I've always thought that the most creative people in the world are the ones who wear crazy socks. It takes nerve to wear crazy socks under your wing tips, and let's face it, you'll never get a promotion, but crazy socks are cool, like bow ties and fezzes. I always wore pantyhose to work (and I'm proud to say it's been 356 days since I last pulled on a pair of those cheap nylon sausage casings) but outside in the real world, it was all about the socks. For years I bought my socks at Target, especially the ones with puppies and kittens in all over patterns. Flowers, birds, bunnies, holiday themes, bright colors all tucked into my Nikes, mostly hidden from view by the length of my pant legs. My own little secret, not quite as titilating as a black lace thong but just a little bit bad. (Was I ever going to grow up? Hell, no. Especially if growing up means wearing a scrap of black lace held up by a piece of unwaxed dental floss creeping up my nether region, I say the hell with it. Cotton lollipops are good enough for me.)
But about 15 years ago I decided to tackle the Greatest Knitting Project of all - the humble sock - and I got hooked. Never mind the first pair being a disaster, or that the only human with feet big enough to wear them was my man Shaquille. I kept trying, working on my stitch gauge and committing myself to giving up my favorite size 7 bamboo straight needles and knitting with a set of 5 long, double-pointed toothpicks.
Knitting socks is like getting a tattoo - just one time and you are hooked. One day you're having a delicate little butterfly tattooed on your wrist, and the next you're wearing more ink than than the workers at a Faber Castell ink cartridge factory. Once you've worn hand knit socks (and you've accepted the fact that you are limited to wearing clogs a size larger than normal for the rest of your life) you can never go back to store-bought. Never. And you will never need to because hand knit socks last practically forever. Nothing will ever feel as right for your feet. Nothing else will ever look as nice or will hug your cold and tired tootsies with such gentle loving care.
I don't know how many pairs of hand knit socks I own, but I have one or two that are beginning to show wear, and another pair that should not have been machine washed, no matter what the yarn label said. Since I am wearing socks more frequently during Tai Chi, I simply need more socks. I really want more socks. So as soon as I finish grafting the toe of these purple beauties, I am off and running (limping, whatever) to finish another pair.
I know I said I don't have the count on my stash of knitted socks, but I have at least half that number in unfinished socks, or as we knitters refer to more generally, UFOs. Unfinished objects. I got over
the guilt years ago. Each project is neatly tucked into ziplock bags, just waiting to be set free. Think of my closet as a sort of Hand Knit Sock Phantom Zone. Not that there are only socks in there ... never mind.