It started out as a simple enough idea. How better to be self-sufficient than to learn how to make your own socks? It all seemed so simple, so safe–a modest plan to create modest footwear. However, it soon ballooned out into a mania that has now spawned dozens of Christmas present ideas and devious plots of commercialism…
As stated in my previous post, I’ve been dreaming of a slower, more hands-on lifestyle where I make my own things and enjoy a lifestyle more befitting of an older time. I forayed into several different arenas of the homemade, including hand-sewn handkerchiefs and coasters and homemade bread, of which I will post more later. Then, a few weeks ago, I was listening to Little Women on audiobook for inspiration, and boy! Those girls make a lot of socks! My plan was formulated before you could say “Marmee”.
So I found a set of instructions online (not having the first idea of how to… “turn a heel?”) and whipped up a pair and a half. Here is one sample, made for the man of the house. His feet are rather long.
Then, the visit that clinched my fate. I went to see my dad the next weekend, and when he heard I was knitting socks, his face lit up like a little boy at Christmas. He rushed off to his bedroom and came back with a pair of hunting socks so patched up and unraveled that I couldn’t believe it when he said he still wears them. Apparently they were made for him by my great-grandma 20 plus years ago, and he is so enamored with them that he can’t let them retire as they so clearly deserve.
The darned heel:
The unraveling balls of the feet:
I was quickly commissioned to make him a new pair, exactly — I repeat, exactly — like these ones.
Apparently, to my dad, these socks are perfect. He was particularly impressed with the fact that they come up to the perfect spot on his calves so that, with a pair of hunting boots over them, the red ribbing peeks out over the top. The ultimate in design, I guess.
Thankfully, my great-grandma’s pattern didn’t stray too terribly far from the socks I had already been making, so I didn’t have to stretch my improvisational techniques very much. These new hunting socks only needed a longer calf, with ribbing only at the very top, and instead of grafted toes, a sort of circular decrease like at the top of a hat.
I picked out a similar color combination in 100% wool yarn (Paton’s Wool Classic) and got to work. If I can say so myself, I think the resulting socks are pretty darn good.
Then I made him a backup pair, altering the pattern slightly so that the blue toe starts earlier up the foot, hopefully preventing the wear and tear at the ball of the foot where the two colors meet.
They look a bit baggy at the toe, but only because, while I have huge feet for a girl, my dad has huge feet for a guy. I’m fairly confident they will look more fitted on his feet.
Then I made another pair for my boyfriend, whose grey socks (see above) were looking pretty sad compared to these new socky masterpieces…
A pair for myself is currently in progress. In the meantime, every coworker, family member and friend who has seen me knitting these babies has requested a pair. And I’ve been thinking about trying my hand at selling some this fall, perhaps on Etsy. So, needless to say, I will be fairly busy in the coming months. But at least socks present endless design modifications, so I don’t think I’ll get bored. And if I do, there’s always Buffy to watch while I work…