11 November 2007

Why knit socks?

My sister asked me yesterday what was the appeal of sock knitting. She knits on occasion, but does not have the obsession that I have, and she has never knitted socks before. So, I tried to explain it to her.

I think sock knitting is so popular among knitters for several reasons.

1) It's the ultimate portable project. An in-progress pair of socks, needles, and yarn can be stuffed into even the smallest of purses and taken anywhere.

2) There is some amount of instant gratification with knitting socks. I'm not a very fast knitter, but I can finish one sock in a week and a half. That's possibly only 3 weeks for a pair. I know others can produce a pair in an even shorter amount of time.

3) Although some sock yarns are more expensive than others, one can still purchase a pair of socks' worth of yarn for cheaper than a sweater's worth. It is possible for sock knitting to be relatively inexpensive (as long as one does not amass an enormous sock yarn stash).

4) There are many sock yarns available that are hand painted and hand dyed. The variety of colors in the land of sock yarns makes experimenting with color pretty easy. I have a lot of colors that I really like, but would never wear as a sweater or shawl. I feel freer to work with brightly colored yarns and unusual color combinations because the finished product is small and not as visible as other pieces of clothing.

5) To go along with the ability to experiment with color is the possibility of stitch pattern experimentation. Socks are small, so one can try out different stitch patterns without committing to something as large as a sweater. Also, stitch patterns that might not be flattering in a sweater could work just fine in a sock (I'm thinking of some of the lacier stitch patterns).

6) For me, sock knitting is also appealing because of the small needles and thin yarn. I know that this is a drawback to some people, but I much prefer working with the smaller needles. Additionally,working with DPNs was painful to my hands after a while, but once I switched to magic loop, I no longer had that problem, and I could knit for longer in one sitting.

7) And, finally, anyone who has worn handknit socks knows how superior they are to store-bought socks. Not only am I addicted to knitting socks, but my feet are addicted to wearing them.

Something I cannot explain is that I am happiest when I have a sock on the needles. I cannot wait until I am finished with the 2 projects that I am working on right now so that I can start the Elongated Corded Rib socks again. I just don't feel like I'm feeding my inner knit demon when I'm not working on socks.


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