20 October 2008

First Time*

The first time I knit a sock I didn't realize it was such a big deal for people. I decided to make a birthday stocking (like a Christmas stocking) for Isobel, so just a really big sock in worsted weight yarn: shocking pink Malabrigo to be exact. So soft and shockingly pink. I followed the pattern I had for normal socks (the great Family Socks from Yankee Knitter), using bigger yarn and needles but the same stitch counts for the sake of my sanity.

Seemed kind of like no big deal. Why were some people so obsessed with knitting socks? And why were others so flummoxed by "turning the heel"? I guess I turned the heel. I mean, the thing had a place for a heel. Well, if you were a giant anyway.

It's kind of like cooking. Why are people so impressed with a home-cooked meal. If you follow the recipe (and don't lose your head), you should come up with a reasonable facsimile of dinner. But people are so impressed when you follow directions. Does no one else follow directions? I'm the only one, aren't I. Being the good girl isn't always easy, but I do end up with a tasty dinner. And socks with heels.

There are heel-less socks, though, called bed socks. Just a tube with a closed toe. They don't fit well in shoes but are cosy for bed or padding around the house.

I haven't knit any of those yet, though I'm finally (three years later) making a pair of socks for myself. The yarn is a gorgeous colorway from Madeline Tosh called Twilight, with shocking pink (again with that color), navy, and brown and green in between: the pink of sunset-tinged clouds, the blue of the night sky, and the dusky shade of the trees as the light fades.

These will be special socks just for me, unlike the socks I made for Peter. He was in rehab, and it seemed like the right thing to do, make him a pair of socks. I even followed the old wives' tale and knit a strand of my hair and one of Isobel's into the socks. It's supposed to bind the recipient to you. (Should have noticed the other one about knitting socks for your boyfriend: he'll walk out, but he was my husband.) So, it seemed like the right thing to do, since he was going to come back home. No one had asked me if I wanted him to. The good girl would, of course. Funny how that didn't work out. Making that pair for him. Does he still have them? Does it matter?

The pair for me are knit differently, toe-up to use as much of the gorgeous yarn as possible and with a short row heel to avoid picking up stitches, which I tend to do badly. His were just a lesson in construction, and I've learned a lot since then.

*I've just started a memoir writing class, and one of the exercises we did was to write about something we did for the first time. This was my essay. The photo is of the start of my second sock. I used Judy's Magic Cast-On, which I learned knitting up the Amy March Slippers around Mother's Day. It creates a toe that fits my pointy feet very nicely. And I used a short-row heel gleaned from various places online, including Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Sock.


  1. That's going to be a pretty pair of socks!

    And I like your essay. :-)

  2. Good essay and I have to agree. Although I think making a sock is a magical thing, with all the right angles and such that always work out so nicely, it is just a matter of following a good set of directions and knitting one stitch at a time.

    Following the directions or in the older vernacular, RTFM, seems to be a lost art in this plug and play society.

  3. Magical socks carry us through...
    hey we got the "Bone" for you... you still want?


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