I’m still waiting for the sun to come out so I can take some decent photos of my fantastic new sweater. So in the meantime…
Let’s talk socks.
But first, some background: I have Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s (aka, the Yarn Harlot‘s) Page a Day calendar on my desk at work. It’s fun to turn the pages each day and read little nuggets of knitting wisdom and humor.
Yesterday, this was her entry:
In the 1940s and ’50s, an argyle sock craze swept North America, and teenage girls took to knitting the diamond-festooned beauties by the bushel for their boyfriends. In fact, should you quiz a number of women of the right age, you’d find a whole bunch of them who knit argyle socks and – just to stun you right senseless – only argyle socks… In fact some of them would tell you they aren’t knitters and don’t know how to knit anything else. . . just some really crazy, fine-gauge, intarsia, multicolored socks.
This reminded me of a conversation I had with my mom a while back.
My mom has always been crafty. I remember when I was little, that she worked on a huge, elaborate embroidered rendering of the Serenity Prayer for months (no, she’s not in AA, but with six kids anyone could use a little serenity, right?). She’s a whiz at crochet and can churn out blankets for babies and afghans for grown ups. I have some of her cross-stitched pillow cases, she helped me learn to sew when I was going through a “make my own clothes” phase (it was a very short phase). Let’s just say, she’s tried her hand in many different types of crafts.
But when I started knitting, she admitted that she never could get the hang of it. That she wasn’t a knitter, although she had knitted a few items when she was younger.
“Like a hat or a scarf?” I asked.
“Oh no,” she said. “Just some argyle socks.”
Consider my mind officially blown. Because no one should be able to say “just” and “argyle socks” back to back like that.
Just so we’re clear, this is what argyle socks look like:
Argyle socks are HARD. Argyle socks combine at least 27 different knitting techniques working simultaneously. Even this vintage argyle socks pattern looks like gibberish to me, and I consider myself a fairly intermediate knitter. I mean, argyle socks are a final project in the Master Knitter’s program – and the SECOND level, at that!
For reference, let’s compare those socks to the first pair of socks I ever knit:
Lumpy, puffy, and not really meant for human feet. And this was self-striping yarn, in the easiest sock pattern around.
So let’s give it up for those ladies who learned to knit to make argyle socks. And Mom, while you may not think you’re a knitter, you’re definitely one in my book.
PS – Love you, Mom!
Filed in: Introspective