Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Foot Note

It's been so nice having a kindred spirit in the neighbourhood. Lynda and I have gotten together several times now to knit and visit, and we've had a great time. She must be feeling like she's getting to know me better, because she recently asked me a very personal question. It wasn't about politics or religion. No, the question she asked me was this. "How many pairs of socks do you own?" Of course, she didn't mean store bought gym socks, or crazy socks from Korea. She was referring to my handknit socks.

I don't know what was more surprising - her courage in asking the question, or my cowardice in dodging it. I mumbled something about not being sure. She asked again. I dodged the question again. Then she asked me to just estimate how many I had. Feeling cornered, I visualized my sock baskets (yes, there are two), and started doing a rough count in my head. All I can say is that degree in mathematics might have finally come in handy.

When I got home curiosity got the better of me and I decided to do something I had never done before. I counted my socks. It turns out the "B" basket, which contains bed socks and older, worn out regular socks, had 14 pairs. The "A" basket? Well, I have to say even I was surprised. It had 25 pairs in it. Add to that the pair I was wearing, and the pair waiting to be mended, and that makes for a grand total of 41 pairs of socks.

In my own defence I would like to point out that I have been knitting socks for over a dozen years, and in all those years I've rarely thrown out a pair. I just demote them to the "B" basket. So you can see how they can add up over time. Also, one of the 41 pairs, in fact the nicest pair I own, I didn't actually knit. They were gifted to me by Lynne, the Sock Lady. So that takes me down to just 40 pairs that I've actually knit for myself.

I think one of the reasons my socks last so long is I only hand wash them, even though some of them are knit with yarn that is supposed to be safe to put in the washing machine. Then I hang them to dry on the clothes rack in the spare bedroom upstairs. I love the look of them, especially when the sun shines in the window. It's the knitter's equivalent of stained glass.


Once they are dry I roll them up and place them in my basket. I don't think they worry about being worn again anytime soon. The competition is pretty stiff.


So I would like to hear your opinions. Is 41 pairs of socks a bit extreme? And, if it's not too personal, I would love to hear how many pairs of socks you own. There has to be at least one other knitter out there who has me beat. Or the friend of a knitter.

I wanted to say thank you so much for all the helpful comments and suggestions you left for me on the post I wrote about my feet/shoe woes. I've already made one change. I have ditched my Crocs inside the house and am trying my Birkenstocks. Time will tell as to whether or not this makes a difference. I am also researching different brands of hikers, especially ones that come in wider sizes. I might be on the hunt for new shoes, but I don't think I'll be needing any new socks for awhile.

39 comments:

  1. I think that if I could knit such beautiful, cozy socks I'd have many pairs myself. I don't have any handmade socks at all, actually. Mine are all the cheap kind that come six pairs to a pack, except for a couple of nicer ones that I wear with boots. I would say I have 15-20 pairs of socks and most of them are really old. I should replace them. I do have numerous pairs of "holiday" socks, for Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, etc., most of which I bought when I was a teacher; I really enjoyed wearing festive socks, pins and brooches, hair clips, when I worked outside the home. I should go back to it because it was fun!

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  2. I've got approximately that many pair, plus or minus one or two, and I've been knitting them for about a dozen years as well. Nothing like keeping one's feet toasty.

    I found your blog through Jean Miles and I'm very pleased I did. Your photos are lovely! I'd go to Shetland in a heartbeat if I had the budget.

    Elaine in NYC

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  3. I don't knit socks, maybe I should. Yours are lovely, and so colourful (I wear black). Little works of art, carry on I say

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  4. Your socks are so beautiful! not sure if I should fess up to how many pair I have. Lol !! Glad to hear you have a buddy close by. It's nice to have someone who shares your enthusiasm!

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  5. I love that you have all those gorgeous socks, Kristie, and you need them in the Canadian climate, and because you go hiking a lot. Not only have I never owned hand-knit socks, I doubt I have ever seen them! That's living in a tropical climate for you. I wear the anklet socks from Korea for walking, then have to buy a few pairs of decent socks whenever we travel.
    Now, let's talk about shoes - I don't have the courage to count how many pairs of those I have, but there must be a reason HB calls me his little centipede!

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  6. Your socks definitely look like a work of art on the airer. If I could knit socks, I'm sure I'd have that many pairs, as it is I must have about 15 but none as nice as yours. Happy knitting. x

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  7. Kristie, your socks are beautiful and you must wake up every single day feeling pretty happy with yourself when you put a new pair of your hand knitted socks on your feet - I know I would!!! I'm still on my first pair of socks that I started last year but I'd really like to own a pair of handknitted socks so I really must get onto it! x

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  8. I don't knit socks, but I do buy some pretty pairs. I limit them to what will fit into one small drawer and am ruthless about getting rid of worn out socks. Our local Council has a recycling scheme for textiles so they eventually end up as home insulation!

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  9. 20 pairs at last count! http://sezzaknits.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/sock%20collection
    Love hand knit socks!
    I also loved your food post and your walk post - gorgeous!!

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  10. I haven't got nearly as many! Maybe half of yours. I need to start washing mine by hand, I am a bit lazy but it shows! Have a lovely weekend, counting socks and all. xxx

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  11. If I could knit socks - if only I could! - I would have loads of pairs, so I don't think that 40(1) pairs is excessive at all!!! I probably have as many or more pairs as that, but mine are all shop bought, and I keep them for years, only discarding when they have a hole - because it isn't worth repairing shop socks I think. I do love socks, and I love your basket and the picture of them all on the airer and... oh, everything about wonderful handknitted socks!! xx

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  12. To ask a personal question of that kind, it sounds to me like you have
    a wonderful dear friend in the making there. lol How cute. Handmade socks
    are so much nicer than shop bought ones, I love yours anyway.
    Happy knitting.
    Cheers, Anita.

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  13. They're gorgeous Kristie, you should very proud of them all, it's a wonderful collection to have. And they look lovely all drying on the rack together. I don't have any sadly, I'm a bit scared of the whole four (five?) needles thing, it looks too tricky for me. Plus I don't wear wool and I'm not sure if they're doable in cotton. But you do have me thinking about it... CJ xx

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  14. I have a couple of pairs Kristie....and I made the hubby a pair too! :) He has just shown me a hole in the tie....so now they are in the to be mended before wear pile. Gosh, I wonder how long that is going to take :)

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  15. I have four pairs and yarn in waiting to make another four pairs. I do pop mine in the washing machine, but not the tumble dryer and I have thrown a very worn pair away due to old age. Your collection is lovely, a sock for every occassion and so cheerful looking. Don't stop knitting more!

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  16. I have 21 pairs of self-knit socks currently. I wish I had kept track of all the ones I've knit for family and friends. I'm trying to use up the sock yarn I own, but I'll never live long enough!

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  17. I loved this post, Kristie :o) I am in awe of your sock knitting ability, I would love to be able to knit 41 pairs of socks but fear I would struggle doing even 1 sock, let alone a matching pair! They look beautiful and I don't think you should feel ashamed of them at all. If I could knit socks I would string them on a bunting banner, hang them out the window and wave them at passers by! xx

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  18. Lovely socks. For good or ill, most of the socks I make are given as gifts. I have a long list of people who always want them, so I start amassing Christmas gifts when I need some plain vanilla knitting time. That's mostly what I do, simple meeting knitting. Yours are far more complex and worthy of viewing!

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  19. Sweet! Love the Hudson Bay themed pair. I have a pattern and the yarn in my stash to make a pair.

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  20. I, too, have been knitting socks 12-14 years. It is difficult to know how many pairs, because in addition to socks purposefully knit as gifts, I have given away about 25 pairs when my feet began to swell. Then I set out to replace them! Remember, when we are old enough to be put in a nursing home and unable to knit socks we don't want to have to wear WalMart socks!

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  21. Only one knitter would ask another knitter how many socks she owns, LOL. I don't think that's too many, and it wouldn't stop me from knitting more. Not only are they Useful Objects, they bring you joy -- while knitting as well as while wearing. Go forth and knit more, says I!!! I haven't counted, but I have about 12 pairs and I plan to knit dozens more -- I love knitting socks!!!

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  22. I am too bashful to actually count how many pairs of handknit socks I own - let's just say, two (bulging) drawers full. And DH ditto. And a banker's box full of new ones waiting to go into the rotation or to be given as gifts. Why are we so defensive about it? I don't know - we should be proud. I will admit to deciding what clothes to wear in the morning based on the colour of socks at the top of the first drawer, though. A friend at university once told me that one of the critieria on which she judged a guy on first meeting was whether his socks co-ordinated with the rest of what he was wearing, and that has kind of stuck with me! -- Ruth

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  23. Oh, gorgeous socks! I'm a sock-knitting fanatic too, but have only been knitting socks for about 6 years, so can't reach your dizzy heights yet. I also knit for DH and for others, so I've only got about a dozen pairs myself, if that, though I do have 2 pairs on the needles (1 for me, 1 for DH) once I can get back to knitting...

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  24. Love your picture of socks hanging on the clothes horse (does anyone still call it that?). I'm not at home to count, but I estimate about 14 pairs in my sock drawer. And about 40 percent of them are some variant of turquoise, including the ones on my needles right now. Don't know why, as I have very turquoise clothes. That colour just calls to me in the yarn store.

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  25. I'm impressed by your skills as a socks knitter !!! I like knitting socks but I don't do it very often because here it's not cold enough in fact !!! As you do I also hand wash all of my knitted stuffs and that's probably why they last so long. I wish you some nice walks and a very cozy and creative week end !

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  26. you can never ever have too many hand knit socks!! but you are asking a devout sock knitter :)

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  27. That's awesome! There are never ever too many socks someone can own!

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  28. No way is that extreme, I think you deserve 40 more pair.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  29. First, I'm wondering why in the world you think this is excessive? They are hand-knit for crying out loud! I think you should shout it from your rooftop (I mean, come on, your neighbors already think you are weird what with taking pictures of yourself in hats and sweaters all the time). Seriously, I think it's not enough...knit more!

    To answer your question, I only have 10 pairs (I was actually pleasantly surprised it was that high) with one more on the needles. But I haven't been knitting socks for as long as you. I do have a friend who very likely has twice the number you do -- if not 3 times. And I still don't find hers excessive either. But then, I'm a knitter...

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  30. love your socs, I have been knitting socks for about 45 years but have only 4 pair just now, there is always someone else hwo needs socks, I don't think you have too many, I mean you live in Canada, It's cold almost half of the year.Keep knitting Jaana

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  31. Can a person have too many pairs of hand knit socks?! Of course not ;o)

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  32. Hey Kristie,
    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! I have huge sock envy. I usually wear my husbands, although I hanker after pairs of my own. I won a pair of Christina's beautifully hand made socks last year, and they are rarely off my feet. Your socks drying on the rack make me swoon. By coincidence, I have made friends with one of my new across the road neighbours, and we get on very well. She asked me a personal question today too, but it had nothing to do with socks.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Leanne xx

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  33. I certainly don't have you beat, only about 20 pairs in my hand knit sock drawer, but I don't think you can have too many pairs. In fact, I'm sure that having so many pairs helps them all last much longer! They have a longer queue in rotation when there are that many to choose from!

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  34. Knitting socks is something I still have to try ... but I really do want to try! My socks are all store bought for now, and I'm lucky if I have 8 pairs :[ If one wears out, it just gets filed under "G". You can imagine the look on my face when you say you have over 40 pairs. Wendy

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  35. My daughter has at least 70 pairs of socks I've knit for her, so your 40 doesn't seem odd to me at all. I've been knitting socks for her since she was in her teens and she's now 35. I'm still being encouraged to make more; she wants a stockpile large enough to last her lifespan for after I'm gone.

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  36. I wish I had so many pairs of hand knitted socks! Time to start. What pattern do you use?

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