Twitter yesterday, specifically the need for them not to be too tight. Oddly, this was not on my professional Twitter feed but the one where I have a little fun with friends.
It started me thinking about socks again. I have a short piece in KnitLit (ed. Roghaar) about socks in which I talk about the way in which an old man of my acquaintance met his wife. He was given a pair of handknitted socks by a fellow soldier who was dying. When he came back to Australia he went to visit the maker of the socks and married her. Those socks were plain.
My paternal grandmother made socks. I can remember watching her do it. She made plain grey woollen socks for my grandfather and other plain socks for the rest of us. There always seemed to be a hedgehog of needles in her hands.
On Sundays my paternal grandfather wore very fine black socks. They were not knitted by my grandmother but by the woman who did his "gold work" for him. (This was the braiding on the uniforms he made for the Governors of South Australia and the naval and maritime captains.) This woman had a reputation for the work across Australia - and for her socks.
Back then we had cotton socks in summer and woollen socks in winter. They were white for Sunday and grey or brown for the rest of the week - and always plain.
Now socks are different. I have them in a variety of colours. I have made some of them myself. Other hand knitted socks have been given to me by a good friend who also knits socks for my father. In summer I reluctantly revert to the much thinner commercial sort but the rest of the year my father and I wear handknitted socks.
Sock yarn these days can be bought in any colour you care to think of. You can buy yarn that will knit into pseudo-fair isle patterns. People knit socks with all types of fancy patterns. They knit long socks, short socks, sideways socks, socks from the top and socks from the toe up. There are workshops and festivals of sock knitting.
I have several books of sock patterns - review copies. They are lovely to look at. One of them is written in Estonian and those socks are complex and colourful. I have patterns for Turkish, Russian, Albanian and Peruvian socks. All of them are unique and colourful.
But they are all designed to fit feet, to protect them, to keep them warm - and to be comfortable. I want to make more socks.