The Situational Sock Knitter

I’ve knit a lot of socks but don’t think of myself as being a sock knitter. I am not, for instance, the kind of person who tends to have multiple sock projects on the go at any moment or who collects sock yarn. I think I usually manage to make a few pairs of socks a year, but sock knitting is not my bread and butter, go-to project. The key word here is “usually.” It might actually be more accurate to say that I am a situational sock knitter.

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2×2 Rib Socks with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel, knit up in Zauberball Crazy in Indisch Rosa. My first project started and completed post-baby.

I actually started to knit socks seriously when I was in my MA program and was feeling overwhelmed by the combined stress of school and being far away from home for the first time. I knit lots of other things during that time as well—hats, mittens, even a couple of sweaters—but my Ravelry notebook during that era of my life is dominated by socks.

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Vanilla socks in Regia 4-Ply in Snowsuit

The summer that I was intensively working on my dissertation before moving to Ohio to start my current job also temporarily turned me into a sock knitter. I think I ended up making about a pair a week, which is not necessarily fast for many sock knitters but is definitely fast for me. When my dissertation draft was turned into my committee, I immediately cast on a cowl project with a more complex stitch pattern and then started working on sweaters again.

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Vanilla socks knit in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in Bet You Thought This Skein Was About You

I thought that having a baby would push me into kid-knit overdrive, but it actually brought me back to sock knitting. I managed to finish up two little sweaters that I had already mostly knit before Jude was born. And I tried, but spectacularly failed, to knit a cardigan for myself in the months after he came along. But I ultimately just accepted that I only had the energy and the focus for very simple sock knitting.

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2×2 Ribbed Socks for Aidan knit in Meilenweit Chalet in Blue

I worked my way through seven pairs of socks before I felt like I was ready to take on a different project, which was when I started my Carbeth Cardigan. I still have two pairs that are on the needles—started during my sock knitting binge, but not finished before I started to get tired of socks. I’m sure I will finish them eventually, but I am enjoying have the mental capacity for different kinds of projects.

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Vanilla Socks knit in Meilenweit Chalet in Purple

But I’m also glad that I have one kind of project that functions as nearly mindless knitting and that produces something that is comforting and useful. Those seven pairs of socks made for good, meditative, restful knitting.

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3×1 Ribbed Socks in Regia 4-Ply Tweed in Zuckerbacker

But they also helped me feel like I was still capable of making nice things at a time when I otherwise felt like kind of a mess. And I stocked up on sock yarn, so I’ve got a little stash ready and waiting for the next sock knitting situation.

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Vanilla socks with contrast Fish Lips Kiss Heel knit in Opal Sunrise in Morgenr Te Dawn
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2 thoughts on “The Situational Sock Knitter

  1. These socks are so cool! I want to get into socks to always have an easy, portable project. I bought some sock yarn in California. The shop is called The Black Squirrel and it is the most intentionally inclusive LYS I’ve ever been in–loved it. I also got some fabric so my mom can make rainbow pillowcases for my kids. I’ll report back on the socks… I think I’ll do the pattern in the ball band, which I hope fully won’t regret. The ball band has a strategy to make the socks identical, which seems so satisfying and nifty. Anyway, SOCK TALK!

    1. Rainbow pillowcases! I’m excited to see your socks. It’s awesome that the ball band has tips for getting matching socks. I see a lot of people who don’t mind having mismatched stripes or patterning on their socks, but I just can’t abide it.

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