The trouble with socks is that there are two of them. Now you might think that this is a good thing, except when only one reappears after washing. It’s also not such a great thing when it comes to the knitting of them. If one sock is scary then the second one is twice as scary. Why? Because it has to match.
Well, at least be similar enough to pass for a pair.
I drew the line at having the second sock be half navy blue and half black, despite the similarity of tone, because even idiosyncratic sock wearers tend to have standards these days. It’s true, I’ve got old and boring. I don’t buy socks anymore with those gimmicky cartoons and slogans, which never applied to me anyway. I love shopping? No, never. But apparently all female sock wearers do. Or better the ones with veiled sexist insults, stroppy ‘moo’ anyone? Who designs these things?! Nope, these days the majority of my socks are black, just plain old boring black. No more stripey knee highs for me either, I think I may have grown up. I’ve even reverted to wearing paired socks rather than the first two (or four in my case) out of the drawer. Oh yes, I’ve grown up.
But when you buy socks, you take it for granted that they will be of a matching sock shape. (Admittedly this is getting less likely as is the presence of enough elastic to keep the sock where it should be and fabric which actually survives more than one wash. Increased price, decreased quality in clothing is one of my pet peeves). If you make them yourself, you suddenly take on a very heavy burden of responsibility.
I mean, who first decided to make socks? They really deserve a place in the history books, I’m sure, generations of cosy feet owe a huge debt of gratitude to that one person. How did they make them? Had knitting been invented then? Because the next hero of sock invention is the genius who first turned a heel. What made them do it? Comfort plus a far superior brain than mine? As I said about my previous sock, there is something magical about that process which connects two tubes in a very comfortable and fitted way. I couldn’t invent that, I have to rely on wiser people to write patterns for me.
Talking of pattern writing, my heels are a little suspect. I’m meant to have neat columns of stitches lined up at the back of the ankle and I clearly don’t. I was a little surprised because Susan B. Anderson writes a good pattern, she wrote the Quaker Ridge pattern too, remember? So I went on Ravelry and asked around. As usual, the fault lies with reader/knitter error and not with the designer. I seem to have misread a line totally but I do now know where I’m going wrong. And more importantly, how not to go wrong next time too.
When I finished my first sock, husband wasn’t particularly keen on the toe. He thought it looked ‘weird’. And ‘long’. It does actually. And a little too square. So he went and found a brand new pair of socks (so sock-shaped rather than foot-shaped) from his drawer and compared the toes. They’re the same! I guess we’ve just got a little too distrusting of anything handmade. Especially if I’m the one making it.
These are just straight stocking stitch socks with a rib cuff to keep them up. Some people run a thread of thin elastic, like that jewellery elastic, but apparently they don’t even need that. Handknit socks just stay up all by themselves. I’m a little distrusting of that too. I loathe falling-down socks. Ugh. That and I guess that I myself am a little distrusting of my skills.
And how identical do you need to make a pair of handknit socks? Is about the same size alright or do I have to religiously count how many rows there are on each section? I’ve worried quite a bit about this, as you might have guessed. Fit is really the most important thing when it comes to socks, well any item of clothing I guess, although I can also do some worrying about whether or not wool socks will be itchy. I’m not one of those paranoid people who thinks wool is itchy, full stop, by I do have major skin problems on my feet. I’m thinking that I’ll wear them with a pair of cotton socks under. (I have to wear two pairs in my boots anyway).
So that leaves me in this slightly nervous place: I have two socks.
Finished, completed (alright, there’s a few ends to weave in). So what next?
I think I’m going to have to try them on.
Well, that would make sense, really. Especially as I’ve cast on my third sock already and if the fit needs tinkering, it’ll probably be best to find out sooner rather than later.
Oh, and I think that I’ve finally become a sock knitter. How did I get there?!