Why on earth knit socks???

I finished my first sock yesterday! Never thought I’d ever be thrilled about knitting a sock. I hate feet and anything to do with them. They gross me out and always have. Even my own. So entering the world of sock knitting has been an epic journey for me.

Most of the members of our knitting group are regular sock knitters. Inspirational sock knitters! But for me, ever since I started knitting, I have violently balked at the idea of making socks. I just never got the point of it. There are so many, MUCH more bee-autiful patterns out there that I’d rather be making. Not just that, but the thought of hiding the gorgeousness of my sock weight yarns on my feet, inside shoes no less, was ludicrous, bordering on hysterically laughable.

Then, in May, a friend was asked to give a cuff-down sock knitting class at a nearby shop in Roodepoort, Craft Academy Fabrics & Fibres. I decided to join the class to offer her some moral support. Maybe it was time to at least appear to be finally interested in this sock knitting malarky?

When the day of the class arrived, I’d been man-down with flu for more than a week (my husband says I can do man-flu better than any man). My brain was as useful to me as cottonwool is to washing a floor, but I was determined to not let Sally down. So I dug through my Stash-with-a-capital-S to find something that I would not mind “wasting” on a mini sock and set off to engage with the world of sock knitting.

The attendees were a lovely group and the class was great. It was wonderful to see someone I’ve known socially for a few years in a completely different environment and role. I was thoroughly impressed with her professionalism! Unfortunately, still not enough to venture forth and knit socks. In part because I still didn’t get it. Mostly because, in my unwell state, the techniques Sally had taught had lodged in my mind like sand in the wind – not at all.

Having just about finished my first big project – Boxy – I went on to start another two… Stella My Size and Read Between the Lines (there’s also a crochet version available here). Lordy lordy, they have been never-ending. I am a painfully slow and careful knitter. I do it to relax and I’m generally not focused on the goal of casting off. That being said, one neeeeeds to do small quick little projects in between just to be able to finish something. So I finished off some mittens, a couple of facecloths, a cowl. Somehow, though, it wasn’t possible to knit on these at the movies.

I always fall asleep at the movies. Al.Ways. Regardless of what the movie is or how hard I try to stay awake. Eventually the popcorn runs out or I’m too stuffed to eat anymore and I nod off. It annoys my girls no end that I wake up just before the end and ask something like, “How did Thor get another eye?” This holiday I realised that one way to stay awake was to take my knitting with. I tried and failed. I made the mother of all mess-ups. Because, for me, with patterns that are not just mindless knitting, I need to concentrate. I have to pay attention to stitch count and be able to actually see what I’m doing. PING! Light bulb moment. Enter the humble sock…

This was the answer to staying awake at the movies. I decided that I need to have a sock on my needles at all times for similar moments that require mindless knitting. The toe, gusset and heel are the only parts that require my full attention. The bits in between can be knit virtually blindfolded. So I’m finally converted to the need for knitting socks. Just not yet convinced that they’re worth my gorgeous indie yarns. Commercial sock yarns will do for now.

Sally is nearly over the moon that I finally cast-on a sock. Nearly but not totally, because I don’t think she quite believes that I’ll finish a pair. She frequently points out that I’m the only one from the class who has yet to make a pair of socks. Guilty as charged. But I’m halfway there. One is finished and I’m thrilled with the result. Toe-up and with an eye-of-partridge heel, no less.

Best I cast on that second sock, pronto. Before I lose momentum. Or forget, again, how to do the short rows. And heel flap. You never know when you’ll need a bit of mindless knitting with you…

PS – Sally, thanks for trying to be patient with this reluctant sock knitter.

PPS – No knitter was injured in the waxing of that leg.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2018 Brenda Olwagen
  • Megan Caldwell

    Awesome! I must try knitting socks sometime, maybe when my next 3 crochet projects are completed.

    • Yarntails

      So you'll be starting those socks very soon?...You crochet so fast! ;-)

  • Gen

    Thats inspired me to get to one of Sally's lessons and take the plunge into sock knitting! That is a very pretty sock!

    • Yarntails

      You'll have to get her to give a class at Stitches! Thanks for the compliment, Gen. xo

  • Tracy

    Hat's off to you Brenda! I am absolutely fascinated by knitted socks but I don't see myself ever knitting a pair. Love seeing the results though

    • Yarntails

      Thanks Tracy. I loved crocheting and never thought I'd ever want to knit. Now here I am knitting socks. Maybe you'll change your mind, too ;-)

  • Marisa Hendricks

    Socks feel like next level knitting to me. Like you've arrived as a knitter when you knit your own socks. I tried knitting a pair a few years ago on dpn's but it was a dismal fail as my kids (very small still) kept pulling out my needles and trying to piece everything together again for the 5th time was just to much so I ended up frogging it. But I am keen to try again. Just to find the time!

    • Yarntails

      I've noticed that, even with single/no kids friends, there's just not enough time to feel like you're on top of things. Time is such an issue, right? I've not made much progress on the sock-buddy for exactly that reason. So I've yet to arrive as a knitter. Maybe one day 😄

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