Knitting is one of my relaxation hobbies. I pick up the needles when I need something quiet and restorative to do, when I’m too tired to work and too awake to nap. As a result, most of my knitting projects are simple. If I have to think too much, it defeats the purpose. So mostly I knit socks.
Socks would not be everyone’s idea of an easy project, but I’ve been making them for years. I have my favorite sock pattern memorized and knitting in the round has become automatic. The heel and the toe require some attention, but if I am knitting a plain sock without any fancy stitches or patterning, I spend most of the time doing simple, straightforward, brain-dead knitting that allows me to slip into the meditative state I’m looking for.
A decidedly portable knitting project, socks are much easier to travel with than sweaters or afghans, and they are practical. When I’m done, I have something I will wear. Other small knitting projects, like hats and gloves, are also practical, but how many hats do you need? Unless you lose them all the time, a couple of hats will take care of you for many winters. I put on a different pair of socks every day.
My favorite way to make sock-knitting more exciting without making it any harder is to use self-striping yarn. The yarn is dyed with a variety of colors so that it makes stripes or other patterns as you knit. When I first started using these yarns, I bought three different styles. I started knitting my first sock, eager to see what pattern the yarn would make. Once I could tell what the yarn was doing, I was itching to play with the other two skeins I’d bought. I had to force myself to finish that first sock before I switched yarns, but I didn’t make a complete pair of socks until I’d made one sock with each of them.
One of my favorite things about the socks I knit is that they never get lost in the wash. Unlike boring white store-bought socks, my hand-knit babies go in a mesh bag and stay together in the washer. Then I take them out and lay them out to air dry. Fortunately, the evil laundry elves that suck socks out of the washer can’t get them out of that bag. They don’t know how zippers work.
I only have two concerns about my sock fetish.
The first is that I have enough socks and really don’t need any more. I am making them faster than they wear out.
The easy fix is to start making socks for other people, but then I have to worry about them fitting. I know exactly what to do to make socks for myself. I have a small feet, so I don’t need that much yarn and it doesn’t take that long. I keep thinking I should make a pair for my husband. Then I look at his size 10/11 feet and shake my head.
The second is that I’m in a rut. I’ve been trying to get out of creative ruts and don’t want to be in one with my knitting. That’s why I’ve been knitting “at random” this year, making animals, vegetables, and pajamas for piggy banks. I’m currently making a patterned bag, and the knitting is involved without being difficult, but there are still days when I hesitate to pick it up.
I will keep trying other projects and stretching my knitting horizons. But I’m pretty sure as soon as I’ve finished the bag I’m working on, I’ll be casting a new pair of socks.