Saturday, January 31, 2015

Let's Talk About Socks

Nothing seems to convince a non-knitter that you are a nutjob faster then telling them you knit your own socks. The reactions are predictable and feel inevitable. "Why make them when you can buy socks to cheap?" "Why would you spend that kind of money on socks?" I've gotten everything from scorn to open-mouthed staring when knitting my socks. Well, I'm here to tell you that if you have to ask why bother then you have clearly never had the pleasure of wearing hand-knit socks.

The most common reaction seems to be to question the amount of money spent on socks. And yes, you can easily spend $40 or more on enough yarn for one pair of socks. I've drooled over plenty of skeins of hand-dyed sock yarn (The "Supernatural" inspired line of colors by Playat Life Fiber Arts comes immediately to mind, although it's pretty reasonably priced for what it is) but I've never been able to justify forking over that kind of money. I think the most I've ever spent on sock yarn was $26, and I was using it in a sweater. Usually, my socks cost me closer to $10, which is less than I've seen women's wool socks go for in stores like Cabela's or REI.

I also want to point out that my first pair of socks was lace (which can wear out quicker than a more solid fabric), it was done with a single-ply yarn (which I later learned was bad for socks because it wears out too quickly), I've thrown them in both the washer and dryer (another sock no-no) and yet after three and a half years of constant wear they are still in good shape. If I wear a hole in the socks I'll darn them and probably get a couple more years out of them. So if these are socks where I did just about everything wrong imagine how long a decent pair will last me. Not bad for a $10 investment.

Here is a picture, in case you wanted to know what they look like:

I also get a lot of people asking me why bother making socks. I have a couple of reasons. 1) They are comfortable. Seriously. I spend my entire work day on my feet and I nice cushy pair of socks really does make a difference at the end of the day. I wear my wool socks all year round too. A lot of people think that all wool does is keep you warm. That actually isn't the case. Wool wicks moisture away from your skin far better than cotton so on hot days when your feet are sweating you will be happier in wool socks. And reason 2) I find the process of knitting socks enjoyable. I've always got at least one pair of socks cast on. I keep them in my purse so I always have something to do with unexpected downtime. They also typically don't require that much attention on my part so I can watch TV and still work on them. I like working on double-points, and I like working with finer yarns. I've made at least a dozen pairs of socks in the last three years and I am still amused by turning the heel. In short, knitting socks makes me happy.

Here is a picture of a sock that I made last week. I named it "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot" because the original pattern was called Earl Grey which naturally made me thing of Star Trek and Jean-Luc Picard (even though I'm pretty sure it was named after the color of the original yarn).

And these are my all time favorite socks. I've made this pattern twice. It's called Hermione's Everyday Socks. I love them so much that I've just cast on a new pair of socks by the same designer. They are also Harry Potter themed (Also, sorry for the background in this picture, I didn't know I would someday be posting it in a blog when I snapped it). I'll post a link the pattern and a picture when I finish them.

Point being, I really like socks. Especially socks wish slightly nerdy names. So be prepared for a lot of socky goodness on this blog.

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