I love to knit socks. More than scarves or hats or mitts - of which I have knit many - I love to knit socks. I am hard-pressed to explain why. Sock yarn is the most beautiful yarn, it's true, but it is what I think of as the architectural nature of socks that appeals to me the most. I mean, I understand how a scarf progresses from a line of stitches to a very long rectangle. I understand how the tube shape that is the beginning of a hat gets pinched off at one end to form the hat. But the sock-in-progess is like a miracle to me.
I will try to explain. I am knitting along on this small tube, which is the leg of the sock. When the leg has reached the length I desire, I start the heel. After following a series of specific instructions, my sock has totally changed direction, and is now heading down the foot towards the toe. It's magical. Every single time. And that is a lot of times because I have knit a lot of socks.
I have knit socks for Tom and Julie and Kristen and Ben's dad and my dad. I have knit multiple pairs for Ben, who rarely wears them, and Andrew, who always does. But, mostly, I knit socks for myself. I have probably knit ten or twelve pairs of socks for myself. For the most part they sat in my top dresser drawer. I would get them out and wear them for "special" occasions, but mostly I admired them each time I opened my drawer.
That changed this year. "I'm wearing these socks," I thought to myself, and I did. Almost immediately, my beautiful, hand-knit socks started sprouting holes in the heels. Huge holes. In both heels. I probably have four pairs right now with blown-out heels. The socks are perfect other than that, and I just can't throw them out for that reason alone. So I'm going to do the only other thing I can do. I'm going to learn how to darn socks. Women have been darning socks for generations, and I can do it, too. No, I don't know how to do it. Yes, I hate to sew. Still, that is what I am going to do.
I enlisted Ben's help in a very crucial part of my plan. "Find me a darning egg, will you, please?" I asked him. If there is one challenge Ben loves, it is searching out just the perfect thing on line. In no time at all, he had a selection of darning eggs available as buy it now on ebay for me to chose from. You might think a darning egg looks like an egg, and some of them do. But they also can look like mushrooms or maracas, and I knew it was the maraca-shape that I wanted. Most of those available were wooden, but the one I selected was plastic, half red and half cream-colored. The red half will show up through light-colored socks, while the cream half will be perfect for dark socks. Ben agreed with my selection.
The darning egg now sits on my desk, waiting for me to learn how to use it. And I will. I'm sure there are dozens of tutorials on YouTube detailing how to darn socks. So just as soon as I finish this pair of socks I'm working on, I'll get right to it.