A Day Late and A Sock Short

January's Striped Wool SockDear Reader:

For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that part of my “living locally” philosophy includes going back to some of the traditional skills, means, and ways that have been shoved into a dusty, hard-to-reach corner of our hot, flat, and crowded world. (See Thomas Friedman’s book HOT, FLAT, AND CROWDED.)

I’d like to see the world get a little rounder again. I’d like us to live in our own communities, not simply sleep there. I’d like us to buy bacon from the farm just outside of town, to shop at a food co-op set up in an old convenience store that’s been shuttered for three or four years, and to browse the weekly craft/farmer’s market for locally produced veggies, fruits, bread, jam, cheese, and wine along with hand-knit sweaters, locally-made floral bags and sundresses, maybe even furniture. I’d like us to head down to the old town hall to see a community theater production of a play written by a local author rather than drive to the nearest cineplex to see the latest 3-D extravaganza offered to us by Hollywood. Or maybe someone could open a small movie theater right on Main Street.

Well, a girl can dream, right?

Because I don’t have the energy to make my own crafts, create a food co-op, open a farmer’s market, start a community theater, AND open a movie house, I will stick to what I can do right now. Buying locally when possible. Shopping at locally-owned stores here in town first and then widening out to the larger community. Experimenting with jams and pickles and traditional recipes. Knitting.

Which leads me to today’s topic: January’s Sock of the Month. I realize that today is February 1st. I am also sad to report that I managed to finish only one sock of the pair. The other cuff has been started on my teeny-tiny double-pointed needles and will go faster as I’ve already gone through the directions once.

For this pair of socks, I chose Patons “Kroy Socks” Jacquards yarn in blues, browns, green, and cream. www.patonsyarns.com. The yarn is a soft, washable wool/nylon blend. I’m hoping that the nylon will help prevent the socks from wearing out on the bottom, something that annoyed me when I made slippers out of pure wool.

I already had a sock pattern from the Plymouth Yarn Company called Happy Feet (#1311) for textured rib socks and fingerless gloves. I’d made the gloves in black for my daughter last year and found the directions clear and easy-to-follow. The cuffs are a basket-weave sort of design which paired with the self-striping sock yarn makes for pretty, patterned footwear.

For those of you who think, I could never make a sock; too complicated, let me reassure you a bit. I’m not an expert knitter by any means, but once I learned how to divide the stitches onto three needles and use the fourth needle to do work the stitches, knitting in the round on double-pointed needles required only the most basic skills: knit, purl, knitting two stitches together, and slip slip knit. That’s it! As in cooking, following the directions step by step will lead to success . . . and warm, toasty toes on a cold January (er, February) day.

February’s socks will have to be rosy-hued in honor of Valentine’s Day. If you have a fool-proof sock pattern that would look pretty in pink, drop me a note. Better yet, I challenge you to knit up your own pair of Valentine-inspired socks and send me a picture to post Outside the Box.

8 responses to “A Day Late and A Sock Short

  1. I think I’ll stick to my cross-stitch. Though I did crochet my own scarf last year.

  2. Love the “happy feet” socks! that is great. We have a great group, Flint Handmade here in Michigan that meets once a month. Anyone can bring in their projects and just work, order lunch, hang out, meet other crafters! The host a couple of craft shows each year as well as craft supply swaps (one this sunday!)

    They inspire me to get crafty and such a great example of what people can do to promote local buying without taking on a full time job to do it. 🙂

    • Hi Tina: Thanks for stopping by! Your craft group sounds like so much fun . . . and I love how buying/swapping with each other helps make the local buying easier and more visible to the greater community. I really was happy with the happy feet pattern. Very easy and clear directions, but the pattern on the cuff makes it visually interesting. I’m still learning knitting techniques. There’s loads I haven’t learned yet. But it is fun!

  3. I so agree with you about spending more time in our communities. Hubby and I have started making it a point to take time to walk and explore the neighborhood. Chat with our neighbors more, even in this horrible weather. During the summer months we go to the free concerts, etc. to show support for the efforts of our town and those nearby. It makes a huge difference in our sense of being a part of something. Good luck with the other sock!

    • It’s awesome that you and your husband are getting to know your neighborhood. It seems so difficult now, sometimes, to even get to know what the neighbors look like! Part of it is the way new developments are planned and part is that so many people are busy with so many things. Keep the faith!

  4. I have been trying to get my husband on board with a year of local although I think the best I am going to get is food. It is so amazing once you embrace the community that you live in it seems so very different. You certainly start seeing the good much more then the hands off approach.
    I am jealous of the socks. I can knit a scarf, crochet a bookmark, but my skills end there. Someday I will gain time to improve.
    Keep the good work up!

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