Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sock it to me!

You may be asking yourself, "Hmmmm... I wonder what Soozcat has been up to lately."

Well, I'll show you.
I've been knitting my first sock. It's coming along; I've just rounded the heel and am working my way down the gusset section.

"Now why would you want to knit a sock?" I hear some of you cry. (You've got carrying voices, people.) "Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper, not to mention faster, just to buy a pair?" Well, yes, it would. There are several reasons why I want to learn how to do this:

1) Despite the widespread existence of restaurants, clothing stores and Jiffy Lubes, a certain percentage of people continue to cook their meals at home, make their own clothes and change the oil in their cars. There's something intensely satisfying about activities that exercise your self-reliance, about being able to do certain things for yourself even if, thanks to specialization, you no longer need to know how.
2) There's a beauty to handmade things. The yarn I picked up for this project was handpainted, and it forms unusual stripes and swirls of color in the knitting as I work. I've also come to appreciate the time and effort that goes into knitting a garment by hand. I'm not a fast knitter, especially when I'm following a pattern. Socks may be some of the most mundane, everyday items we wear, and yet there's an art to making them, a way of shaping them so they cradle a foot perfectly.
3) It makes me feel closer to my ancestors. My great-grandma, who grew up in Holland, learned how to knit when she was tiny and was responsible for knitting all the socks for her large family while she was still in grade school. In turn she taught me to knit, though I wasn't patient enough and she wasn't around long enough to teach me how to knit socks. Whenever I knit, I think of Grandma and of all the stories she told, the games she played with us, the way she viewed her life with such romance. This small thing, which I don't do very well, helps connect me to her.
4) As I put it on Facebook, "come the Zombie Apocalypse when you have cold feet after hours of fighting the undead, you will THANK me for adopting this useful skill." And don't you forget it.


PG said...

I haven't knitted socks for a long time, (I hate knitting) but they were the only things I enjoyed making, especially when I turned a heel all on my worn and it worked!

PG said...

All on my worn??? I meant all on my own...

Scarehaircare said...

I would love to learn to knit if I had the time. I really should start crocheting again. I only have time on Sundays. I used to make hats and booties for the humanitarian kits.

Soozcat said...

Right now I'm knitting more than I really have time (it's cutting into other things I should be doing). But knitting tends to be a feast-or-famine affair around here... I'll work on something for weeks, then put it away for months.

I measured my feet carefully and knitted up a swatch before I started, but this sock looks like it's coming out too big. *sigh* Guess we'll see how it looks when it's done.

tlawwife said...

I've started to make socks a couple of times but really have trouble with the gauge. I'm not giving up though.

Soozcat said...

I've been using the basic sock pattern from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd. The first sock turned out fine, but a little roomy in the toe. I think next time I'll try making it a size or two smaller than what the measurements would dictate and see if that works.