Thursday, January 29, 2009

One thing I've learned from knitting

No one expects you to knit something for them. This came as such a shock when I realized it sometime in the past year. Since I'm always knitting, it seems there must be some compelling reason. Perhaps my family will suffer from chill all winter through my failure to clothe them. Perhaps shoes will rub raw spots on naked feet. I think it's the puritan work ethic slipping its insidius tentacles into my brain. I think the failure to realize that no one is expecting anything is the reason so many knitters go absolutely nuts in October/November/December trying to make the perfect gift for every single person they know. Surely it isn't because we can't find enough great things to make for ourselves? Or is there a guilt switch here (i.e., if I'm buying yarn that will become a gift, I'm not really spending the money on myself)?

This winter I decided to make knit gifts for all of my relatives who have never received a knit gift from me (see previous post). I did it on a lark, as a bit of a challenge to myself. The great part was that if I failed, no one would ever know that I meant to make 5 hats and only finished 4. No one would ever know that I meant to make 2 pairs of socks but got distracted by some other sexy project halfway through sock #1. For me this took the stress out of holiday knitting.

It is with this in mind that I can admit my obsession with sock knitting.

No one really cares about socks. You can buy them damn cheap at any store. Target even has some really fantastic argyles right now. And yet the patterns and yarns and books just keep sucking me deeper. And it's OK, because since no one is expecting anything, no one cares if I churn out sock after sock rather than sweater after hat after scarf. Plus they're portable. The only downside is the you have to make two, though some people dispute this as a true necessity...

This book has me excited all over again (especially the sideways blue and orange pair, though it could be the color combo that got my attention). Grumperina has a great review with some pictures here. Now that I've made half a dozen pairs of socks from this book and am over my Cat Bordhi obsession it may be time to move on to something different. Interweave Knits had a teaser in their most recent issue, so I'm going to start there and maybe buy the book down the road (unless mom can use her 25% magic coupon and get it sooner!). And there are so many "classic" socks I haven't tried, like the Monkeys and Jaywalkers and the other beauties that come out regularly on Knitty. And there is the book I received for Christmas...and the two patterns I received in a recent swap...

And the yarn! The three (!) new skeins of sock yarn Mom gave me...and the skein from Sarah...and the three great skeins already sitting in my bin...

So yea. Socks socks socks. At the moment I'm finishing a pair for mom, slowly progressing on the second sock of a pair for myself, and just started a mindless stockinette sock in self-patterning yarn for a cousin. I think 3 is a good number of socks to have on the needles...though baby socks don't count and I was just invited to a baby shower next month. And swatching for the next pair that I'll cast on as soon as mom's are done isn't cheating - is it? I can't help feel the urge to knit and finish at least one pair so I can start something new! (Don't worry mom, yours are in the lead)


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