Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why I knit socks

A while back, I tried to count up all the pairs of socks I've completed since I started knitting socks 6.5 years ago. My estimate is somewhere between 60-70 pairs (accounting gets a lot easier with the advent of Ravelry). I've made them in all the colors of the rainbow. There have been lacy pairs and plain stockinette pairs and pairs with various types of ribbing. Most of them have been made with some sort of wool or wool/nylon blend (though one of my earliest pairs was made with alpaca--not a practical choice, but they sure are cozy!)

Cauchy Socks
Cauchy Socks [Ravelry page]

There are a handful of reasons why I keep making socks. They're relatively quick to knit (when compared to an adult-sized sweater, at least). They're practical (we don't always need ANOTHER hat, but who doesn't need another pair of socks???). The yarn comes in eye-catching colors which some people might not choose to wear on any other part of their body besides their feet. They're great travel projects. You can try out practically any stitch pattern.

Some More Socks
Some More Socks [Ravelry page]

They make great gifts. This is one of the biggest reasons I keep knitting socks. I know that I treasure the knitted socks I have received, and I choose to believe that everyone to whom I gift a pair treasures them just as much. Giving knitted socks is my way of saying, "I love you and value you enough to make something for your feet." :) If you'll indulge me a bit (like reading my blog isn't indulging me already--ha!):

Ode to My Socks - Pablo Neruda

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.

I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,

my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,

my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.

Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.