The Joy of Socks (or Why I Knit)

Forget what you think you know about knitting.

Knitting is sexy.

The materials are sumptuous—walk through a knitting store, a real local knitting store, and revel in the rich colors and patterns sequestered in the wood cubbies. Run your hand over the tight balls of cool, streamlined cotton; the thick, plump skeins of a bulky, tweedy wool; or a soft, floppy hank of barely pink baby yarn. Gently rub the gorgeous fluff of red mohair against your cheek, closing your eyes to its gentle touch. Run the fringes of an eyelash-edged novelty yarn slowly up and down your arm and you respond with goose bumps, the excitement of its unknown origins and yet-to-be-discovered possibilities…

The anticipation of a new project is much like the early stages of a new relationship…eagerness to begin, desire to spend as much time together at possible, luxuriating in the new feelings and challenges and things you are learning about each other. Choosing the materials—for their touch, their feel, their heft, their warmth, their resilience, their stamina—is thrilling but overwhelming. Have I made the right choice? Will this all prove to be the right mix as the fabric unfolds?

The first rows can be full of fits and starts—learning the stitches, then making them perfectly, neither too tight nor too loose, but with just enough tension to urge on the next row. But soon there is a rhythm, the cool click clacking of the needles smacking together to produce a gorgeous length of fabric, sometimes soft and smooth, sometimes bulky and knotty, but always warm and enveloping. You click, click, click, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, knitting to match your mood, watching the miraculous folds gather in your lap, covering you, warming you, even as you continue your work.

Of course there will be snags every once in awhile—a knot in the yarn, a dropped stitch, an erroneous cable that twisted left when it should have twisted right. There will be frustration, maybe some cursing, perhaps a little crying, but you won’t give up, too determined to finish what you started. You’ll pick apart that knot, pull out the rows and find that dropped stitch, start back at the beginning making sure you don’t make the same mistake again. Once you’re back in its throes you’ll breathe a sigh of relief, feel your shoulders lighten and your neck untighten, thrilled that you have untangled the problem and are once again feeling the gorgeous yarn wrapped around your fingers, sliding across the cool needles, responding to even your lightest touch.

One day the skeins of yarn will fall limp, just a few strands left as you bind off and weave in the ends. This could be a sad moment, except you are folding yourself into the layers of your scarf or wrap or afghan or sweater. The lovely clumps of yarn that you fondled and plucked in the beginning are now caressing and snuggling you, promising to stay put and wrap themselves around you for seasons and years to come. You pull it tighter around you and your skin reacts—rippling at the rough tweedy wool or quivering at the soft, ticklish touch of a downy, fuzzy mohair—and you now know that a sensual experience can be found in the most unexpected of places.

See. Told ya knitting was sexy…

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6 Responses to The Joy of Socks (or Why I Knit)

  1. Erin says:

    You made me want to learn how to knit.

  2. Cristine G. says:

    I’ll take a blanket, a hat, a scarf and some socks.

  3. Kwesi B. says:

    I stopped into a knitting shop in the pearl district of Portland a couple weeks ago. There were so many varieties of wool, and designs of socks, sweaters, muffs and all types of things I could not identify. There were cozy nooks where people were quietly knitting while the rain drizzled down dutifully and the sounds of tennis poured from this single TV in the place.
    I knew a Gal back in michigan, since moved to pennsylvania that had a medium sized look. She makes the most wonderful creations and supplements her income in this manner online and to her friends and family. You should consider getting one of these looms as they increase your output significantly. More stuff you make equals more fun!
    That said I will take some socks! BTW I’m from michigan so i know my sweaters and cotton sweaters DO NOTHING! Only wool will do!
    Peace

    • Kwesi,

      Trust me–you’ll be sweating your butt off in wool sweaters down here! The first one I ever knitted was a gorgeous brown lamb’s wool with skull and crossbones on each sleeve. I haven’t worn it once yet because it’s too hot. Sigh. Cotton sweaters all around, my friend…

  4. Al_Pal says:

    Neat. I’ve thought about learning knitting.
    Great entry.

    I was just going through your tweetstream, was going to send a message, but there was no button. Please follow me? @Al_Pal
    http://twitter.com/#!/al_pal

    Thanks!

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