To always always always do a tension square when knitting from a new pattern. Have been a complete idiot over the last couple of days. I started a new set of baby socks the other day and because I was thinking how fantastically good I am at them now I just waded in without giving it a moments thought and got on with the knitting.
I had very nearly finished my first sock last night but it was bothering me- something was not right about it. The sock seem to be proportioned incorrectly. At first I thought that it was the pattern (how very arrogant of me!) but then I sat down and did some calculations this morning and it turns out, ahem, that my tension is way, way, way, way, way off. This should have been an easy problem to overcome- all I had to do was scale down the sock to fit the gauge that I had but I didn't think of this when I started so I now have sock that is far too long in the foot. They are effectively clown socks to fit in those overlarge clown shoes that they have, which is amusing but of little use if your feet aren't actually that size.
So I have two choices. I do some tedious calculations that may or may not work out what length the sock should be and then rip it back and make it shorter. This involves me working it all out from scratch as there is nothing to help me on this- I'm essentially unventing a new process for doing this hence it may be a bit hit and miss as to whether it works. It doesn't help that I have nothing for reference as far as actual foot sizes. I can't find any sort of chart of average foot size in relation to age anywhere.
My second choice is that I just finish it off as is and keep the odd sock as a warning to myself to always do a tension square BEFORE starting a project and then go away and make a pair properly.
I should have known that just subbing a ball in without really thinking about it was going to cause problems. It's because the pattern was a Lionbrand one. This is an American firm and there is only one stockist in this country for their yarns as far as I'm aware. Obviously this makes it very difficult to get hold of the correct stuff and you have to be pretty dedicated to the pattern to hunt it out. Replacing it with another kind shouldn't have been a problem- IF ONLY I'D THOUGHT ABOUT IT FIRST! D'oh, d'oh, d'oh, d'oh, d'oh.
I'm not sure yet as to which course of action to take. The pattern is lovely to knit and was pretty quick so keeping this one as an odd one doesn't seem like an entirely bad idea although it would be a bit a of a waste. On the other hand, whilst doing those calculations would indeed be a bitch to work out, it is somewhat of a mental challenge- I've already started plotting how to program excel and get it to take tension into account as well as foot size etc. Hmmm. I shall have to have a think about this I can tell.
In the meantime you can all continue laughing at my moment of complete stupidity. It will take me down a peg or two at the very least.
Oh! and on a final note I did manage to find a handy little website this morning that you can use for calculating circumferences and diameters automatically. You need never remember any of the Pi formulas ever again!