Thursday, September 04, 2008

Someone Else's Socks

You know those knitters who knit and knit and knit and knit and knit but it's always for other people and they never make anything for themselves because it's about the joy of the process and even if it's a sweater that devoured six months and $400 worth of merino they'll give it to a random acquaintance at the office because it's about the knitting and not about the product?

That ain't me.

If I'm knitting for you, chances are you either gave birth to me or you're closely related to the woman who did. Knitting for family is low-risk. They've seen you at work. They've heard you talk the talk. They know that even a hat represents a commitment of time and yarn. They appreciate the finished product. And if they don't, it's easy to sneak in while they're sleeping and bop them on the head with your nostepinne.

Outside the family circle, I can be moved to knit in cases of either desperate need (aka charity knitting) or by serious and lasting contributions to the Keep Franklin from Throwing Himself Under a Bus campaign.

The most recent contributor is Tom, who cheered and comforted and cajoled as needed all the way from signing my contract for my little book through sending the completed work to press–which happened on Friday.

(It's done. Truly done. At least my part is done, the rest is up to the nice people in Canada who run the big printing machines. I feel like a woman who just gave birth and has been told she can have a close look at the kid in 30 days.)

Tom isn't a knitter, but he became fluent in the language so quickly that he was able to check out rough cartoons as they emerged and offer Informed Comment. He popped the cork on the champagne when the finished artwork was sent to Colorado, and he propped me up at the keyboard when the essays were zipping forward like a hippopotamus dragging a toboggan full of lead up a hillside covered in glue.

So he got socks.

Socks for Tom

They're the first socks I've ever made for somebody else's feet. And such feet. Big feet. I'm a size eight or nine. He's a twelve or a fourteen or something like that.

I considered calling these "Poetic Justice" because Tom bought the yarn for me in the first place, as a gift. It's lovely stuff, Araucania Ranco Multi. I've never used it before, but hope to again. It's slightly heavier than the yarn I've used for socks in the past and the fabric is nice and squishy. These should stand up well to a Chicago winter, even inside a dress shoe.

Another first: I didn't use a pattern. For the first time, I cast on and worked both feet to the end without consulting any reference material. Mind you, the design isn't going to knock Janel Laidman off the podium–it's plain vanilla with mini-cables added to stop my slipping into a coma before the toe decreases.

Socks for Tom

Tom says he likes them. He put them on last night for the photo opp and then left 'em on for long time because they felt good. Mission accomplished.

Unless I get another book contract, of course. What if he asks for a sweater?

70 comments:

Caroline / purplish said...

I've been eyeing that yarn myself lately. Is there a colourway name or number associated with this colour?

scienceprincess said...

Those are lovely socks, and I'm sure Tom deserves them :-) He sounds like a great guy.

I knit socks for my best friend for many of the similar reasons . . . She lives in another state, so her contributions to my life are usually answering the phone during a 4 am bout with panic/self-doubt etc.

I'm making her fair isle socks for Christmas, which is love.

Take care, and congrats on the book! I can't wait for my copy :-)
Sarah

pacalaga said...

Then use something bigger than fingering weight.

Franklin said...

Hey Caroline, the color is 104. I can't believe it...for once I actually made a note before losing the ball band...

Rosi G. said...

Que lindas!! I love the color and design!! BTW, Little Knits has Araucania Ranco in solid and multi for $7 and $8 respectively. Can't beat THAT with a nostepinne!!! (I always wanna say NOSE PIN when I read that!)

And before I end this comment I just need to add one. more. EXCLAMATION MARK! ;-)

Yarnhog said...

Those socks are lovely, and well-deserved, but I'd rather knit a sweater than socks any day.

Except for the one I made for my brother. All over cables and textured stitch with a 50" chest and a three-week deadline. I'll knit Icarus again before I repeat that feat.

Lori said...

Nice. Waiting impatiently for the book.

I believe that there is another book out there addressing the question about the sweater. ;-)

fleecyknits said...

Beautiful socks!

Nancy said...

With your "in" swirling around the publishing world and all that is 'you', there is another book or twelve. There is nothing better than a gift from the soul (and for the sole.)

Yvonne said...

Wow! Tom's a lucky guy, having socks knitted for him. They're very stylish. I haven't tried to knit socks for Mr. Size 11.5/12 feet. I go into a coma thinking of it.

Jeanne said...

Lucky guy, that Tom, getting a pair of handknit Franklin socks. :-) Isn't that Araucania wonderful? I knit a pair and love the yarn. Crisp but soft and perfect for clearly-defined stitches.

Congrats on the book! I'm looking forward to seeing the FO!

Kathleen said...

Hehe, I should keep my nostepinne handy.

janel said...

Ooh, Franklin, they're beauties. I love that color, it's my absolute favorite although I've discovered it's often a love it or hate it kind of color.

I'm anxiously awaiting your book too...

Katelyn said...

Congratulations! The socks look neat and what a gift! Sorry about the excessive use of exclaimation points!

Julie said...

First, congratulations on the completion of your book! I can't wait to own a copy.

Second, the socks are gorgeous.

Third, I think a sweater might be a quicker knit than a pair of size 12-14 socks!

knittergran said...

Those socks are gaw-jus!!! I've never made any socks other than plain old stockinette stitch with a ribbed cuff. I can't imagine doing all those cables-I think it would take me years...
I've pre-ordered your book-can't wait to get it!

Sarah said...

I have to say that Tom sounds like a man who desrves a sweater to me. I checked back, because I thought he was the guy who bought you the Arctic Lace book without being a knitter himself, and he is. What a guy!

Congrats on putting the book to bed. Looking forward to seeing you at IKnit ;)

rams said...

You know the rule. If he wants a sweater, he's got to take you to California first....

Sandra said...

Hi Franklin.
Sandra from Philadelphia. Remember me? Sorry I have not been to Midway lately to show off my plane.

Lucky you having Tom to comfort and support but those size 12 to 14 feet caught my attention.
Love the socks.

katilo said...

After hearing me talk about my spinning wheel and watching me knit during lunch, I had several co-workers request projects. They were extremely interested until I quoted them prices. :)

Carol said...

Congratulations! Can't wait to see the book.

Lovely socks for a lovely guy. Bless his wool socks!

knititch said...

i don't knit for many other than family members either. did a clapotis for a former colleague. she wears it for the 4th year always. even when i meet her at random . tom hopefully won't wear the socks all the time.

but i have been drawn to your blog for different reasons:

it was the first i ran into. why i don't remember.

for you wits and charms.

and for abigail's garments. i knit for my great niece always. i love knitting for her more than for anyone else.
btw. talking about girly garments. have you ever come along secret garden by alice starmore. that is a winner for a little girl. planning to knit it in green. will make the girl look like a christmas tree. especially with a gold star hat on her little head.

congratulations on the book. so nourishing to hear where blogging takes people/knitters.

Sue F, said...

What Rams said, but you could go to Massachusetts as well. More opportunity to wear the wool than in CA.

Sue said...

those are awesome.

Harpa J said...

The socks look great.
Perhaps you can make a deal with Tom? He gets you another book deal - then he gets a sweater?
Congratulations on the book by the way, I look forward to itþ

Crafty Coug said...

I'm definitely with you! I'm such a selfish knitter most of the time. Although this Christmas I decided to go all out and knit something for practically everyone in my family!!! Please check that I haven't died from gift-knitting-overload in a few weeks...

Sock Knitter said...

YAY!!!!!!! CONGRATS, and LOVE the socks :)

Rachel H said...

Damn. Rams got here with the rule before I could. I would like to point out, however, that Canada is closer to you than California is.

TheSockKnitter said...

Oh, and any chance you'd publish the pattern?? (I really do love it!)

And you meant to say _WHEN_ you get another contract, I just know you did ;)

Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like no one else shared my reaction about the sweater, which was, "no, don't do it! he'll disappear!!" So I conclude that I missed the memo explaining that the sweater curse is only for those wired hetero. Lucky Tom, you can safely give him a sweater, after, of course, meeting the Rule of Rams.

Gerrie in St Paul

countryelvis4 said...

HA! I used the exact same yarn for twisted rib socks for my dh. Huge feet, took forever. Love the yarn though.

Anonymous said...

I hope he appreciates those socks! I love knitting socks, but no one in my immediate circle is even remotely interested in hand knit socks. they think its ODD, very odd indeed. so I have a sock drawer full of socks.. MINE ALL MINE!!!!

Liz said...

Seriously lovely socks, and as ever well modelled and photographed!

I'll knit for whoever, and particularly if there's a baby on the way; but they do need to demonstrate some form of appreciation for handknits beforehand. This includes people who are closely related to my mother, for good historical reasons...

Kristen said...

Wow. Socks for feet that big? It must be serious! ;)

scullerymaid said...

I'm one who knits and gives away, with nary another thought of it, but still, if Tom cheers, comforts and cajoles you through a SECOND book, wouldn't he be deserving of a sweater? :)

Terri said...

Lovely socks, and the color is great. If Tom wants a sweater, remember the sweater curse. Get a ring and a date from your gentleman caller before you knit the sweater lest he stop calling... Oh hell, maybe that is Dr. Laura - at any rate, you get the idea.

Tiny Tyrant said...

Um. Think you might post the pattern?

Pretty please?

I'll let you send Dolores out to my house for a visit this winter when she has cabin fever.

Carrie K said...

Don't knit him a sweater unless he marries you first.

What? He's not the SO? Sounds like a pretty significant relationship to me.

Judy in Indiana said...

I love those socks, and I think Tom does, too. Tom's opinion may be slightly more important than mine.

Friday's Mom said...

I made my best friend socks for his birthday two years ago. Size 15AAA!. I purchased TWO skeins of Mountain Colors for the project to be sure I would have enough (that's two BIG socks. Despite detailed instructions, he shrunk them. They now belong to my neighbor who wears a Women's size 6 shoe. He gets no more socks, just scarves.

anne marie in philly said...

yea for tom!

nice legs on him (knew they were not your legs, franklin - not hairy enough! tee hee!).

can't wait for the little book to appear next month!

is it october yet? damn!

Knit Purl Gurl said...

Really beautiful socks!! 'Can't wait for the book - congrats! :)

quinn said...

Add me to the "waiting for the book" list!

Lovely socks :)

Kristel said...

I'm all for the "Keep Franklin from Throwing Himself Under a Bus" campaign. Pretty socks, and I love the colour.

If he asks for a sweater you can always suggest a pink lacy frilly one, and then act really crushed if he declines.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the book and great socks. I would think another book deal is a cert now Tom knows that there is a sweater in it for him. Lucky us. Jacqueline

KellyD said...

"what if he asks for a sweater?" then knit the man a sweater! if he has been through this with you then you are right it is like giving birth. and he has been standing there wiping your brow and letting you rail, mutter and generally give birth to the book. Rock on Tom!

MLJ1954 said...

Great socks!! And what a nice thing to do. I am with you on not making things for other people. First of all, I don't like making big things (too many things to do, too little time!) and there is just so much new stuff all the time and I have serious knitters ADHD.

By the way, when Tom asks for a sweater, is when you teach him how to cast on! LOL!

heathers said...

Then make him one to go with the socks. But only in Canada. Or California.

Roxie said...

Tom has nice arches. And gorgeous socks!!

knithound brooklyn said...

Knitting socks as gifts is a wonderful thing. And the recipient gets just a teeny insight into the "whole knitting thing" because putting on a pair of hand knit socks beats about most anything else ever.

I think Tom gets it. He wore them long after the shoot.

Congratulations, you converted another skeptic.

Carolyn said...

I knit only for people I am sleeping with or related to. I think that's a good rule.

Julia said...

In my experience, sweaters for men are easier than socks for men.I think it falls into that knitting vortex thing category.

Alwen said...

That sounds like my rules for houseguests: Must feed me, amuse me, or be related to me.

MN PJ said...

If he asks for a sweater, it's tantamount to a proposal.

So if he asks for a sweater, you say, "Yes! When do we leave? (for Canada, MA, or CA)I'll pack my bags! Should we register at [fill in name of store] before we leave? I can hardly wait to write and illustrate our holiday card! Or, wait! I can write and illustrate the wedding announcements! And I can do it in Latin! Maybe we should do our vows in Latin?"

Linda said...

That's easy: if he asks for a sweater he has to marry you. Another excuse for a trip to Provincetown, where it's legally binding. ;-)

puffthemagicrabbit said...

Very nice. I hope he does ask you for a sweater. Can't wait to see what you come up with for that. (also can't wait to get my hands on the book)

Janice said...

Note to self: Do not wait by the mail box for some beautiful hand knits from Franklin!!!!

Adele said...

Appreciates your knitting, makes informed comments, buys yarn... Where do I find a guy like that??

A friend has a rule that she only knits for people she's currently sleeping with.

I'm stricter than that: I only knit for those people if they will give it due (ie extreme) appreciation. This rules out my boyfriend, LOL - he's bored by even the idea of knitting and can't see the point in hand-knits over shop-bought acrylic scarves.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts so succinctly on knitting for other people. I have been wrestling with this for some time now, finding my own projects put on the far back burner as I feel I "have to" make a baby or grandbaby gift, etc. I needed to hear your thoughts and have decided to quit cold as of today. The freedom feels wonderful!

Anonymous said...

If he wants a sweater, marry him first! x

Mike Smith said...

No sweater until you get the ring, honey.

Ruth said...

Awesome socks! Just simple and also great color for autumn.....Congrats on the book Franklin!!!!!

mira said...

great socks! pattern? Wah, they're so cute and I know I could not just "wing" it like that.

RedLetter Rev said...

Oh, the luxury! They look like pure pleasure to wear. The most comfortable dress sock I've found so far is of bamboo. I don't know if they're supplying bamboo yarn yet. It's wonderfully absorbent and incredibly soft.

Size 13 you say? My goodness :)

The Gravelcat said...

I've been planning to knit socks for my SO, who is a size 11. I've only tried knitting plain vanilla baby and women's socks so far, so this entry of yours is certainly inspiring!

On the needles: striped pink cotton thank-you ankle socks for a girl who determinedly hunted down a hard-to-find book for me overseas.

Socks are an intimate gift. It's only worth making for people who both love you and appreciate the knitting.

alice said...

Franklin, your knitting for only relatives or the most appreciative, is very wise. Think about the curse of the boyfriend sweater. Only knit for those who are related by blood or marriage is my rule.

Diane said...

My decissions on friends are based solely on the size of their feet. I will no longer befriend any man with a foot size of more than 10. It might seem harsh but after knitting socks for my sil with the size 12's it seemed a perfectly logical decission.

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