Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Toes Knows

Moses supposes his toeses are roses, but Moses supposes erroneously.

Perhaps this is not the right time to introduce you to another of my peccadillos. But I must confess, I have a thing for hand-knit socks. I like them even better if I spin the fiber for them myself. And since I do not knit, I am building up a cadre of sock knitters who beguile me with new socks periodically, as I am rather hard on my socks and tend to wear holes in them. My Mom says that if I could just bring the socks back when the hole first starts to appear, she might be able to fix them, but by the time the damage is done, my big toe is waving to the world.

This is the first pair of socks whose fiber my Mom deemed worthy of knitting with. Although I would like to claim that I spun the yarn myself, in this case I only dyed it myself. I took a class on dying at the Hemlock Fiber Festival (this year it is on September 18-19, in Hemlock, NY), so at least I can claim that I picked the colors. You can see I liked these socks a lot.  Please don't tell my Mom I wore another hole in them. I don't want her to get discouraged.

These are an example of socks knit on an antique sock knitting machine. The lady who owns the Valley Inn in Honeoye made them. I long to own an antique sock knitting machine so I can make my own socks, but I understand that you really have to have a mentor to teach you how to make them, so I'm holding off for now. If you know how to use a sock knitting machine, I would be very interested in learning - perhaps we could trade? I have lots of sock yarn and handspun yarn and carded fiber. There is a sock machine club in our area called the Genesee Valley Sock Machine Club (GVSMC), and I've heard that Fred Hauck is the man to go to if you decide you want to buy a sock knitting machine, because he knows how to fix them. And I've read up on them a bit, and the general recommendation is not to just buy one off of ebay if you don't know what you're getting. Often, these machines have been sitting in someone's barn for the last 70 or 80 years, so you need to know what you're getting into before you buy one.

Ooops, you're looking at the picture and wondering where the other sock is? Yes, even handknit sock afficionados have the problem of misplacing that one sock. My only consolation is that I know it's not in the dryer, because I hand wash all my knitted socks in warm water with dish washing liquid, and then I air dry them. I would not like them to shrink, or suffer the abuse of my washing machine.

These, and the preceding sock, are an example of socks made with commercial yarn. I know, I said I like to make the yarn myself, but this yarn is interesting because it is self-striping. A very nice lady named Georgia from the Genesee Valley Handspinners Guild made them for me. I traded her roving that I carded myself. And she's working on another pair right now, this time with yarn that I made from a blend of alpaca and bunny. I don't know how well they'll hold up, but I think these socks are going to be incredibly soft and comfortable.

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