Or, more accurately, hockey knitting socks. I’ve been watching a lot of hockey since last I wrote, and a few movies on my favorite television channel, Turner Classic Movies, where the beautiful and elegant Loretta Young is the featured star of the month. I thought you might like to see my progress.
Clockwise from the left, Reversible Ribs Socks sock #2, 3 x 2 Ribbed Socks sock #1, Say You Love Me Skyp Socks sock #1, Spicy Sport Socks sock #1
You may be saying to yourself, Why in the name of Elizabeth Zimmermann does Pinko Knitter have four different socks OTN at the same time? Why doesn’t she finish one sock before she begins another?
If you just asked yourself that question, here’s my answer. Each of those socks is hockey knitting. Hockey knitting needs to be mindless knitting because hockey is a fast-paced sport that requires one’s viewing attention. So I need knitting that doesn’t take a lot of concentration or constant visual attention. In other words, I need knitting that I don’t have to think about or constantly look at while I’m doing it.
Each of these socks is in a pattern that occupies a different point on the mindless knitting spectrum. The Spicy Sport Sock, for example, is as mindless as it gets because it is simply knit every round, and being on two circular needles, I don’t even have to fish around under the chair cushion for the needle I just dropped. If I drop a needle, it just hangs there. 😀
The 3 x 2 Ribbed Socks are just a plain knit 3, purl 2 pattern that requires the knitter only to remember to knit 3 before purling 2. That’s a little more thought than plain knit or knit 2, purl 2, but once you get going, you get a rhythm established and it’s pretty mindless.
The Reversible Ribs socks are just 2 x 2 ribbing that is offset every other round. One round is (k2, p2) across, then the next, you k1, p2, then (k2, p2) across to the end and finish with k 1. When I am about to start a round, I have to take a peak to see whether I’m on a round that starts with k2 or a round that starts with k1, but otherwise, the pattern is mindless.
The Say You Love Me Skyp Socks pattern takes a little more attention than any of the other patterns I’m knitting, but it is still pretty mindless. I worked on this sock yesterday as I was watching the Penguins beat the Senators in a shoot-out, 2-1. It was an outstanding hockey game. Both teams played well, both goalies were excellent, and the pace of play was extremely fast. The hockey didn’t interfere with the knitting, and the knitting didn’t interfere with the hockey. Every other round of this pattern requires me to peak at my knitting when working the skyp stitch, but the stitch is simple to work and quickly becomes automatic. If it weren’t for having to pass a slipped stitch over, I wouldn’t even have to look at my knitting.
Okay, Pink Knitter, you might be saying to yourself. I get the whole mindless knitting thing. But why do you need 4 different mindless knitting socks. Wouldn’t one sock suffice?
The answer to that question is a resounding, NO! One sock is not enough. And for a very simple reason. Socks have beginnings and ends. They have toes and heels and gusset stitches to pick up. As long as I’m knitting a leg or a foot, everything is hokey spokey. But what happens when I come to the part of the sock where the heel begins, or the toe? Heels and toes need attention. Patterns must be centered, stitches must be counted and shifted, heel flaps and heel turns must be knitted, gusset stitches picked up or, alternately, a short-row heel must be knitted. And heels and toes take more attention, both mental and visual, than the leg and foot.
So when I’m knitting along and suddenly it’s time to start the heel, if I’m in the middle of a game, I can just set the sock aside and pick up another one and keep on knitting. Then I can work on the heel (or toe) during intermission or after the game. (I’m not a fan of so-called Afterthought Heels, aka peasant heels, which would allow me to just keep knitting round and round until I reached the toe or the cuff, depending on whether I’m knitting the sock cuff-down or toe-up so that is simply not an option.)
Okay, you caught me. I lied just now, at least a little. Although it is true that heels and toes take more mental and visual attention than legs and feet, I am perfectly capable of doing heels and toes while watching hockey. I knitted at least 6 pairs of socks during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, so I have had lots and lots of practice. If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that the real reason I currently have four different socks OTN is that I just like having a lot of projects going at once. I like to be able to choose what I want to work on, and if I have several projects going, I don’t get bored working on the same thing all the time. I’m just not cut out to be a monogamous knitter. I admire knitters who work on only one project at a time, who never start the next project before finishing the previous project. But I could never be like that. The lure of casting on a new project is a Siren song I cannot resist. I don’t even try any more.