I hadn’t blogged in forever and that was bugging me, but I couldn’t think of anything to blog about. So, I did what any thoroughly post-post-modern middle-aged woman would do and tossed the problem out to Twitter. The most intriguing answer I got (she says, as if more than two people replied) was socks. I could blog about my three favorite pairs of socks.
Now, I love socks as much as the next person. Probably more, in fact. If it weren’t inconvenient, I’d even wear them in the shower. But who has three favorite pairs of socks? Or for that matter, even one?
But after a further nanosecond of thought, the answer was clear. I have many favorite pairs of socks. Which means either I’m really weird, or everyone else does, too.
Here’s a photo of my current favorite pair of socks sitting on the washing machine, waiting to be washed by hand. They’re the 3rd pair of socks I’ve ever knitted. I made them out of a scarf I unwound because it was too itchy for the tender throat of Spouse. I’d crocheted the scarf for him out of a length of 100% wool I’d bought in a shop in Sweden stocked floor to ceiling with the most beautiful, colorful, and lovingly spun balls of yarn you could imagine. Spouse wore that scarf once then returned to the gentle embrace of the 100% acrylic one he’d appropriated from me a few years previously. I’d knit that scarf in a lacy stitch my grandmother taught me in 1985 and I forgot how to do as soon as I’d finished the project. Down through the years, I’ve taken many cracks at figuring it back out but I just can’t manage it. I suspect the stitch will remain lost to me forever. I don’t know its name, so I can’t look it up, and my grandmother has been dead for nearly 30 years.
Icicles just gripped my heart.
Nearly 30 years. How did that happen?
Blink and suddenly, not only is your grandmother nearly three decades dead, but also dead are the woman who owned the apartment building she lived in, the woman’s daughter and son-in-law, and surely also Mr. Perry, the then octogenarian who lived across the stairs from my grandmother and was in the thick of getting his pilot’s license when my grandmother passed away.
I don’t think Mr. Perry and my grandmother were good friends, just good neighbors. Still, he tried to visit my grandmother in the hospital as she was dying. Unfortunately, no one had told him which hospital she was in. He showed up at the wrong one and was distressed to discover my grandmother was not there (I assume he assumed she’d already died). I don’t think my mother ever told Mr. Perry which hospital my grandmother was in at all much less in time for him to say goodbye. My mother is a kind and generous person, but sometimes she is thoughtless like that. But, to be fair, my mother was in the midst of her mother dying of congestive heart failure. She can’t really be blamed for having had other things than Mr. Perry on her mind.
Come to think of it, the neighbors of my grandmother who were in their 40s back then are possibly also all dead now too, especially the one who was the heavy drinker. And if they’re not dead, they’re in their 70s, which is an even weirder thought. But they’d probably be just as shocked at me having turned into a frumpy lady in her 50s. I’m also shocked about that. I often feel that if I were to bump into people I haven’t seen since my teens or twenties or thirties, I would be ashamed of what I’ve turned into. But I always forget that they’ll have gotten exactly as many years older too, and are probably feeling as equally mortified with themselves.
Anyway, knitting socks. Have you tried it? It’s grand, especially if you live somewhere that gets cold enough for you to need to keep your feet toasty warm.
Most non-sock knitters are like I used to be: prone to gazing, jaw-dropped, at sock-knitters as if to say how are you doing that? Are you Einstein? All those needles! I could never do that. And then they roll their eyes (inwardly, at least, if they’re polite) because sock knitters always reply with something along the lines of but this is so easy.
Do you know what? The sock knitters are right. It is easy. All it takes is the basics: knowing how to cast on, how to knit, how to purl, and how to sew up the toe at the end. In terms of supplies and equipment, all you need are a set of 5 double-pointed knitting needles of the right size, about 100g of yarn of the right thickness (there’s tons of “sock weight” yarn out there), and a good pattern. I recommend The Knitting Squirrel’s. It’s easy to follow and results in a great sock. The heel is extra cushy.
The absolute worst part of knitting a sock is the fiddly bit at the beginning, where you’re setting everything up on four needles and having to purl-knit-purl (etc) so the first few rows are ribbed, preventing them from rolling down. But if you get frustrated, don’t give up. That only lasts a handful of rows and after that, it’s a breeze!
As for my next two favorite socks, let’s just say they’ll be these.
If I ever finish the pullover from hell, that is.
This sweater is full of yarn that has been knitted and crocheted into and unwound from various projects for at least the last 15 years. I bought the blue, purple, green, and dark grey wool in Monterey, California, when I was visiting a friend and had nothing to do during the day while she was at work (there’s only so much day you can kill taking walks along even the most beautiful seashore). The black and yellow yarn I bought here because the four balls of yarn weren’t enough for an entire sweater. I have only one sleeve left before I’m done. We’ll see if I ever get there.