My brother, actually, for his birthday at the end of August, but I'm afraid it's going in the Christmas decoration collection.
I don't mind the cuff, though next time I might do different stripes, and the stitches aren't making an unintended spiral up the leg, but the foot is five and a half inches across.
How would this fit on a manly foot? I don't know. It just seems enormous. And the toe is elfin. I'd thought to do socks for the family for Christmas but I think hats might be a safer bet. There's always the Christmas Story problem for people who get homemade gifts, though–my aunt thought I was perpetually four years old, and a girl!
Every year on Christmas Eve my great grandmother would give us a paper bag filled with an orange, a box of Cracker Jack (leftovers to be found in my grandmother's cupboards in May, staled to a solid brick), a shiny crisp dollar bill in a bank gift envelope (until my uncle complained of inflation and it went up to $5), and a pair of handknitted socks or mittens.
I don't have a pair of the socks–I don't even remember wearing a pair of the socks. Great-grandma was from the Netherlands, and her socks were meant to be worn under wooden shoes, so they were thick, short and heavy. I remember them having a few rows of garter stitch at the top of the cuff, followed by ribbing, and a plain foot, with the toe, heel, and top garter stitch in a contrasting color to the rest of the sock, and maybe a bit of a stripe tucked in somewhere, but that's a memory from the early 1970s. My mother says Great-grandma could knit like the wind–we're talking socks and mittens for twenty people at least–with one needle clamped under her arm.
These mittens have the soapy 100% acrylic feel of Red Heart yarn, and I expect the socks were the same. Since by the time I came along the family was well-off enough to regard knitting as a harmless eccentricity it's good Great-grandma didn't splash out on anything expensive. She might have really liked the acrylic, though–bright colors! No shrinking!
This was taken at a local fair, miles and miles from any open water. The back is written in Dutch, and translates to "We are well. How are you?" Great-grandpa died when my grandmother was 10, leaving Great-grandma with five kids to raise (her good Christian neighbors got together and kindly suggested she give up a couple of the boys to be adopted, that was their notion of helping). My great uncle recalls bringing home a bunch of black umbrellas from the local dump, which Great-grandma made into underwear. Four of her five kids went to college, and one became a university professor.
After Great-grandma was gone the brown paper Christmas bags kept on as a family tradition, though now we add toothpaste for my Grandma, who would stock up when things were on sale and give us all three to six tubes. There were ten small canned hams under her bed when she had to go to the nursing home. When she died it was quite a shock to have to buy toothpaste in January.