Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Humble Sock

To labor is to pray. ~Motto of the Benedictines

Many, many people have asked me to sell or give them them a pair of Trudgers. I feel I'm a fairly generous person, but I don't sell or give away the Trudgers I make (except as gifts to close friends and relatives).

This is a photo of a simple pair of socks with 48 stitches per sock making up each round.


As an experiment, I set up my space, got everything arranged so there would be minimum interruptions, to see how much sock I could knit in an hour. My favorite method of knitting socks is two at a time on two circular needles. It is much quicker, less complicated, and has less chance of leaving ladders than knitting on double-pointed needles. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

In the hour, I was able to knit almost an inch on the socks or 11 rows of 96 stitches per round equalling 1056 stitches or 17.6 stitches per minute. Extrapolating those calculations out and not accounting for the extra time it takes to turn a heel or less time for decreasing a toe (I figure it averages itself out), it takes 12-14 hours to knit an average pair of socks on fingerling or sock yarn. That's if nothing goes wrong. Tinking (taking out stitches one at a time) or ripping (tearing out several rows) takes additional time. Depending on where you are on the sock when you make a dreaded error, you may find it easier to start over.

That's a lot of time invested in a product that you certainly cannot charge even minimum hourly wage for unless you find someone insane enough to pay over $100 for a pair of socks. That price doesn't take into account the cost of the yarn, some of which is relatively expensive because it has been hand-spun by another fibre artist. Even if I could knit faster, socks will always take me a long time to knit.

I enjoy making socks and I have plenty of loved ones lined up waiting for a pair or two or three. I beg them to please take care of them because they are labors of love. I usually make each pair with someone in mind so a lot of good will and positive energy directed to that person goes into them as they are being knit. My hope, when I send them on their way, is that if the recipient wears a hole in them, they don't toss them out; to me, they are worth mending.

So that's the story of the simple, humble, hand-knitted sock and why I do not sell them. It is also background on my desire to teach knitting to people who admire hand-knitted items. I want them to be able to have the satisfaction of making their own socks, scarves, hats, gloves, or sweaters.


A Mexican Poppy in the garden.

Graties ~

Mornings on the patio.
The ability to see and use my hands.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hello Dolly!

When my grandson, Mason, was just a baby I made what was supposed to be a bear for him. It is crocheted. It came out looking more like a monkey than a bear, but he loves it and still sleeps with it every night even though it is raggedy and has one eye missing. He named it Baby. His sister, Aubrey, asked me about a month ago if I would make a doll or her, so I knitted one. It turned out better than Baby. I hope she likes it. I'll give it to her on her birthday this July. I'll have time to make several outfits before then. She wearing a mini-halter dress and go-go boots here.


I used a pattern I got out of Babes in the Wool by Fiona McDonald.