i love making socks. I always try to have a pair on the go. For me, they are the perfect portable knitting project.
A sock project fits neatly into a small pouch you can carry round with you. I have many specially designed sock pouches (and I find them all but irresistible, particularly in bright and geeky fabrics) but the one I use most at the moment is a make up bag I got free as part of a Clinique Bonus Time offer.
That portability is a great advantage. Socks have become the thing I reach for if I’m leaving the house and want to take some knitting with me. Lace is similarly compact, offering a lot of knitting bang for its weight, but its complexity and the long rows are much less practical for knitting in the pub, on the train or in dim light. Socks are things you can pick up and put down in short bursts and yarn robust enough to survive the wear and tear of shoes can survive being taken out and about.
I knit during my book club. It helps me to concentrate by keeping my fidgety fingers occupied. The non-knitters in our group think this kind of multi-tasking is some kind of witchcraft. It’s not, honestly, it’s just the result of long practice. My fingers can move on automatic pilot. I once knitted most of the body of a sweater on autopilot. In black 4ply yarn. In the car. In the dark. But it was stocking stitch, and with stitch markers in place I just kept pootling along, knitting entirely by feel.
The pick-up-and-put-down approach means progress can sometimes be a bit slow. The second sock of my Shur’tugal socks took most of the year they were on the needles, simply because opportunities to pick them up proved to be few.
During the opening ceremony on Friday they looked like this:
And by Monday night they looked like this:
That’s a lot of progress over just one weekend, and I was only really knitting in the back of panels (I read while I was travelling). I was not the only one crafting while I was there. I saw a lot of knitting and crochet going on, and even a couple of people cross-stitching, though that’s much less portable.
Appropriately enough, the yarn I’m using is a skein I bought at WorldCon in London last year. It’s from Germany, and has been hand-dyed using natural plant dyes. The pattern is one of Rachel Coopey‘s, from the second volume of Jane Austen Knits. It’s very quick to knit, and easy to memorise. I’m expecting to fly through Sock 2 over the next few weeks.
The dilemma then will be which pattern to pick next …