It has been nearly a year since I cast on my first ever pair of socks. After twenty years of knitting all things except socks, what a joyous discovery this was! Over the past 11 months, I have knit one pair of Glenna’s basic ribbed socks (a great beginner pattern, should you be feeling the itch), four pairs of Blueberry Waffle socks, two pairs of toddler socks for Reed (one of which I promptly shrunk in the dryer), a pair of Man Socks (disliked the color, fretted over the size, but loved the pattern), and my recent accomplishment: this basic ribbed pair to gift. They might be a little long in the toe. Because nothing I knit is ever quite right.
Now, sock knitting, I have discovered, is a whole genre of art unto itself. (Andi recently published a three-part series dedicated to the art.) For me, sock knitting has become my perpetual side-knitting project. I always have a pair on the needles. I have learned to walk with them and knit, I travel with them in the car on road trips, and I will sneak in a handful of rows here and there while Reed happily plays nearby. They seemingly knit themselves in those little spaces of time that were never filled before.
Of all the socks I knit over the past year, only two have been for me. The rest have been gifted. I nearly gave myself a stroke trying to knit gift socks last Christmas. Never again.
I have one more pair of gifted socks to knit, to be fair about it all in the scheme of family distribution. After that, I am only knitting socks for me. I think. A lot of tiny stitches go into a pair of socks, and I am starting to feel a bit selfish about it. I want them all for myself.
We were camping this past weekend and I found myself in the jaw dropping situation of having not packed enough knitting. Usually I pack way too much, but I was trying to be realistic and it backfired. Poor planning on my part. I had neglected to inspect my sock progress before leaving and had misjudged how little I had left. Good news: you can find a yarn store with sock yarn almost anywhere, and I have decided that the Mendocino Yarn Shop is the smallest yet quirkiest shop with the most stunning view of all yarn suppliers everywhere. Now I am the proud owner of two skeins of new-to-me Australian Queensland Collection Rainbow Beach sock yarn. A happy ending to a sordid tale.
In a day’s time, I went from no knitting to inspiring my knitting-camping-friend to casting on her first pair of socks alongside me. There we were, basking on the sunny beach, and later the sitting next to the campfire, our needles lit with flashlights while everyone else slept, working on our socks and chatting the way girlfriends do.
And you just can’t get any better than that.