Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Socks by any other name

Most socks are utilitarian. They insulate your feet from cold and damp. They keep new shoes from rubbing blisters on heels and toes. Some men have only one color and kind of sock to end confusion and save time searching for a missing mate to a particular sock. Most of us do not give much thought to our socks. Some fashion mavens opt for a pair of socks or stockings to match every outfit. Some outdoorsmen have special socks for cold weather and other socks for wet weather. Homeless people always seem to have holes in their socks, or no socks at all.

I knit socks as an exercise in creativity. I included pictures of two of the socks I make. The red ones are in no way utilitarian. They are meant for the boudoir, to accent a peignoir or negligee, as a sexy turn on or to add the finishing touch to elegant lounging pajamas. They are private and intimate items of apparel. They are made of fingering weight lace in a combination of silk and the finest wool. The Victorian insistence on secrecy in the bedroom was a perfect venue for these small beauties. You can find them on etsy at Nona'sKnits.

The lavender socks are pedicure socks. They  are designed to keep one's feet warm while  applying color to the toenails.  They also keep softening creams and lotions in contact with the skin and off the sheets. This pair is made of Turkish yarn that is a combination of nylon and acrylic so it holds its shape and is durable enough to go through the washer and dryer.

I have red socks for matchmakers and exercise socks for dancers and fitness buffs who need some warmth at the ankle but have to have their feet free for movement.  One of the advantages of hand knit socks is that they can be made to measure. If your heel is deeper than the average heel, if your toes are longer than usual, wide feet, narrow feet, made to measure socks accommodate all of that. There is no end to the fun socks can be.

If you have never knitted a pair of socks for yourself, get a skein of Pattons sock yarn and give them a go. When you get hooked on making and wearing made to measure socks, branch out and make two at a time on round needles, toe up or cuff down. Experiment with casting on and kitchener stitches. Take a class in sock making at a local yarn store or corner your grandmother or aunt to show you how they kept their family in fitted footwear before mass produced socks.

One of my knitting friends wooed her first love in the sixth grade with argyle socks. She doesn't remember what he looked like, but she swears she would recognize the socks anywhere.

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