Thursday, April 24, 2008

Musing on socks

In the fall of 95, Joan Hamer donated a sock pattern to the Knitlist.  It sparked a whole new era of knitting for many of us.  Hundreds of pairs were  knit by listmembers.  When stores discontinued carrying Woolease, Knitters descended in throngs to purchase all of the existing stock. 

After a while, people began creating new patterns for socks.  XRX held a sock contest, the winning entries were displayed at Stitches and included in the "Socks, Socks, Socks" book.    Judy Gibson designed a toe-up pattern that resulted in a sock that looked exactly like one knit from the top, her "You're putting me on!" pattern.  

Some gentleman developed a machine that dyed the yarn in a pattern that striped or mimicked Fair Isle patterning!  Big stars for him!  That excited our imaginations.  When the yarn first came out, it was easier to buy in Europe than in the US.  So swaps were formed.  Those living abroad had "wish lists", those that wanted the sock yarn (and other goodies not available here at that time) happily filled wish lists in exchange for OUR wish lists.  I did several swaps with Colonel Holly Doyne -- she seems to remember the package of zippers I sent the best (all sizes and colors, based on her preferences), I remember the Regia booklets, the Horst Schultz books and a 100 gram skein of the most marvelous yarn.  It was teal/blue/green/yellow and looked like spring to me.  I was in a sock swap at the time, I knit up a PINK sock with stranded patterning for my partner and knit that green yarn with black stranding for me.  The socks didn't match deliberately, I wanted to play with patterns.  I did something wonky on the heels, but they fit well enough.  After this many years, the socks are showing signs of wear.  Serious wear, as in "I'm not sure I can fix this wear."  Which was a cause of some sadness.  And since I never received the socks from my swap partner, I couldn't replace them with warm thoughts from her.  

Yesterday in the mail came two skeins that look as if they are family members of that pair.  My heart is happy!  

1 comment:

smittenknitten said...

Oh, what a great sock history! I hope my socks last as well as yours, and I'm looking forward to seeing your new sock yarn :).