The Socks that Started it All

February 20, 2012

The first time I knitted a sock, I was on a trip down south. Knitting waxes and wanes in my life, and I hadn’t brought any with me. But these trips tend to be working vacations (hello, joys of freelancing!) so I was there for a while, and I got the notion that I wanted something to knit.

It seemed a very decadent idea, buying yarn and needles on impulse because I wanted something to do just then- kind of like buying a sweater while you’re out because you forgot to bring one and you’re chilly.

I’d recently discovered a yarn shop charmingly situated in an old house, with yarn piled in all the rooms. I must not have noticed on my first visit that the owner was one of those disapproving yarn ladies who thinks you’re doing it wrong. While I was there, I watched her sniffily tell off a weaving student for being a dilettante, because she’d decided weaving was not for her after all.

The shop didn’t have that much sock yarn, either, and it was rather more expensive than I was comfortable with. But I was there, and I wanted yarn, and she was glaring at me like she knew I was just going to fondle her yarn without buying any. I felt like a deer in the headlights.

I bought some yarn.

Which I didn’t even end up liking that much. It was some kind of hand-dyed stuff, and the irregular blotches of color reminded me of ugly turtleneck sweaters from the 70’s. Moreover, the socks bled horribly when gently hand washed, which kind of shocked me, given the price of the stuff.

Despite all this, I enjoyed knitting those socks. They took forever, as socks will, and I liked that because it forced me to disengage the part of my brain that was in a hurry, giving free reign to the part that enjoys the process. Not to mention the alchemy of shaping the sock and turning the heel. As the Yarn Harlot recommends, I stopped regularly in the process to admire my own cleverness.

But I wasn’t entirely convinced I wanted to do it again.

Not Impressive

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