I was puzzled when my knitting friend Linda sent me an email about her latest project. The attached picture showed a pair of red socks; nothing extraordinary for someone who's been knitting socks for 20 years.
But a closer look revealed something strange: the socks are the same colour, but the patterns are completely different. Why would anyone deliberately knit mismatched socks?
|The red socks; same colour, different pattern.|
|How they look on Linda's feet.|
The answer lies deep within the knitting world, specifically the subsection that is nuts about socks. These are the people unafraid of knitting in a circle, creating something all in one piece and "turning" a heel. It's a challenge not everyone wants to take on, says Linda, but once you get the hang of it, it's addictive. Socks are small, portable projects that can be made from an infinite variety of designs -- and therein lies both the fun and the rub.
With thousands of new and interesting sock patterns out there, and more being created every day, why restrict yourself to one pattern for two whole socks? Knitting the second sock can be a bit of a bore, says Linda; with two patterns, the second can be just as exciting as the first!
This is not my friend's first foray in this direction. Once, when a sale offered two different balls of striped wool with similar colours, she made a pair of socks from them, this time using the same pattern. "They are definitely 'odd' socks, but I love them," writes Linda, who tends toward loyalty.
|Same pattern, different balls of wool. Linda felt the wool had enough similar colours to make the socks a pair..|
|They're definitely odd socks, says Linda, "but I love them."|
Overall, it's better to use the same yarn for both socks and vary the pattern, she says in her email to me, calling it a lesson learned. "But to quote another Edith [Piaf, with whom I share my middle name], non, je ne regrette rien."
Linda's mismatched socks seem eminently practical to me -- the perfect answer to the perennial question of the missing sock. Whenever you lose one, mate it up with another and say it is quite deliberate.
|Linda's colourful sock drawer. One reason she wants to use different patterns for pairs of socks is that she has limited space; she wants to try as many patterns as she can while staying within it.|