One thing many of my uncrafty friends struggle to understand is why anybody would spend the time knitting a pair of socks when they can be bought so cheaply on the high street. I see their point, I really do, yet still I knit socks.
Well, here, now, today, I will try to justify why.
Handmade socks are crafted to perfection to feet your feet. I’m a woman’s size eight foot, which often means buying women’s size 4-7 socks or men’s socks. The former are never quite big enough and stretch uncomfortably at the heel, often meaning big holes and lots of patching. Men’s socks -well, that’s my favoured solution but the colours and the styles tend to be a little more mundane. Imagine the luxury of a pair of socks that are knitted to fit your feet. OK, so this doesn’t always work and pairs of socks intended for me have been gifted to people with appropriately sized feet in the past, but there’s always someone out there who the socks will fit.
Socks are a challenge to knit, but not too much of a challenge because (unless you’re knitting for big-footed men) there’s not too much to them. Once you’ve mastered the toes, turning the heels and casting on or off the tops, that’s the basics sorted. Then you can start playing with different patterns and methods of construction. The number of fun, interesting, available-for-free pattens is practically endless.
You can easily take a sock with you to knit on the way. If you’re not organised, you can pick up needles and wool and run out the door and make the pattern up as you go along. Socks can be knitted on circular needles so you can knit on aeroplanes without any pesky issues of trying to get long pointy metal or wooden things past security.
But the biggest, best, most compelling reason for knitting your own socks is that they are warm. Warmer than anything I’ve bought on the high street, even from specialist camping shops where the socks are supposed to be particularly warm. This is important when you live in a house there the temperature in one room is, according to our thermometer, so low there is a ‘risk of hypothermia’. Now that winter has started to bite, on days that I’m going to spend at home I find myself reaching for the handmade socks. They are worn, washed and worn again. I can’t tell you how durable they are because I haven’t yet worn a pair out.
It’s taken me a little while to find a wool that I really like for knitting socks because I don’t believe in handwash only socks. Really, there’s more to life. My last few pairs have been made from The Knitting Goddess 4 ply sock yarn, and now I’m a huge fan. I’m a bit too much of a sucker for the colours which means I end up knittng using interesting constructions rather than interesting patterns. I learnt with my first pair of socks that lots of colours and lots of pattern produces socks that are a little… overwhelming.
So that’s why I’m sitting here on this cold, blustery day knitting yet another pair of socks for myself. I’m working on Skew in a colourway called Iris (not currently on the website) and it’s making my brain ache but in a good way. My feet are looking forward to trying them out for size.