Sunday, April 27, 2008

what I want to do vs. what I need to do, and The Sock Yarn Mania

I've been crocheting exclusively the past few days trying to make things for the Needle Nook's Customer Spotlight sale, which is May 3. That is, this coming Saturday. And I am so not ready. And I am so wondering why I thought this was a good idea. Both StringTheory2.0 and the Mad Husband have informed me that they knew this would happen. I procrastinated, as I tend to do with everything, but I still think I would have come out okay (if you're going to make a habit of procrastinating, you had better be good at it) if I hadn't fallen victim to The Sock Yarn Mania.

And when I speak of The Sock Yarn Mania, I'm not just referring to my own. If it were just my own, it wouldn't have nearly so many capital letters. It seems to be the season of the sock; I hear rumblings about Red Heart and Lion Brand introducing new sock yarns, Malabrigo sock yarn is already on its way, and my friends are constantly telling me about some new sock yarn, frequently indie, that I have to check out... I see lots of people knitting socks at every knit night, and if sock yarn is about to invade the big-box craft stores, The Mania is likely to grow. (And to shatter our illusions that we're cool and hip because we knit socks. As Natalia says, "trends go to Wal-Mart to die.")

This might be me overthinking it, but I wonder if it's these uncertain times that make sock knitting seem like a sensible thing to do. You only need one skein, which can be had for less than you'd spend making all but the cheapest sweaters, and it keeps you occupied for hours. Then you can show off the finished product! I imagine the stalwart matrons of wartime England putting on a kettle of tea and knitting socks while scanning the sky with binoculars. Kind of like Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but substitute knitting for magic. (That would be a very strange knitter cult movie that everyone else would fall asleep during.) Could something in our cultural memory recall schoolchildren knitting socks for the Great War, and thus it makes sense to knit socks, even if they're actually handpainted merino treats for ourselves and those we choose to spoil this way? (I was thinking the ultimate symbol of devotion would be to knit so many socks that the Mad Husband could wear hand-knit socks every day, but I was also thinking that there's biting off more than you can chew, and then there's biting off so much that you choke on it. Anyway, I don't think he wants pink socks and I've got an awful lot of pink sock yarn to knit up...) And it's a sensible way to indulge your passion for colors without getting stuck with a finished sweater that looks like a clown threw up on it.

Or is it all actually the market itself, cleverly playing on our economic worries and suggesting that we can feel good about knitting socks because they're solid and practical... thus absolving ourselves of guilt as we binge on handpainted merino and gleefully reassure each other "it's sock yarn, it doesn't count."

It's not that sock yarn doesn't count as stash. It's just that I have an entire separate stash of sock yarn.

See? Even when I'm refusing to allow myself to knit socks because I need to crochet for the sale, I'm still obsessing over socks. That's just sad. I am so regretting this.

4 comments:

Gotta Knit! said...

You have become "A Knitter". The obsessing of knitting of the socks is your classic sign.

elena23 said...

If it makes you feel better, I justified the expense of my spinning wheel with the reasoning that when the zombie apocalypse comes, people will need such skills. Maybe you could say the same for sock knitting? And a large stash is therefore necessary, because who wants to go out in a zombie apocalypse?

Kim said...

agree: 1 billion

Jana said...

substitutiary locomotion come to me!! one of my favorite movies of all time.

now do you see why i do not do socks?