Wednesday, April 22, 2009

sock it to me

For the past few days, temps have been in the upper 80's - low 90's all around. When record highs occur in springtime, folks just don't know what to do with themselves. We just ain't ready for it.

The high or low of outside temperature largely determines what we eat, how we dress and the type of activities with which we fill our days.

When it comes to knitting, hot weather certainly takes the fun out of working up big scarves, heavy sweaters, monster totebags (to be felted!) or anything nearing the size of a blanket. Weighty woolishness touching one's arms and brushing across bared thighs is downright uncomfortable. Sweaty. Itchy.

Hot weather knitting calls for choosing cotton-y fibers and/or small projects - lightweight creations - like socks.

Before my first attempt at sock knitting, I looked upon the idea of manufacturing a pair of socks by hand as an exercise in futility. Why knit socks when you can buy a pair at Target for a couple of bucks?

Knitting socks requires the use of teeny tiny needles (usually dpn) and yards and yards of narrow gauge yarn. Cost of yarn is between $7 and $25. Not cheap!

One must keep mindful of measuring for length, be brave enough to turn a heel, produce a convincing gusset, manage toe decreases, perform the Kitchener...

There's a tremendous amount of work involved. Since socks are relatively small, the knitting moves along fairly quickly. But wait - you must knit not just one, but TWO of these things before calling it a done deal. So, multiply 'fairly quickly' x 2.

Once a pair of socks come off the needles, they undergo the acid test. Socks get put on feet, then stuck into shoes. They are walked around on. Stretched out. Feet perspire. Feet get stinky. Socks get dirty - fast. They need to be washed. Worn again. Repeated washings. Socks tend to wear out at the heel or toe. Sometimes socks get holey. Then they must be darned. Sock repair. Who darns socks anymore?

As described here, the humble sock gets some serious wearing. Perhaps more so than any other knitted garment.

Which still begs the original question: Why knit socks?

You know what - it's actually fun.

There is a tremendous feeling of accomplishment that accompanies knitting thin yarn on skinny toothpick-ish needles. For me, it's a thrill to witness a sock shape emerge miraculously from a set of 4 or 5 dpns being juggled with (my) not-always-so-capable-fingers!

As a bonus, hand-knit socks are a pleasure to wear. Super cozy.
This must be from all the LOVE knit into them.

I'm now a bona fide knitter of socks.
Knitting socks to completion = it's an act of crafty magic with sticks and string.

(yes, I knitted the socks pictured above)

See you in SockLand.
That is my destination for summer knitting.


justducky said...

Beautiful as usual with any project you undertake, including atc's.

And yes, you are indeed TOO brave for words to turn a heel.

My mom used to darn socks, it was so cool to watch her with her little darning egg. (is that what they're called?)

Do you have a darning egg?

Liz said...

you must go over and join the monthly sock group at Auburn Needlework's the last Monday of each Month. As always, your socks look great!!!!