Let's talk socks...
Is there any doubt that knitting socks is one of my favorite things to do? I'm not talking about favorite things to knit, but one of my favorite things in general. Do you think that's true of many knitters in or out of Blogland?
I didn't learn to knit socks from Nancy Bush, but I give her credit for giving me the passion to knit socks. Her books, classes and local rock star status, brought sock knitting to Salt Lake City in a big way. It's hard to remember the dates, but I think I started knitting socks around 1995 and by 1997 I constantly had a sock on the needles. Even when my main focus of crafting was embroidery, a sock in progress was my traveling companion, lunch time project, and general distraction from tiny, exacting embroidery.
My sock drawer holds many hand knit socks, and even a few skeletons of socks that can no longer be worn but can't quite be eighty-sixed. When you have a large number of socks it means no sock is worn often enough to wear out quickly and, therefore, some of my socks could be called vintage.
The main reason I have always had a sock on the needles is the entertainment factor. Few of us find the turning of a heel, even the 100th heel we've turned, less than magical and certainly never mundane. Even sufferers of SSS* don't stop knitting socks; they just pick up a different sock and continue to knit. Sock knitters rarely knit the same pattern twice or the same colorway of yarn more than once.
The variety of colors, yarns and patterns is unending for the addicted sock knitter. Sock knitting, with all its accoutrement, can be nirvana and a sock can easily be made personally and uniquely your own.
As I knit with my own handspun, and consider spinning more yarn for socks, my thoughts turn to all the suggestions and advice given by spinners. Some say that Navajo plying doesn't hold up for the long haul or that certain breeds of wool aren't as good as others. Some say the socks you wear need to match your other clothing, or that hand knit socks should stand out in an ‘in your face’ way. There are nearly as many opinions as there are sock knitters.
Our sock knitting isn't done as a necessity to survive. Today we can have warm toes without knitting socks. Purchased socks are not only as good as, or maybe even better for warmth and durability, but are often less expensive. The main reason we knit socks is the love of knitting and the love of color and texture…at least that’s my opinion. Therefore, I don’t really care how long a sock will wear, if the number of ply is 2 or 6, how the plying is executed, or even what the fiber content of the sock yarn is (other than it's got to be wool or wool blend). It’s all about knitting something my feet love to wear, knitting something my hands love to do, doing something endlessly entertaining, and it’s about sharing a passion.
Give me a sock and I’ll 'knit on' forever.
*Second sock syndrome