I love Knitty.com – it’s such a great resource for free patterns, interesting articles, and exposure to wonderful technical knitting. Unfortunately, the many fantastic knee-high sock patterns have been out of my reach unless I wanted to do a lot of math and, well, I didn’t really want to do a lot of math.

In fact, if I’m going to do that sort of math, I’m going to come up with my own pattern. *grumble*

Fortunately, there are some sock designers who are really starting to grok that legs come in a variety of sizes – and when you combine that with foot sizes you get all sorts of fun!

Emily Johnson, the designer of this month’s Garden Gate pattern seems to get it. The pattern is designed to allow for customizable combinations of different foot and leg sizes, with instructions written for calves up to 24 inches.

I was impressed when Knitty started requiring a wide range of sizes in their sweater patterns! I am kind of over the moon that someone has taken that philosophy and applied it to socks.

Way to go, Emily Johnson. I might just need to knit these. Love that faux backseam.

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  1. MrsDrC
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I’m with ya! I find so many things on Ravelry that I want to make for myself only to find the pattern is for Small and Medium even a Large is often not there so forget a XXXLarge.

    I love, love, love when a designer takes the time make the pattern available in larger sizes.

    I often wonder if those who dont, dont want to see their design on a “gross fat person”.

  2. TR
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I tend to take a sort of Occam’s Razor approach, MrsDrC – I think it is more often that a lot of designers just don’t even begin to think about fat people. And sometimes I think it is just not having any clue how to size up (because there is an art to it – how many sewing patterns have shoulders drooping off of fat arms because a computer just sized everything up?) for larger people combined with the laziness of not HAVING to do it.

  3. Posted September 24, 2008 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    those socks are lovely! I’m ALMOST tempted to try to make some –except I know I don’t have the patience to finish them.

  4. TR
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I’m good for one sock, usually, but I think I might have a better attention span for these – the pattern is pretty tangy and requires some attention and I always stay interested in more difficult projects. Or maybe it’s just time to learn the two-at-a-time sock method? *grin*

  5. LeahCate
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Emily Johnson has been my friend since kindergarten. In recent years, as I’ve gotten more accepting of my size and more confident in my fat identity, I’ve been so pleased to discover in her a fat ally.

    Also, since I’m usually a lurker, can I just say that I feel like this blog practically saves my life every time I read it?!

  6. TR
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    LeahCate, that is so cool! And I am so glad that this blog is helpful. Thank you very much for reading and commenting. And please tell Emily I think her pattern mods for fat legs rock.

  7. Posted September 24, 2008 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Those are some stunning socks!!

    Damn, I wish I could knit.

  8. Acceptable
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Those are awesome. I totally feel that way about their knee socks all the time http://www.cookiea.com/ is good for variety, but her patterns aren’t free and frustratingly I just noticed she redesigned her site and now doesn’t say all the different sizes and how much yarn they would take, which is annoying.

    I’ve only ever managed one pair of socks, but I really love knee socks, so when I can afford some yarn I might give in :D

  9. sannanina
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I tend to take a sort of Occam’s Razor approach, MrsDrC – I think it is more often that a lot of designers just don’t even begin to think about fat people.

    Agreed. Many people (not just designers) just don’t think of fat people, particularly not when it comes to certain kinds of clothes. The university where I got my undergraduate degree had a second hand clothing store run by local volunteers where you could get clothes pretty much for free (it was an international university and we had a number students that had very little money, particularly if you consider German prices). I never visited the store, and for good reasons – I once read one of their calls for donations and it asked people to only donate clothes in “student friendly sizes” – according to them that was anything below a size 12, or maybe 14. I wear at least a 24, and although my university was very small (below 1,500 students at the time) I can spontaneously think of three other female students and one other male student who were about my size and quite a number who I woud guess wore at least a size 18 or 20.
    Also, people tend to undestimate large people’s clothing size – even friends and family members who have known me for years often think that I should fit into a size 18, 20 or 22 because, you know, “those are really big”. Designers should know better, but I am not so sure they really do.

  10. Posted September 24, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Socks are great. Every woman deserves all sorts of them. Period.

    Undies too, but this is unrelated.

  11. Posted September 24, 2008 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Aww, thanks so much for the kind words about my pattern! Leah let me know that you’d blogged about the socks, and I couldn’t be happier that the calf sizing is appreciated.

    Having read the comments, I have to agree wholeheartedly that while many designers don’t give enough consideration in the first place to sizing for fat folks, another problem is a dearth of information about the proper WAY in which to design larger sizes that actually fit. Many sizing charts simply pretend that bone structure continues to get larger and larger, so that a woman with a 56″ bust will be eight and a half feet tall. Designers who want to design well-fitting clothes for fat people need to really work in order to seek out the how-to’s, which is a crying shame. In fact, many of the books I’ve read on tailoring and couture fitting techniques come right out and say “If you’re above Size X, consider losing weight because following the techniques in this book won’t result in clothes that fit.” So why not include techniques that WILL work, one might ask. But they don’t. Which is really frustrating for those of us who prioritize FIT in our patterns. I think it probably discourages many designers who would otherwise size for fat people – they don’t want to take random stabs in the dark re: sizing and have the finished product look shoddy when it’s made by anyone above a 40″ bust.

    I just took a class on sweater sizing for both all-around large and specifically large-busted women, and can testify that the techniques are out there, but they’re generally not prioritized. I have a couple leads on more accurate sizing charts for all sizes of person (ASTM standards), but they’re only available for purchase, as opposed to more skinny-centric charts available for free, which puts the designer working on a budget at a disadvantage. I paid $90 for the class I just took, which is, yet again, out of the realm of possibility for many people. It’s ridiculous that something so simple as extending the sphere of knowledge about garment fit to include people of all sizes, should be so restricted by income. It’s quite classist, actually, and further exacerbates the issue of people in poor-fitting clothes being perceieved as lower-class.

    Anyway, pardon my rant. :-) I’d just like y’all to know that there ARE designers out there for whom providing a wide range of sizes is important, and we’re working to make sure that those sizes actually fit when the garments are made up.

  12. dareva
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, those socks are so cute! Unfortunately my wardrobe is the kind that they wouldn’t really go with, so I would have to make some changes–which isn’t a bad idea anyway.

    I got here through a link from Shapely Prose, and I have really been enjoying your posts.

  13. TR
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Emily, I totally appreciate you coming by to comment! There is so much to love about your comment I don’t even know where to start. But, yes, the issue of independent designers not having access to the info they need really is a huge deal. I’m really curious about the class you took – it sounds fascinating. I have to wonder if there is anything activists in FA can do to help designers find this info and learn this stuff.

    Dareva, thank you! I am glad you are here. And customizing designs is always a good way to go – I am seeing these in a sort of blue-green and black combination like stained glass.

  14. Robotitron
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh, thanks for pointing this pattern out! I’ve actually gotten to a point where I don’t even bother to look at the sock patterns, since they usually won’t fit and I can’t be bothered to do the math. I do think it’s awesome that Amy Singer has made a point to have a larger range of sizes with the sweaters. Isn’t that one of the qualifications to have your pattern considered?

  15. TR
    Posted September 24, 2008 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I still look, Robotitron, but I’m a glutton for imaginary knitting punishment. And I do think you are required, if you are a sweater designer, to provide a wide range of sizes. It’s very awesome.

  16. Posted September 25, 2008 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    Knitty is life. And I was so glad to see that larger sock too — as well as their other large-size-friendly patterns. Still, I’m a fairly committed scarf-and-hat knitter. I get bored after finishing one sock, and I just can NOT make myself finish a freaking sweater. I still have completely finished knit-up pieces for the one sweater I tried, and I can’t make myself block and seam them.

    Much as I’d like to [especially given that I have two sweaters in progress], I just don’t imagine myself ever finishing a sweater for myself. I’m an in-betweenie type, and even at this size the amount of work and yarn it takes to make a sweater to fit me… hoo boy, fuggadaboudid.

  17. Posted September 25, 2008 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I am so happy when I find an overlapping area in the Venn diagram of my life. I come here to read fat stuff and go to knitty to read knitting stuff. It’s so much fun when worlds collide! Or, you know, overlap. I had the same happy moment awhile back when you talked about being adopted.

  18. Dorothy
    Posted September 26, 2008 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Are there any patterns out there for crocheting socks, or does that work at all? I used to knit – over 20 years ago but I don’t really even remember the basics. All I do now is crochet.

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