I'd been needle crafting for 25 years - mostly cross stitch
at the time, with bouts of crochet and knitting. Spring
before last, as I approached 40, vision problems shifted my
focus from linen and floss to needles & skeins. Seeking the
company of my own kind, I searched the Internet for
patterns and knitting lists. I stumbled into the Six
Sox KAL, found a great deal on double pointed needles
on Ebay, and never looked back.
I've made more progress in my craft in the past two years
than I had in the previous two decades. I started with only
one cast-on method and one bind-off, one increase and one
decrease. I've learned multiple variations of all of these
now, which ones to use when and why. Socks let me afford to
try new things, to learn and grow. Today's project is my
first venture into the new territory of Entrelac.
BS (Before Socks) I used only whatever cheap acrylic I
could find at Wal-Mart, knowing of nothing else. I'm a big
gal with kids and a full-time job, so a full-sized sweater
or afghan can take months or even years to finish. With
socks I've learned to spoil myself and become something of
a yarn snob, sticking to 75% wool / 25% nylon superwash for
my own feet. (Who knew wool could not only be soft and
comforting, but machine washable as well?)
I used to get bored and never knit the same thing twice.
Socks let me express myself, turning knitting into an art.
Socks have taught me the joys of variations on a theme. I
can mix and match, use the same pieces in different
combinations, change the colors or textures to produce
something unique every time. I tend toward some favorites -
top down, half-handkerchief heel and wedge toe grafted
across - because I've found these work well for me.
A pattern is no longer law but a set of guidelines, a
starting point to change and adapt to suit my own needs.
I've learned to upsize patterns to fit my own unique shape.
My legs are thick and taper down to the ankle, so I go down
a needle size halfway down the cuff and extend the gusset
to make the ball of the foot smaller around than the
After a lifetime thinking of myself as poor, socks have
also taught me just how rich I really am. I knit a lot of
socks for Children in
Common, for orphaned children without families or heat,
to keep little toes warm and to let them know that
somewhere in the world someone cares.
Socks are small, and thus easily portable. I knit on my
daily commute, on the bus and (weather permitting) while
walking, tiny ball of yarn tucked in one pocket and my Lyra
in the other, loaded with Pointy Sticks and
other knitting podcasts to keep me company. The friendly
voices reassure me that I am not alone in my addiction, and
that it's really okay and right and good.
Socks are solid bits of love, thousands of tiny hugs woven
together stitch by stitch.