Sock It To Me, Beowulf 8

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

My new novel Speak to Our Desires is out exclusively from Book View Press!

And check out my earlier BVC ebook, Revise the World.



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Sock It To Me, Beowulf 8 — 5 Comments

  1. Who used darning eggs? My mother always used an old light bulb. An old, green-colored light bulb that was so old that by the time I took over family darning responsibilities, the paint on top of the bulb was gone.

    Now I wonder why my mother chose that light bulb. Was it because it was a heavily-glassed bulb? It was much heavier than current incandescents. Did it have a special meaning for her? Unknown, as she passed away 25 years ago this May.

  2. I remember Mom darning socks with HER mother’s darning egg. I still have it somewhere, along with a yarn winder, bone crochet hooks and my favorite tatting shuttle.

    I hail from a long line of pack rats. I think there is a gene for that which is paired with the one that requires some people to do needlework.

    PS planning on using the sewing thread trick with the heel and toe of the current project, if I ever pick it up again now that I’ve learned the pattern.

  3. I will darn! I will darn! [grin]

    (I SO can’t wait to see these things. And you have a nice well behaved cat there, too. Mine would probably be trying to burrow through the sock tube by now going, eh, hey, what’s in HERE and can we get at it through this tunnel…?

  4. Tobey is the most civilized kitty I have ever had — don’t know whether that’s because he’s a Fold (a famously mellow breed) or whether because he’s a rescue (and is therefore determined to keep on my good side). He is usually to be found sleeping in the Cat Cave, a cubby on my desk, or the underground Cat Cave, under the desk near my feet.
    The pattern recommends sock blockers for finishing the socks, and I don’t have one. I expect just wearing them will even things out!