Wednesday, March 19, 2008

When is a sock not really a sock?

Answer: When it's still in my stash, waiting to become what it wants to be.

I've knit my share of hats and scarves over the years. I've also knit afghan squares, a few bags, a t-shirt, a shrug and crocheted a sweater. I plan to knit some mittens and gloves soon with my handspun DorsetX. But there's one thing that I can't really find within me the excitement to knit, no matter how practical it may be or how many lovely patterns I admire. Try as I might, I cannot bring myself to be interested in knitting socks.

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that I rarely wear socks myself. In the summer, I live in sandals. At home I have cozy slippers, at night my feet need to breathe. Even in the dead of winter, my stinky feet are quite often bare inside my toasty boots. My grandmother would probably think this makes me an uncouth heathen, but there it is. I like the idea of socks, but in practice, they just aren't me.

I recently found, if you can believe it, a pair of kneesocks that I received as a Christmas gift when I was fifteen. And how do I remember getting these socks as a Christmas gift over 20 years ago, you might wonder? Well, they are very very COOL socks, and were from a favourite Great-aunt who always sent the neatest gifts and I really like them. The kicker? (HA! Get it? Kick? HA!) The socks look like I got them a year or two ago. That is how little I wear socks. They also still fit. See?

On the left, one of the 20+ year-old socks from Aunt Ethel, in all its excellentness. On the right, another sock I've had since high school. Weren't the 80s grand? In the background, a hint of my work world: my well-loved English reference grammar.

So, when I was reorganizing the stash the other day, I was surprised to notice that I seem to have accumulated a surprising amount of sock yarn. Not all of it was a surprise: A couple years ago, a friend (thanks, Jenny!) brought me back some self-striping, washable sock yarn from Finland. I've eyed it for a while, never quite taking the plunge into sock-land, but its arrival nearly two years ago seemed to start a trend of accumulating sock stash.

Finnish sock yarn and Cat Foot: A study

The black Paton's Kroy Sock yarn also wasn't a surprise - it was 1/2 of the mix I used for the Shimmer shrug, and I still have 2 balls of it. However, shortly after I received the Finnish yarn, I seem to have been bitten by a sock bug, and I went out and bought several 40" Addi Turbo circs in sizes from 00 - 4 (since my beloved Denise needles only go down to size 5), as well as a book of sock patterns and some exceptionally soft sock-weight Lana Grosso. It's quite yummy, and I swatched up a tube on several sizes of the needles, but never committed to actually making a sock.

The short-lived sock fever faded last winter in favour of spinning, and I recently ripped out the tube swatch when I went through the WIP bag to reclaim needles.

Then a couple weeks ago, on a Mary Maxim run, I found a shelf of not only self-striping sock yarn, but self-patterning sock yarn. Several different brands, mostly imported from Germany (what's up with that? Since when did Germans corner the market on cool, self-patterning sock yarn?). OK, see, now these are just cool. I've been wanting to play with these for a while, so I thought I'd get one ball and try it out - but I couldn't help myself after I saw the brand called "Ja, Woll!" If you know any German, that will hopefully strike you as mildly amusing (and typical for German humour). So I got two balls.

When I go to pack up my new acquisition of the coolest-ever-sock-yarns-that-might-never-become-socks, and what do I find? Oh yes:

Fleece Artist hand-painted sock yarn and another, equally cool, self-striping yarn. OK, now this was a surprise. I had completely forgotten it - I have a vague memory of being in Lettuce Knit last year and asking about Blue Moon Fibre Arts Socks That Rock (they were sold out at the time), so maybe that's when the madness took hold? I don't think I bought them at the same time, either. Wow.

Add to this the three balls of Zephyr that I bought the Pennsic before last, and we reach the inevitable conclusion that I have way too much sock yarn and no desire to knit socks. What's a girl to do? And why do I want to go and buy more now?

It's a sickness, I tell you. I could knit hats with it, or many other things. But no - I'm saving the sock yarn for socks that I can't bring myself to start. Sigh.

No comments: