Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Joy of Socks

Back in the dim, dark days before I discovered the joy of socks I felt it seemed a bit pointless to spend many, many hours knitting a pair of socks when I could buy socks from M&S.

Then I considered that perhaps it was worth learning to knit socks as I would learn to knit in the round on double pointed needles, a frightening looking prospect from the newbie perspective, akin to rubbing your tummy and patting the top of your head, only with more pointy sticks. Also there were short rows and kitchener stitch to learn so all in all it seemed it might be worth knitting, you know, one pair of socks before using those skills to make more worthwhile items like fingerless gloves and such. So I bought a ball of sock yarn and matching needles and stashed them for a while.

Then one day I had the strange urge to knit tiny tiny stitches on little needles and so I fished out my sock yarn, found a beginner sock pattern (the Yarn Harlots' 'Sock Recipe' from Knitting Rules), cast on and So It Began. For me the joy of socks is not that hand knitted socks are infinitely superior to bought ones (they're nicer, sure, but not 30 hours of work nicer, knitting heresy I know) it's the process; the repetitive neat little stitches, the cleverness of the turning of the heel and the way the toe shrinks down at the end. It's so calm. I've only made three pairs so far, all plain top-down, stockinette stitch easy-as-pie socks. Maybe I'll branch out into lacy socks like the lovely ones my friend Ann designs (I've seen a preview of one of her upcoming designs which is very tempting) but will I lose the meditative zen-like feeling amongst all the yarn overs and k2togs?

Maybe. But I can always have a plain sock on the go alongside the fancier footwear and then in moments of knitting crisis I can just turn to the certainties of small knit stitches on small needles; simple, calm and strangely beautiful.


Mara said...

I completely agree.... although it means I need to buy more of those tiny little tooth pick needles... What a hardship hehe

Maytheweed said...

I already have two sets of my preferred sock needles thanks to thinking I'd lost one, cue panic buying of another set so I could continue the socks. I keep being tempted by the KnitPro metal ones too...