19 January 2011

It Was the Socks' Fault, Not Mine

My blog seem to have vanished from the face of the earth. I blame it on two things: facebook and sock knitting. The thrill of the first has worn off a bit, although I used its messaging to arrange a huge surprise for my husband's birthday. I got his brother, sister-in-law, and niece to fly out from Iowa for his 70th birthday (26 December) and our 40th anniversary (31 December).

The thrill of sock knitting lives on. I finally tried it, years after it became so popular. I got Melissa Morgan-Oakes's two books on knitting socks two at a time, cuff down and toe up, using Magic Loop. Then I sent off to KnitPicks for worsted weight yarn in approximately the colors she used for her sample socks. Carefully following each well-illustrated and well-described step, I discovered that sock knitting is easy. Then I did a little shopping and discovered that it's fun and pretty, too. I've just finished turning the heels on my twelfth pair of socks.

I can't recommend these two books enough. I've collected a bunch of other sock patterns and it's very easy to adapt any of them to her techniques.

The bitter irony of this new-found passion for knitting socks is that I don't wear hand-knitted socks. Mostly I wear thongs because I live in fairly warm places and sandals work just fine. On the rare occasions when I do wear socks, I wear Katie Bell socklets that I buy from Costco in bundles of ten pair. Or I wear a pair of cotton socks from my vast collection from Lands End, as these socks, bought before I retired in 2002, show no signs of ever wearing out.

So what do I do with all these socks I knit? I give them away, of course. I have friends and family in cold climates who love my socks. The first pair I knit, a lovely pair in purple, went to my beloved sister-in-law. My niece, my cousin's wife, my goddaughter, my cleaning lady, my friend Pat, e-friends on Usenet (alt.fan.cecil-adams, to be precise)--all of them get my hand-knitted socks. I buy colors of yarn with each of them in mind. When my sister-in-law and niece were here we went through my four bins of sock yarn and pulled out an entire bin for the two of them (plus four balls for my brother-in-law). Every one they liked was one I'd bought with them in mind, which made me happy that I'd picked so well. My dear goddaughter finds wool too itchy to wear, so I buy non-wool yarn, like bamboo, for her.

I was going to post a photo of some early pairs of socks, but it's not working from flickr and I can't figure out where I put the original. I'll dig out the memory stick, which is probably in the camera, which I think is in a knitting bag somewhere here, and get photos posted. I should probably photograph some of my yarn, too. I discovered Trekking XXL and Zauberballs, to add to the KnitPicks and Elann sock yarn. I have stopped going to my favorite sellers on eBay and Etsy because I absolutely cannot buy more sock yarn until I've knitted up at least a bin's worth.