Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Hammerhead Sock

I had no idea that knitting a sock could lead to discussions worthy of the SALT Talks but it has. The truth is, until I started knitting I never paid all that much attention to my socks or anybody else's socks for that matter. A sock is a sock is a sock . . . until it's a sock that you're knitting and suddenly you're faced with more serious top level decisions than you've ever faced in your life.

Actually I should amend that statement. I made myself a pair of Broad Ripple Socks last month and followed Rob's directions in Knitty to the letter. The socks are a delight and I'm thrilled with them. Did I angst about the toe? No, I didn't. Did I worry about the elasticity of the cuff? No, I didn't. But that all changed when R expressed an interest in a pair of handknit socks. You sit down to make a pair of socks for the man you love and suddenly--after more than thirty years of marriage--you find yourself learning things about him you not only didn't know about him, but things you wouldn't have believed he actually had formed an opinion on. (Yes, I'm ending with a preposition.) Case in point: He doesn't like pointy-toed socks. A 16-stitch Kitchenered sock is his idea of toe prison. Who knew? We settled on a 36-stitch wide toe. The thought of Kitchenering 36 stitches (18 pairs) sent a chill down my spine but I locked myself in another room, lit a candle, and got down to it.

The Kitchenering went fine. The sock fits. He loves it. But that toe! Good grief, that toe looks like a hammerhead shark. I am deeply ashamed of that toe and am not looking forward to grafting another one just like it for Sock #2.

I know, I know. You're hearing the shark theme from Jaws right about now, aren't you?

So who wins when the comfort of the recipient is at odds with the asthetic sensibilities of the knitter?

The recipient every time.

I mean that's the point, isn't it? These socks are supposed to make him happy.

But somehow I don't think Hammerhead Shark Socks are going to catch on any time soon.


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