Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sockus Absentius

For those who have never knit a sock, a glove or any other object most often made in pairs, you may not be aware of a well-known condition which can be referred to as Sockus Absentius, more commonly called Second Sock Syndrome. It afflicts many well-intentioned knitters to some degree or other, but it mostly manifests itself in the following manner: one sock is energetically finished and proudly presented to the world on the knitter's blog, while the second sock never surfaces. Why is this? Simply put, it never gets knitted. Oftentimes it never even gets started. So, the first sock, though perhaps not enduring a completely lonely existence (for there are other half-made pairs to accompany it) gets tossed in a drawer, never to find its mate. It's a sad plight, no doubt about it, but a common one. Why does it occur, though? And, what measures can be taken to alleviate, or even irradicate the problem?

Annie Moore-Headshrinker, world-renowned psychologist, explains that the issue is deeply rooted in a desire (in fact, often a compulsive need) to try new tasks, feel new textures, and learn new skills, resulting in a never-ending list of newly embarked upon projects. Unfortunately, unlike with the sweater, the scarf or other garments not knit in pairs, once the first sock is finished, the gratification of a finished object has been attained, and no further knitting on that project is desired. Thus, the first sock is forever left to pine away for its soulmate. Some even meet with the sad fate of later being unravelled (commonly known as "being frogged") only to be reincarnated into yet another pairless sock. Fortunately, however, recent research by innovative knitters has led to the invention of several ingenius knitting methods that solve this problem by ensuring that both socks are finished at the same time. The two most well-known of these are the Magic Loop and the Two Socks, Two Circs methods, which are very similar in approach and in results. Essentially, the lone sock dilemma is eliminated by knitting both socks simultaneously. Even more interesting is the fact that, since the same row of each sock is knitted at the same time, the socks are identical when finished. All sock-knitters can attest to the fact that this is, indeed, quite desirable, because many a pair of hand-knitted socks, are definitely not truly matching. The only visible problem with the idea of knitting two socks at one time is the fact that if a mistake in size or design is made, there are now two to frog, instead of the one that would usually need to be unravelled. Perhaps it is worth the risk, though, to actually have a finished pair of hand-knitted socks to wear.

So, my question is now this: Why the hell haven't I joined the numerous knitters who've forever put their Second Sock Syndrome woes behind them by learning one of these methods? It comes down to being cheap. Really. How pathetic is that? I just haven't been able to convince myself that I should spend the money to get that second circular needle I'd need to knit two socks at once (forget the cost of the yarn now tied up in just one sock, never to be used in any practical way). I really should just bite the bullet, though, because now I'm faced with knitting the second baby bootie for my new niece, and I don't have the slightest desire to do it. As a result, I've dived back into the cable baby blanket I had started and never finished. I've calculated that if I work approximately 5 hours a day on it, I should have it finished by the weekend. And, since the prospect of ignoring all housework, cooking and other obligations, as well as neglecting my two children is entirely acceptable to me, I will attempt to finish the blanket before doing the logical thing of just finishing the second bootie and taking the five minutes needed to wrap them up. Alright, we can all see I won't be finishing that blanket by the weekend, and I'll have to work up the courage to dig into that second bootie, but can anyone who has tried any of these two-sock knitting methods convince me to just go ahead and splurge on the second circular needed to attempt to actually someday have a full pair of socks? Your convincing would be much appreciated!