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 pair of socks.
Now, I love socks as much as the next person. Probably more, in fact. Just about the only time you’ll find my chilblains-prone feet not stuffed into a pair is when I’m in the shower. But who has three favorite pairs of socks? Or for that matter, even one?
But then I thought about it for a nanosecond and 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 very favorite pair of socks.
They’re sitting patiently on the washing machine, waiting to be washed (a few more delicates must accrue before I can justify a hand wash cycle). They’re the 3rd pair of socks I ever knitted and I made them from the 100% wool yarn I unwound from a scarf I crocheted for Spouse from one ball of yarn I bought from an upmarket yarn store in Lund, Sweden, half a decade ago. He never wore the scarf. Said it was too scratchy (meanwhile he appropriated the 100% acrylic lacy scarf my grandmother taught me how to knit in about 1985, but I am unable to recreate because I have no idea what stitch I used and my grandmother has been dead for nearly 30 years).
Sorry. Icicles just gripped my heart. Nearly 30 years. How the hell 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 for at least 50 years, 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 they were ever really friends, but he tried to visit my grandmother before she died, but apparently showed up at the wrong hospital and was much distressed to discover my grandmother was not there. I don’t think my mother ever told him 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. Well, and 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, all my grandmother’s neighbors who were in their 40s back then, are possibly all dead now too, especially the one who was the really 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 pretty shocked about that. I often feel like if I bump into people I haven’t seen since my teens or twenties or thirties, I will 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 cozy, warm socks. Most non-sock knitters are like I used to be: prone to gazing, jaw-dropped, at sock-knitters like 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 what are you talking about? This is so easy.
And 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 also 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 up. 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.