I’ve been trying to work out how many socks I’ve knitted. I can’t. One year it was 12 pairs in the three-month run-up to Christmas but I’m not good with numbers, they get muddled in my head. It could’ve been 3 pairs in twelve months, but I know that can’t be right as I’ve too many kids and they each got a pair.
I’ve been knitting socks every year for nearly 15 years so it’s a fair few.
For a while my husband only wore handmade socks like some bloody Lord of the manor, flashing his ankles at strangers to show off the yarn. Mind, he still does that in shop-socks so maybe that’s just his thing.
It’s Sock-tober, my lovelies, the month of sock knitting and I’m here to give you all the goss. I don’t know why I said it like that. I never say goss – I was trying to be all hip and cool. Let’s pretend I didn’t say anything and move on.
Anyway, socks don’t need anything to make them cool.
My sock-knitting obsession bloomed as I refused to get better from a mystery illness. Not well enough to do much, I became an expert at sitting still. I’m not good with nothing in my hands and in my late 30s, knitting seemed cool and edgy!
‘You can’t start knitting with socks,’ some joker said to me.
I’m the type of woman who, if you say I can’t do something, will do it anyway. Even if, it turns out I didn’t want to do it in the first place.
Sock knitting was not one of those regrets. Light, extremely portable (not that I went out) but when I did go out – sitting at the back of swimming club, away from the snarky mums, I looked, well if not edgy and cool at least more fabulous than them.
Sock knitting made me feel ‘not useless,’ at a time when I couldn’t physically do much. Sock knitting helped me take some part of myself back from my illness, helped me through brain fog, was company through long days alone with a box set or a talking book.
The socks became imbued with the essence of whatever I was watching/ listening to. One year I made spy socks in brooding colours as I binged on Spooks. This year it’s all Henry 8th as I listen to the much missed Hilary Mantel’s brilliant Cromwell trilogy.
And let’s not forget the wool (or yarn as us cool kids say.) There is a yarn to suit every budget. When we were skint, with a house full of kids I used £2.99 yarn, making brightly coloured, slightly rough socks. Now I’m all fancy (actually now I don’t have to feed anyone but myself and can live perfectly happily on a Tunnocks tea cake and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.) Now I buy posh yarn, so beautiful, l keep it in a fruit bowl just so I can look and it, and maybe stroke it.
I’m Magpie-eyed for yarn and patterns but patterns can be a challenge.
As a dyslexic knitter, I need them laid out in a certain way. I need the pattern to be memorable as reading all those ktb, k, kk yo slp cbl2l p3 kfb, ktb, rem, psso, p2tog can blur into a jumble and I get lost.
Let’s not forget the winter of 1820 when I famously wandered off-piste and knitted every pair of socks two sizes too small. (those numbers jumbling up!)
It is a lot, to knit 12 pairs of socks in three months.
Someone told me it couldn’t be done – sucker!
I feel the pressure of Christmas looming and by January I don’t want to see another sock again. And I know what you’re thinking. Why not start earlier in the year, so there’s less pressure? I tried that, put the socks away safe and never found them again. And anyway, sock knitting is Strictly season so each sock shimmers with a little bit of glitter and glam, me sat in my ball gown and feather boa, knitting away.
See, I told you sock knitting was cool.