes is the easiest..... complimenting a pair and asking to see them.

Cynthia Parker

I knit for two daughters and two grandaughters with all about the same size. three of them open their gifts together and swapping has been known to take place. My husband has a foot only slightly larger so I knit his on slightly larger needle.


I have made only 3 pairs of socks for Christmas one pair last year and 2 this year. I made them the same size as mine and they seem to fit my one friend. I sent a pair to a cousin of mine and I thought with my feet she should be fine.


i haven't knit socks yet for anyone who i don't know the shoe size of, but i would just have a conversation about shoes with them and find out their size, and hope for the best with the pattern!


I have only knit for my mom & I already know her shoe size. I think I would sneak a peek at their shoes or just ask way in advance of the gift date.


I have only knit baby socks for someone else so I have never had to fit them to someone else's feet. I have wondered how to do this. I would probably only knit them for close family members and I would know their shoe size, so I guess I could go from there.


I just stare at their feet and try to memorize the size as it compares to mine. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't.


I tend to not knit socks for other people. Because of my gauge, I can't get them to fit without a lot of reworking! But, the few times I have knit socks for gifts, I usually ask someone else to find out their shoe size and I go from there. :)


Honestly, I don't think I've ever knitted socks for someone as a surprise. Even when they're a gift, I always have the person who's going to receive them try them on before I turn the heel. The aspect of surprise is a *very* small price to pay to know that all those hours of work were not in vain.


I'm a bit sneaky. I usually complement them on thier shoes and then start talking about feet and foot size. I wear an 11 so I usually comment how big my feet are and usually the giftee offers out thier size and stating they thought thier feet were big till they met me.

Patricia Richardson

I'm still new to sock knitting, so until I gain more experience, all socks are mine.


I just seem to know.


I usually guess their size or try to compare it with mine. Sometimes, I'll just try to work shoe size into a conversation. My goal next year is to make a pair of socks for every sixth grade teacher at the school I work at!


Since the only person I have ever gifted with socks didn't really appreciate them, I don't tend to do it. I did make my husband a pair of slipper socks but they weren't a surprise.


I must confess I have yet to make socks! I do have some yummy sock yarn so as soon as I've finished all my WIPs I will sit down and learn. Can't wait!

Debbie H

I either know their size, guess, or knit them a hat or fingerless mitts instead. Debbie in Alaska

Carla in MT

well... sometimes I just have to ask. If I do it far enough away from the 'event', they kinda forget about it. I generally wouldn't knit socks for someone I don't know very well.

Beverly Shearon

I just knit the socks and hope for the best.

Debbie B

I would only knit socks for immediate family, thus the shoe size is easy for me.


I scope out shoes. Everyone always comments on how small my feet are, so most of my friends and family have discussed shoe size at one time or another. Maybe I just got lucky like that.


Since I've only made socks for myself, the DH and sons, trying to find out shoe size hasn't come up. But I think I would try to find out shoe size by sneaking a peek at the shoes in the closet.


I usually don't knit gift socks for people, and the sizing issues is just one reason why.


I use the ask and delay method. Ask them to measure their foot, delay a standard year, then make them socks that are sure to be a surprise! =o) Thanks for hosting the giveaway!


I usually confer with a sock recipient because I really really want him/her to like the finished product. But otherwise, I just inquire about shoe size and then use my own foot as the model.

Sandy H.

I have knitted socks for my five friends in our weekly knitting group. Tricked them into having their feet traced by my 5 year old grandson who said he was working on a project for school. They fell for it so I have everyone's footprint to work from and measure.

Connie Kinsman

I just knit socks for my daughters and I already know their sizes. I have just started knitting mittens and find that they work well for presents and fit nicely! I choose a color that I know they will like and I can knit a pair in two to three days.


Generally, I guess!


I just kind of "eyeball" it to figure out size in comparison to me. Mostly I knit socks for other women, so I make them about my size and hope!


I've only knit for nieces or nephews and usually when they are first born. I will make socks in a variety of sizes so that they will have something to grow into. Other than that, the socks I make either are for my immediate family or for charity where it will fit somebody.

Terri Brinegar

I have checked shoe sizes, when possible, or have someone else check the size! So far it has worked.

Sandra D

Technically I'm not answering the question. I never knit surprise socks. The only surprise for the recipient is when they get them; I never let on when that might be (mostly because I have no clue myself - I have a hard time staying on task). So I basically measure, or get them to measure, the areas needed by Cat Bordhi's formulas in New Pathways. Works 99% of the time, and I've added a tweak that I think will bring it to 100%.


In our family we have a list of various measurements for all the people. There are 4 knitters among us, and we have all shared all the pertinent info. I mostly knit gift socks, but I have been known to turn out a hat or a scarf, too.


I can look at the feet and pretty much guess how big or small in relation to mine.


I've only made socks for family members so I either know their shoe size or ask someone in the family who knows. I also try to choose patterns that are pretty stretchy so it doesn't have to be a perfect fit.


When I gift socks it is usually to family so I know their shoe size already.


My sister is the same size as I am. I asked my father-in-law for my mother-in-law's shoe size. I got hubby to draw a picture of his foot for a "kid's school project".


I tend to be a selfish knitter and so this hasn't been a problem yet. But I do like a lot of the covert methods used by many here!


I just ask, they are usually too polite and too puzzled to ask why!

It's worked on the few times I've done surprise socks for friends - and they all fitted :)


I've never found a good way to do this!

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