a book filled with patterns for knitted socks. The friend who gave it to me had it given to her.
My friend does knit socks but said, "I'll never knit anything like that."
I won't either. I am not very good at knitting socks. I have done it. I even know something about knitting socks. You can knit them top down or toe up or sideways or flat or in all sorts of directions. You can knit them in any colour you choose. You can do stripes and Fair Isle just by choosing some of the fancy dyed sock yarn now available. People put in the most incredible fancy patterns and cables. They try to find new ways of constructing socks. There are internet lists for sock patterns and sock knitters. Intense discussion takes place about the merits of various yarns and methods for knitting socks.
My father likes hand knitted socks. Another friend of mine knits them for him. She never does anything very fancy. The ribbing may be varied but that is all. She uses whatever yarn she has to hand. Her socks are evenly knitted. They are finished with care. They are comfortable. My father is aware they take time to knit. He would not want anything fancy.
He looked at the book when I was given it and then passed it back with a puzzled frown.
"Why would anyone bother to do something like that. You don't really look at socks do you?"
"Women do," I told him, "Well, some women."
He knows I do not look at socks as fashion items. I never wear sandals or clogs or clear plastic wellies designed for the purpose of showing off handknitted socks. I like handknitted socks. I also have several pairs knitted by the same friend. I keep mine for winter and appreciate their woolly warmth.
The socks in the book are beautiful. They have fancy cables and mirror patterns. There is fancy Fair Isle, intarsia and entrelac. I will knit none of these things. I like simple socks.
What I will do is look up a poem this morning. I will do this so that my father can read it. It is a poem by Pablo Neruda. The title is a simple one - "Ode to my socks."