Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Love/Hate Relations - Socks

Socks, I love them. I am cold natured and I love wearing heavy socks to keep me warm. I love knitting socks because they are small and a "go anywhere" sort of project. You can shock people while waiting some where, by whipping them out of your purse and starting a very hands on non-technical sort of activity while they are texting on their iphones and blackberries, with a bluetooth contraption sticking out of their ear making them look like the cyborgs from Star Trek, but I digress.

Socks are handy things, dead useful and most of the time I'd say fun to knit. But not today. I am plagued by my socks this week. It's really not their fault, it is more of life getting in the way of my knitting. Every time I try to knit on them, something draws me away and I don't get to come back. Since this time last week I have probably knitted a grand total of four inches divided between two different sock projects. The Barn Jacket is lying neglected in my project bag, cursing me as we speak. I am dreading the retribution that will come for the weeks of neglect when I do finally get back to it.

In an attempt to stay connected with my socks while not actually holding them. I found this on the web this morning.

Early origins of knitting

Like weaving, knitting is a technique for producing a two-dimensional fabric from a one-dimensional yarn or thread; however, it does not require a loom nor other large equipment, making it a valuable technique for nomadic and non-agrarian peoples.

The oldest artifact with a knitted appearance is a type of sock. It is believed that socks and stockings were the first pieces produced using techniques similar to knitting. These socks were worked in Nålebinding, a technique of making fabric by creating multiple knots or loops with a single needle and thread. Many of these existing clothing items employed nålebinding techniques; some of them look very similar to true knitting. For example, C3rd-5th socks. Several pieces, done in now obscure techniques, have been mistaken for knitting or crocheting.

Most histories of knitting place its origin somewhere in the Middle East, from where it spread to Europe by Mediterranean trade routes, and then to the Americas with European colonization[1]. The first references to true knitting in Europe date from the early 14th century[citation needed]. At this time, the purl stitch (the opposite action to the knit stitch) was unknown; stockinette fabric was produced by knitting in the round and then cutting the piece open (a process now known as steeking). The first reference to the purl stitch dates from the mid-16th century[citation needed], but the technique may have been developed slightly earlier.


So socks have been the bain of knitters for centuries, I feel like I am in excellent company this week as I imagine knitters in the Middle East or Nordic countries feeling the same frustrations as they turn a heel or pick up a stitch in between, chasing after children, cooking meals or washing the laundry.

I don't feel quite so bad about my socks now.

Have you hugged a knitter today?

1 comment:

Knatly said...

I admire you for your devotion to sock knitting. I am the Queen of Second-Sock Syndrome. Tried 2-at-once also, but bogged down at turning the heel and they've been zzzzzing for months. . .