Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress

I feel like a pilgrim, on a journey towards the unknown but assuredly blessed destination: a pair of handmade socks! Not just any socks, but a pair made just for me, she of the eternally cold feet. When learning a new skill or concentrating very hard, the human face contorts. My husband's mouth moves unconsciously when he drums, lips pulling in, pushing out, popping open and closed with the beats. Michael Jordan used to stick out his tongue when going in for a dunk. My bellydance students laugh at themselves when I gently suggest they practice facial expressions in the mirror, as their fierce frowns of concentration kind of detract from the beauty of the dance.

As I began my socks, trying to remember how to do the magic-loop cast on while calculating in my mind exactly how to do TWO at a time (with no instruction on this last bit), I knew I was making the face. My husband captured it: proof that those two lines between my brows are not from frowning in a bad mood, but from extreme concentration!
Note the wee face peeking over my left shoulder.

The aha! moment of delight..."I did it wrong," (and had to frog it), "but now, By George, I think I've got it!"

Margot shares in my joy. She still says "cheese"!

If you, like my husband, are mind-boggled at the idea of knitting two socks simultaneously, I assure you: it's not magic (although it's pretty darn close!). You can see the toe of the sock taking shape, and the two balls I'm working with. Basically, I knit across the sole of one sock, then switch yarn and knit across the sole of the other. Then I turn it all around, pull the needle through, and knit across the instep of the second sock, and then across the instep of the first. Easy, right?

These lines on my face will be deeper by the time these babies are done. I'm aiming to wear them on my 37th birthday. Hand knit socks bring the same pleasure as wearing fancy lingerie under jeans and a t-shirt. No one can see them, no one knows they're handmade (and no one cares)...but YOU know. It's a decadent pleasure, a bit of luxury on the least luxurious part of our bodies, our feet. They fit delightfully, look gorgeous (when you pull up your pantleg to show them to people who don't really care), and are something practical and just for you.

Find someone to teach you, and get knitting!


  1. My husband says I pooch out my lips when I'm crocheting or doing something else that requires extreme concentration. Luckily, he's yet to capture "little miss poochy lips" on camera. Very sweet pic of you a Margot by the way....

    Stephanie :)

  2. Ah yes, handknit socks. After 2010's dismal attempt, I am feeling like 2011 is the year for success. Two at a time however, I am not so sure.
    I can't wait to see your socks once done!

  3. I hope the socks turn out beautifully - your yarn is just gorgeous (and so is your little girl!)

  4. those socks will be so beautiful, you would want to show them off ! I bet your little girl will want some, she's so cute!

  5. How funny - I just started on my first pair of two-at-a-time socks tonight! I had second sock syndrome with my first pair, and thought this way would be so much easier. I think I have about the same face of concentration you do!

    The yarn is gorgeous - my favorite colors! Would you mind sharing what brand it is?

  6. I am in the process of knitting my very first pair of socks for my daughter right now and I know that quite often I have the very same expression on my face from concentrating so hard *grin*. How cool that you are doing them both at once! I have one done and am to the the heel of the second sock but would love to do 2 at a time :)

  7. That concentration picture is simply great! Those socks look like they will be lovely, good luck! I have ALWAYS wanted to knit socks, but alas cannot knit, yet anyway.

  8. Hooray! You are doing it! I like your analogy about the lingerie except for one hand knit (so far gifted) socks do get seen by everyone. I may live in Michigan where the snow is dense and the boots are required but my birks make their way out to show off those sassy hand knits.

    I can't wait to see your progress.
    Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

  9. oh yeah :) "lingerie under jeans" now I must knit a pair of socks! must! I don't know anyone that knows how to do that magic loop thing though.... now I am heading to youtube to see if I can find something :)

  10. Fun post, I love a good knitting adventure, I'm excited to see them when they are finished. I am inspired to cast on for socks in the very near future! Thanks!

  11. I love that your husband thought to get the camera out to capture your expressions!

    Do you find there is a significant advantage to knitting two socks at once? I'm sure I'd be very lost!

  12. The wool you chose is beautiful. When I finish Ella's socks ( I'm making some for me. It's time Momma had some things.

  13. I LOVED my knit-by-you socks whose bottoms I have worn right through! MAYBE you could teach me how to do this so I can make some more for myself??
    We need a weekend together!
    (great photos, btw)

  14. Ah yes Lana, my very loved wool socks knit by Steph have also bottomed out. Thinking it is time for me to learn to knit socks too!
    Love your wool and that sweet shining face of Margot.

  15. Just to clarify:
    I told my husband to get the camera. That is the only way photos of me get taken!
    The advantage of two-at-a-time socks for ME is that I never finish the second ANYTHING... I have a basket of single mitts waiting for mates...
    And the yarn is Noro sock yarn...will have to check on the colour number!

  16. Oh very cool - two socks at once!! Fab!

    Starr xx

  17. Thanks for sharing the yarn brand - I have to go check that out! Of course I don't need any more yarn, but it is just so beautiful! I can't wait to see how the socks turn out.


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