- Portability. Few projects are as portable as socks. In my cute little silk tafetta Lantern Moon bag, I can carry a sock in progress, all the tools required to complete it, and yarn to make a mate (or the finished mate to show folks who ask what I'm making). I can slip the straps of the little bag over my wrist and keep knitting whether I'm standing in line or walking or sitting in a waiting room. It's darned near perfect.
- Speed. I often have a short attention span. Socks work with this trait because they work up so quickly. Socks never make me feel guilty for leaving them behind (see the portability point above) or taking too long to finish them. Sure sometimes one sock may wait a while for its mate to arrive while a sock of a different color is created first, but I haven't yet left a sock alone forever. (Time will tell on this one, as I have knit relatively few pairs of socks so far!)
- Variety. There are so many choices in sock yarn! Even if I could manage to make one sock every day for a year, I could easily do so without ever repeating a color -- heck there's a possibility that I could do it without ever using the same kind of yarn twice, although that might take a bit of research and hunting to accomplish. (Those of you who think that sounds like a fun challenge to undertake are truly sock junkies!) And beyond yarn choice, there's the variety of pattern choices one can make. Once I understood the basic construction of a sock (thank you Stephanie for Knitting Rules!), it became instantly apparent that virtually an endless number of stitch patterns can be used in making them. Wow. I can get creative or I can make them plain or I can follow someone else's pattern. Captain Kirk said, "I like to think there are always. . . possibilities." And with socks, there are!
- Utility. Socks are simply one of the most practical, usable knitted items around. Everyone needs a pair of socks now and then. The same cannot be said for a lace shawl or a cabled cardigan or even a pair of mittens. Even folks in moderate climates wear socks sometimes. They're also one of the few knitted items you can present to a man in your life and get him to wear (some guys may need a bit of arm-twisting before they'll wear the first pair).
- Renewability. I'm not sure that's the right word to describe this, but I love the fact that if you use them properly, you'll need to make more. Socks wear out. This presents a problem to some folks who receive them and exclaim, "They're too pretty to wear!" Every sock knitter needs to find their own way to convince recipients of their knitting that wearing the socks -- indeed, wearing them out -- is exactly what you want them to do. NOTE: Tackling the sock recipient and physically forcing the socks onto their feet is really not an option, even though it seems tempting at times!
In short, socks are fun. Socks are fast. Socks go where I go -- both during and after knitting. Socks offer endless variety to the knitter, both in material and pattern. Socks are a renewable resource! Now I ask you, is there anything else in the knitted realm that is as perfect as socks? I think not!
Sock number one almost met a sad and lonely end. I had the in-progress sock and both skeins of yarn in a ZipLoc bag. When we returned from the cruise, we stayed overnight at the Portland Airport Holiday Inn. The next morning when I was loading things into the car, the ZipLoc fell out somewhere along the way. I didn't realize it until I got home.
After frantically searching the car and all my luggage, I called the hotel. Chris in housekeeping managed not to laugh at my description of the in-progress sock and the panic in my voice, a feat that must have taken a lot of will-power. She asked what room we'd been in, where the car had been parked, and for a description of the lost item and promised to take a look and call me in the morning.
The next day, she did exactly that. She called and happily told me that she wasn't sure who found it or where, but that morning it had appeared in her in-box.
I was extremely happy at the news. A drive across town later, I had the in-progress sock in my hands again and finished it that day. Thank you Chris at Portland Airport Holiday Inn!! A letter commending your customer service is on the way to your manager.
I guess I should call these "traveling socks." :)
If you've read this far, you deserve a medal for endurance! See what happens when I don't blog for a while? Okay, now I'm back to working on the socks!