Considering how much emphasis I put on making things that are both beautiful and useful, it's a bit surprising how long it took me to convert to the way of the sock.
The beauty of sock yarns is matched by the dazzling variety of sock patterns that are available, from basic to ornate to downright jaw-dropping, and I'm not sure there's a knitted garment that's more useful. Toques and mittens are seasonal, after all, but I wear socks on all but the very warmest summer days.
Many of the knitters I most admire are ardent sock knitters. Glenna knits socks at the movies; Kate knits them on the streetcar; Tanis makes socks that feature her amazing yarns. Stephanie – well, she's in a league of her own.
Inspired by them, I've been toting a sock-in-progress whenever I leave the house. But short commutes aren't conducive to making much progress on a sock, and this pair has been languishing since last autumn. I even carried them with me to New Zealand and back, without a notable increase in size.
This weekend something changed. I went away for the weekend and took a half-finished sock with me. I knit the heel flap on the train and turned the heel on the bus; thirty-six hours later, all that was left to do was the grafting.
I think I've hit the sweet spot: the perfect combination of my favourite yarn, the right needles, and a pattern (Glenna's "Nice Ribbed Sock" is my go-to) that I'm familiar with, and enough sock-knitting experience that I can trust my instincts when it comes time to turn a heel or pick up gusset stitches. It is so satisfying to be able to turn a heel without looking at the pattern.
I can't wait to wear my new socks. And although I've got other things on the needles, I cast on for a new pair this afternoon. I could get used to this sort of quick knitterly gratification.
(Oh, and speaking of socks, one day I will make these Beowulf socks. They're terrific!)