Socks always wear out, if you wear them. This sad fact is no longer a big issue in the modern day, when you can buy a six-pack of socks for $8 at WalMart. Cheap and plenteous clothing made in gigantic factories is one of the great achievements of modern civilization; there are still plenty of people alive today who remember when having two or three outfits (the ‘best’ one for Sundays, funerals, and weddings, and the others for daily use) was luxury.
The downside of factory plenty is that making fiber, cloth and clothing is no longer economical. Thus the ancient Ikat textiles handmade by women in Africa are now replaced by Nike tee shirts. And the allied arts of mending and altering clothing are also pretty well gone. It’s not worth mending that WalMart sock, not when it’s so cheap to buy a new pair. And with those skills go the tools to mend and alter and sew. Darning eggs are now rarities found on Ebay or Etsy — or knitting supply sites.
The reason that knitting stores sell them, of course, is that if you have a gorgeous hand-knitted sock, by heaven you are going to wear it. How else can you excite the hatred, envy and justifiable jealousy of everyone around you? And this means you will someday have to mend it! I fully expect Alma to keep and wear these socks for years, maintaining them as needed. To this end not only am I reinforcing the heel and toe, I will send the leftover yarn with the socks to her for use in mending. (Alma, when you come to need to darn the socks, directions are easy to find on line.)
Anyway, here is Tobey the Scottish Fold, my personal feline, presiding over the sock now that it is ready for me to start knitting the toe. (The cats of knitters learn never to play with yarn, or those fascinating bobbing needles. Tobey sits on mss instead.) I have knitted the foot of the sock, maintaining the text pattern, to within about an inch and a half of the proposed end of the sock. The lettering is going to stop now, and I have rearranged the stitches onto two needles — all the top stitches on one and all the sole stitches on the other — so as to start decreasing on each side.
Next: Finishing Tricks
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