Friday, October 24, 2008

Socks and Me

Handknit socks, how do I love thee? Why do I love thee? It's crazy, I know. I can go to any number of stores and pick up a lovely pair of socks for a couple of dollars and wear them for years. I can throw them in the washer and dryer, run around outside in them, let the dogs play with them. They always fit me perfectly. If I lose one... oh, well. It's a no-brainer, right?

Why, then, do I choose to handknit socks? Why do I spend $10 to $20 on yarn for one pair of socks, and then spend hours and hours knitting them? Why do I coddle the finished socks: hand or machine wash in a lingerie bag, but always hang to dry, never wear outside. Even inside I frequently wear another pair of socks OVER them! The dogs and cats don't come near them. Losing one is like losing a family member. And do they fit? Well, sometimes...

I used to feel like you do. Why would anyone knit socks? After I'd been knitting for a while, I thought I'd try it for the challenge. Learn a new technique. Maybe knit one pair, just to say I did it. My first pair was pretty bad. Well, they did look like socks; socks that the jolly green giant could wear. Let's just say my gauge was a bit off. Oh, and they were so big that I ran out of yarn, so one foot was much shorter than the other one. I was rather devastated, but my wonderful Mike swore he loved them and he wore them faithfully a few times. Then they found a comfortable spot in his sock drawer and slept there for a couple of years.

So, I had knit a pair of socks, but surely, I could do better. Off to the yarn shop, another skein of sock yarn, a better gauge swatch, socks that actually fit! They were so warm. So beautiful. So... perfect. It might be nice to have two pairs, you know, just for back-up, for when it got really cold. And maybe a pair with cables? Lace? Pink? Blue? Socks for the kids! Socks for the relatives!! Socks for everyone!!!

An obsession was born. A perfect little knitting project. Fits in my purse, so I always have knitting at hand if I have to wait somewhere, anywhere. I discovered I wasn't alone! Books and books on sock knitting: toe up, cuff down, sideways, double pointed needles, circular needles, two at once. Yahoo groups. Other people obsessed with socks!

So, what am I saying here? Never say never. And learn to knit socks!

And, what about that very first pair? Well, I recently pulled them out of hibernation, ripped out the old toe, and re-knit the shorter foot to match the other foot, and then re-knit the toe in different, non-matching yarn. I'm happy to report that they are being worn again! Here's what they look like: (I've put a regular sized sock next to them, for your amusement :-)

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