Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Santorini socks

When my very talented mother starting knitting socks I must admit to a sneaking moment of thinking "What on Earth...?" but she proved herself to be ahead of the zeitgeist and it was no time at all before I became just as hooked on knitting my own socks, too...  Except that Mum knits socks for all the family whilst I am still selfishly knitting only for myself, except for a couple of my old pairs that have shrunk in the wash which have only then been passed grudgingly along to my daughter with the proviso that she never ever throw them out...!  See how mean I can be?
More than a few friends have given me the sideways stare when it becomes known I am knitting my own socks.  After all when shop bought socks are so cheap, and after you've bought your wool, and spent hours and hours knitting, its obviously not a cost or time saving exercise here.  But I will say this in defence of sock-knitting; it is enormously rewarding, and no other single handcrafting exercise has ever been the equal in teaching me the importance of keeping alive old traditions.  
It's a Zen appreciation of time and energy spent on a small task.
This pair of socks I'm modelling here today was my first pair of socks, called the Santorini socks, because they were partially knitted whilst I was there.  They have developed one hole in 3-4 years of use, which I darned.  When you have spent 20 or so hours making something, you do not toss out lightly, but mend if at all possible.  Which goes back to what I was saying before. 
These were made using a pattern from my mother's old booklet; the Patons Knitting Book No. C.11, subtitled Gloves and Socks for Toddlers, Boys, Girls, Men and Ladies.  I like how back then ladies were ranked last in the list, even in a pattern book aimed at this market...  This pair of socks is the only time I have made the socks exactly to pattern, all subsequent pairs have some small variation or two...
The booklet cost my mother 1'6, which is one shilling and sixpence.  Yes,  such was the currency in use in Australia prior to 14th February 1966, when we changed over to Australian dollars with 100 cents in them.  A little history lesson, there.  See how instructive this blog can be?!

Socks; Ladies Sockettes from Patons Knitting book No. C11


  1. wow. These are amazing! I agree with when you make something, you want to mend it and make it last ... all that investment of a bit of life.... I must confess I have no desire to make socks - a good thing, since I have alot of desire to make many other things. :) Yours look so cozy. Oh, a cup of tea in front of the fire. ...

  2. Amazing socks, I can just imagine how comfortable and warm they would be :)

  3. I never even noticed that the ladies socks were last! Fancy that. I wonder how the latest sock books cope with womens lib. Your socks still look good

  4. Do you think you could share the pattern? I'd love to have a go at these.