For the Love of Socks

One of my aunts is calling this year "The Year of the Sock." It's a pretty apt title, at least for the past month. One of my goals for last year was to knit a pair of socks, which I managed to do right at the last minute, racing against the clock in the car on the way home on December 31. (whew!)

For Christmas I bought myself two sock knitting books, Cookie A's Sock Innovation and Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up. I promptly lost all knitting mojo, particularly in relation to socks, and these gorgeous books were put on the bookshelf to gather dust.

Well we all know that didn't last. On Monday (in the car no less), I finished the Kai-Mei socks(Ravelry pattern link) from Cookie A. I had started them back in January but grew concerned that I didn't have enough yarn and put them aside. Fast forward to May and I started this new finishing kick. I had successfully finished one of my Evil Stepmother socks and so decided that though it was top down, these socks could too be ankle socks (it's honestly a nicer fit because I have thin ankles to go with my skinny wrists). I had decided in January that this pattern would be ok in variegated yarn because the only patterning was the open paired holes on the foot. So, bound and determined, I set these back up to be knit sparingly with other projects.

The further I got on these socks the more I couldn't decide how I felt about them. I love the yarn (also used for my Pixie Mitts, Knit Picks Imagination in the Pixie colorway), and found the pattern absolutely inspiring, but I could not decide how I felt about the two together. Though I still feel ambivalent to the socks themselves, what saved them was the fun I had knitting them around other people.

For the past two weeks I have been staying with my parents as a mini vacation (mini because I was supposed to be doing school work and will probably not see another "vacation" until after I graduate) before I head off to language school. My mom teaches PE at a small local private elementary and middle school, so I spent a lot of time visiting her and watching adorable little people run around playing crazy games (you have to remember, I don't ever see kids at home, just their college version selves). One of the highlights of last week was attending the talent show in which a fourth grader sang a Miley Cyrus song better than I had ever heard it sung (she was on pitch singing without music) and a third grader did an excellent Michael Jackson impersonation. Some of the other acts, well, lets just say it was the year of the Miley and I was grateful to have something to distract me.

Another night I went to the Kindergarten graduation (my mom has them for class, so we went in support). Aside from the enjoyment of hearing five and six year olds recite Japanese (their teacher lived there for thirty-eight years), I had an entertaining time with one of the students' younger brother who sat in front of me. Mom and I were there pretty early (gotta get a spot before everyones' grandma) and so out came the knitting. The little boy was fascinated. He asked all sorts of questions and was shocked at how smooth my needle was when I let him touch it. His parents were entertained as well and his grandfather actually stole my finished sock to show to his wife and the in-laws.

So despite the fact I wasn't too fond of the product, the compliments I received on the socks were enough to give me hope that the finished work would be worth something.

Boy was I ever right!

Unfortunately the socks are rather big on me and so bagged a bit when I hurriedly photographed them before yet another summer storm hit.

Fortunately for the socks, and for my self-esteem as a knitter, I found someone who I believe will love them the way they deserve.

I left this on my sister's pillow before Mom and I left for our two day road trip to my summer home.

When I asked Mom if she thought my sister would know how to care for a hand-knitted gift she reminded me that all I can do is provide instructions but after that it is out of my hands and I have to be ok with that. And she's right. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee writes in her book Yarn Harlot: the Secret Life of a Knitter

"When it is all over, when the socks are done, a knitter will have invested an average of twenty thousand stitches in the name of love and warm feet, knowing full well that the socks will wear out."

That's the scary thing about socks. They don't last forever. But I hope my sister, who begins work in her university's nursing program next semester resulting in a lot of time spent on her feet, will truly enjoy them while she can. I hope she takes care of them and loves them. And I hope that she does not save them only for special occasions. Because after all, everyone, particularly a nurse, deserves comfy feet.

1 comment: