As always, starting a new project involves quite a bit of thinking before any knitting actually happens. No matter what project I think I have on the queue, the final details are still very liquid, even after cast-on! My latest project is going to be a pair of socks, but it was going to be a sweater for quite a while. I don’t know when it turned into socks. Pretty recently, I think …
Since I haven’t ever knitted a pair of “regular” socks for myself, I don’t have any tried and true sizing information. What I had was: two hanks of nice Knit Picks Gossamer “Blue Jeans”, dpns in all sizes except US #2 (another project active on those!) and enough experience in top-down sock basics to be dangerous. I settled on a pattern and got started but quickly realized that the cast-on count was too small for my (apparently large-ish) legs. Without enough experience to adjust confidently, I decided to surf around and find a pattern closer to my needs. Got it! I’m now well into the first cuff of the Menehune Cobblestones socks from Crystal Palace Yarns.
But during my search, I noticed that one of the sock patterns that made it to my short list, Beginner Socks Knitting Pattern by Kim Goddard, had some very intriguing advice that got the imagination going! At the end of the instructions, it says:
“Now you can make the mate. Handmade socks don’t always match. If you want to, you can create a wardrobe of single unmatched but coordinating socks and wear a different pair every time!”
I, like so many others, have always assumed that a pair of socks is forever bound in a commitment more permanent than marriage. (There is no such thing as sock divorce, is there?) The sock drawer seemed to be a stable community of faithful, perfectly-matched partners all hugging each other tightly as they awaited their chance to protect and adorn. Oh sure, one sock might sit uncomfortably on the outer edge of the drawer area, awaiting a laundry-delayed partner. But a reunion was always expected! And in the event of a sock loss … its mate became useless and was cast out of the sock community.
But now a Liberal Sock Thinker has proposed that socks need not be mated for life! They may come into this world, proud of their handmade heritage, free to be the unique object that each sock is. No pressure to be a perfect match for some other sock. No ostracizing when a partner is sadly lost. Of course, the sock’s duty to the foot remains its paramount function. But now a foot owner may choose socks according to flexible pairing criteria. Colors, pattern, theme, texture, yarn content, whim … the sock drawer becomes a milieu of friends and acquaintances. There would still be traditional pairings, of course, but loose groupings of favorites would also form and perhaps a few independent types would stand alone, challenging the foot owner to try a daring match …
Hmmm, is this too much drama for the sock drawer? Nah! Handknits are drama!