…and just who were you knitting that sock for?

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.

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7 Responses to …and just who were you knitting that sock for?

  1. Lauri says:

    Hi, PofT! Such interesting stuff! isn't it amazing what people do when they have to? (Some people…others seem to struggle and not manage to accomplish anything at all). Great post, and may I say…..great sock!!! 🙂 I don't have the stick-to-it-iveness to make a sock! I wish I did!!

  2. YGRS says:

    Hello!I confuse very easily sometimes anymore…and when I saw this linemy aunt thought I was perpetually four years old, and a girl!I thought "hey, wait a minute…I thought Peg of Tilling was a woman too…!"* sigh *…….I understand now.Knitting seems really hard. Socks and mittens and shaped stuff like that would seem (to me) to be really really hard…with the increasing and decreasing and all that shaping stuff. The sock DOES look good your leg. That would really be tough making socks for everyone though…but maybe that's just my opinion…But the sock looks good on your leg. (but yeah the toe is kind of pointy. Can you do that any differently on the next pair, or would that totally mess up the whole sock?)I love getting stuff that people make — I wish I got more handmade stuff.Love the old pic too! &:o)

  3. Morgat says:

    I talked to a friend who knits, including knitting socks, and she said what you need to do is do a Kitchener stitch at the toe. That'll make the toe less pointy, more rounded. Here's another description I found by googling.
    You can do eet!!!!!

  4. Thank you for asking for me! I think I can ravel an inch off the toe and stitch it flat…

  5. I think it's no big deal to knit one sock, but the second sock, that's where the rubber meets the road…I dunno, I've put it down for the weekend, I'll take another look Monday.

  6. Thanks! a sock isn't really that hard–the heel is a little tricky but once you figure it out you feel *very* smart. I think I can fix the toe (Morgat found me some help) but the foot of the sock just feels enormous, and I don't know if I want to peel it back to the heel and try again.

  7. Lauri says:

    Both of my grandmothers knitted, crocheted, and crafted. They left me the most beautiful memories. My grandfather, too. He was a woodworker. One of these days I will start on something…..to leave MY grandchildren! :D(Don't have any yet, though)

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