Noro lorra people know that*

I have to confess, as did WoollyDaze, to being an enthusiastic sock knitter (it’s me that’s enthusiastic, not the socks). My initiation began with Wendy Johnson’s double eyelet rib socks pattern (if you’re going to start turning heels, why not add a lace pattern and splitty yarn just to make it doubly challenging?) and moved swiftly onto her Southwestern socks. At the time I had a twice-weekly bus commute to work, and a slim circular needle with accompanying ball (or sock, depending on progress) only took up a small amount of room in my work bag. Plus, knitting in the round minimised the risk to my fellow commuters when the bus driver braked suddenly. Incidentally, I do find that knitting on public transport is an excellent way of ensuring that nobody sits down next to you until there’s absolutely no alternative seat available. For anyone tempted to try sock knitting but feeling uncertain about where to start, Wendy Johnson has a detailed toe-up sock pattern available for free from her blog.

Anyway, back to the point. At the moment I’m working on a pair of birthday socks for Mr WoollyDaze Too. The colour palette that he chooses to wear is fairly, erm, reserved, and I’ve decided to step outside his comfort zone somewhat by knitting the socks in Noro Kureyon Sock, shade 149. I prefer toe-up to top-sock sock constructions as they allow me to use every last inch of yarn, and for a big-footed bloke there’s the additional advantage of lessening the likelihood of running out of yarn. I also decided to split the ball into two and knit both socks simultaneously as I wasn’t sure I have the moral fibre to go back and knit the second if I did them one at a time. So, I cast on and, after merrily knitting for a while, this is what I had.

Toe-up socks in Noro Kureyon sock yarnDo you see why I was concerned? Now, I’ve heard it said that one should trust the Noro (specifically, trust that the colours will come together if one pushes through the doubt), so I did and you know what? While these socks are never going to be better than fraternal, I can live with that. So, how hard do you try and match your socks? (And I don’t mean when you’re sorting the washing.)

Last week I was invited to attend a talk introducing some of the features of the relaunched Oxford English Dictionary Online (OED). Here in the UK, we are extremely fortunate that anyone with a public library card has free access to this amazing resource. The OED is a descriptive dictionary, which is to say that it doesn’t try to define how language is used but merely records usage. The entry for knit as a verb, for example, states that in Old English the term was cnyttan and in Middle English knitten. ‘Knit’ as a verb meaning ‘to form (a close texture) by the interlooping of successive series of loops of yarn or thread’ was first recorded in 1530, though earlier definitions exist such as ‘Of bees: To cluster together in a mass’, which is now considered dialect. And the herb comfrey was once known as knit-wort or knit-back. And here’s a (now obsolete) definition of ‘knit’ for WoollyDaze: ‘To geld (a ram) by tying the scrotum.’

*with apologies to Cilla Black.

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