Sunday, June 22, 2008


My mother taught me cross-stitch when I was five: I could not draw the letter 'X' and she thought the structure of the canvass would help my spatial skills. I have enjoyed needlework every since. As nifty as handmade items are, however, it's difficult to find a project that would be useful. We don't need more pictures to hang on the walls, we have enough sweaters and blankets and hats and gloves and scarves.

Many of the women in my knitting group make baby clothing. Babies always need new clothing, plus they're small, so these projects go relatively quickly. Not having any babies in my immediate family, I've found myself attracted to another popular item in this group: socks.

I have to get a few new pairs every year my old socks develop holes, and socks are worn all year round. Also, they are a medium-sized project that keeps me busy for many weeks, but doesn't seem like a never-ending task. And, there is a definite advantage to handmade over machine-knit socks: the heel.

The placement of the heel is custom to my foot, where mass-produced socks in my size run a little big on me. Even more exciting, though, the heel is actually square. The sharper angled heel stays in place on my foot much better, making the sock more comfortable and less likely to twist around if I wear it to bed.

Striped sock, ribbed sock

The striped sock I made, the plain sock I bought at Target or somewhere similar. The toes on handmade socks are also different, but these don't seem to affect their comfort, only their appearance. The pictured sock is part of only the second pair I've ever made, but I think the benefits of handmade heels will keep me coming back to sock projects for many pairs to come.

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