Thursday, September 07, 2006
What the Muggles Think...
ETA: Welcome to all who are stopping by for the first visit via the SAM2. Come stay a spell -- can I offer you something? Tea? Coffee? Cookies? Let's talk about about knitting!
I have made socks for all the women in my family: my mom, sister, daughter, and both of my brothers' wives. Oh, and me. The socks on the left are the most recent pair, gifted to my sister-in-law, and the ones on the right are, of course, the TBS on the feet on my sister.
The striped socks began their life as a pair of basic stockinette socks for me, my first pair. The plan was to figure out "my basic sock recipe," and begin cranking out a bunch of simple socks for the upcoming cold seasons. They knitted up so quickly. I loved the yarn, I loved the stripes, and I began to really embrace the love of the simple stockinette socks.
But one weekend at the shore, the SIL took an interest in the socks. I love the perspective of non-knitters; I talk about knitting with other knitters, and am reluctant to bore the Muggles with knit-chat. But I think sometimes we knitters and bloggers are so insular; we get caught up in trends and fads, and make items for the yarn and not for the wearing, for the challenge, but not for the flattering looks. Non-knitters sometimes need to tell us needle freaks what we look like to the outside world. Remember the socks-with-Tevas debate with my sister?
She began by asking some semi-technical questions, about the construction of the sock, how it stripes, etc. I appreciated how interested she seemed in my hobby, so I happily obliged her with a basic discussion of toe-up sock construction and sock yarn.
As the conversation went on, though, what she really wanted to know was if I was going to match these socks to my shirt. Now, I don't know about you, but I am not organized enough to match my handknit socks to my shirt. Matching my clothes rarely enters my mind when I go into a yarn store and pick the prettiest sock yarn I can find. It has at one point occurred to me that perhaps I should purchase more subdued sock yarn to make more versatile socks, but I don't so much think of my handknit socks as a wardrobe item so much as a luxury, a little work of art for my feet, a surprise in the clogs. I knit handknit socks as much for the enjoyment of the knitting as for the pleasure of the wearing.
I knit socks because they are the closest thing to instant gratification in knitting. And as a knitting project, it is perfection. There is mindless knitting (cuffs and feet), interesting construction (so many heel and toe techniques), and endless possibilities and combinations. It doesn't hurt as much to frog a sock as it hurts to frog a sweater. You can finish a project in the most luxurious yarn and still not break the bank. You can go crazy with colors and not embarrass yourself by wearing them as a sweater. As all sock knitters know, handknitted socks just feel so damn good. And for me, there is always that feeling of anticipation that maybe this time, this pair of socks will be the perfect combination of yarn, color, pattern, and fit.
But to the non-knitter, handknitted socks are just socks. And socks, to my SIL should match your shirt.
As she continued to press, I finally asked if she wanted me to knit her a pair of socks. She enthusiastically said yes. I began to ask her about colors; would she like stripes or a more varied color pattern, a solid, lacy, what?
Well, I quite like those colors. Those are really my colors. And I would love a shirt that color too.
Then she tried them on.
Oh, they fit perfectly. Even better than they fit you, I think.
She was so right. My first attempt at stockinette socks were a little too long in the foot and a little tight in the calf. But they looked great on her.
So I gave them to her, and now she is in search of the perfect top to match the Regia socks, and I am still in search of the perfect socks.
Yarn & Needles: Regia 4 Ply Wool Mini-Ringel Rio 5217, US1 Addis, Magic Loop
Pattern: Basic Stockinette Sock, attempt #1