I’m well into knitting my life’s third pair of socks. And while they are certainly nice socks, they’re nothing spectacular. I don’t do fancy cables or intricate stitchery (and i have actually seen a pattern for socks with a stanza from Beowulf knitted into them, which is just plain insanity). They are plain, but they will be warm and fit just right, and they should last a good long time. But they’re pretty ordinary socks, and mostly they will just be hidden inside my shoes.
Sometimes when people see my hand-knitted socks they say heyâ€”you could sell those! Yes. But, at $20 or more for the wool, plus at least 30 hours of knitting, thems would be some pretty pricey socks. And, for all that love and labour, they’re highly imperfect. There are faint lines where i switch from needle to needle and small holes here and there where i’ve dropped and reconstructed a stitch. They don’t even totally match. One sock is inevitably a little longer in the instep or cuff, and this time around i had an idea for reinforcing the heelâ€”but it didn’t occur to me until i had started the second sock, so one is reinforced and the other isn’t. Most people would say actually, those are kind of crappy socks. I wouldn’t pay ten dollars for those socks.
When I pay twenty bucks for a skein of soft pink-purple-blue merino superwash I divide that amount by thirty hours of feeling that silky yarn slip through my fingers. Thirty hours of watching the colours shift and swirl as they settle row upon row. Thirty hours of the soft metal whisper of needle on needle. Thirty hours of my slowing my mind down and synching with the rhythm of my hands.
You don’t knit for the product, you knit to knit.