Why Knit Socks?
I’m going to assume here that you are a knitter, who has never yet knit a pair of socks. I’m assuming that you are already won over to the many wondrous advantages that being a Knitter confers on you. You just haven’t (yet) seen the benefits of spending all that time and energy knitting something that will spend most of its time hidden in shoes.
Yes, commercial socks are cheap and easy to look after but I’m going to try and persuade you that nothing beats the feel of handknit socks on your feet.
Most commercial socks are a synthetic/cotton blend and whilst being easy care, they are not particularly warm or cushioning on the feet. Handknit socks by contrast are generally made with a specific 4ply ‘sock yarn’ which in general is 75% wool blended with 25% nylon. It is perfectly possible to use 100% wool yarn but the little bit of added nylon gives extra strength and stretch to the yarn. Many sock yarns which contain nylon are also fully machine washable too (although I shall add the standard caveat here about always checking the ballband for washing instructions – just in case)
It is often the case the folks will consider wearing much brighter colours on their feet than they will anywhere near their face. Sock yarns come in a fantastic array of colours and stripes and they can be a total joy to knit on, on a grey gloomy day. Once finished, they are warm, snug and guaranteed to put a smile on your face even when the weather outside is less than cheerful.
Commercial socks normally come in standard size bands with one sock length stretching to fit 2 to 3 shoe sizes. This is all well and good if you have a ‘standard foot’ but many of us are blessed with feet that aren’t quite so standard. Pointy toes, broad toes, high arches, sturdy ankles. We are all shaped differently and knitting your own socks gives you the perfect opportunity to make socks that fit you, rather than fitting a sock model.
My late mother in law suffered from Raynaud’s syndrome (meaning she always had cold feet) and often had sore and swollen ankles – she loved to wear my handknit socks though because I could work a super stretchy cuff which gave her plenty of room for comfort, something she just couldn’t get from commercial socks.
As with any type of knitting, gifting can be an emotive subject. We have all experienced the sadness of spending hours knitting for a loved one who turns out to be particularly unappreciative. I can safely say though that my relatives are huge fans of the handknit sock and will cheerfully take as many pairs as I care to crank out. Needless to say that they have to promise not to tumble dry them and to carefully trim toe nails so as to avoid excessive wear. But as long as they promise to abide by these simple rules I’m happy to knit them and they are more than happy to wear them.
So, what do you think? Can I tempt you?
If I have piqued your interest be sure to look out for the second post in this series and I’ll be giving you some helpful tips and resources to get you started on your first pair of socks.