Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Why Grandma, what big socks you have!

When I was a young girl, dear readers, I used to occasionally visit my grandma. It was only occasionally because she lived 3 days drive away, if you went the fast route. So these visits happened about every other year.

Now, my grandma's house was not the best-designed house for a child to live in. (It was even worse when I got to be a teenager, but we'll pass over that for now.) If I wanted anything to play with, I had to bring it with me. There were books, but most of the accesible ones (ie, those not locked in a childproof glass-fronted bookcase - yes, I know it was childproof because I tried to get in) were Readers Digest condensed novels and suchlike. Not of great interest to me then or now.

But! (she said, raising a finger emphatically) there were some items of great interest to me. You see, back when Grandma was a girl, she had been given some Girls' Own Annuals. These were compilations of a year's worth of issues of The Girls' Own Companion and Ladies Home Magazine. (They don't make titles like that any more.) Anyway Grandma had been given a half-dozen or so of these Annuals. AND she had kept them!

Now believe me, some of the contents have dated badly. Instructions that washing your hair should be done no more than once a fortnight? I think not. Others, however, are still relevant and interesting. Yes, dear readers, I'm talking about the knitting and crochet patterns!

Which brings me to what I wanted to say in the first place. (Look, I'm new to this blogging business, ok? Bear with the rambling.) In one of these Annuals, which dates to the late 1920s, there is a pattern for a lady's stocking. Which is basically a sock, done in very fine yarn, reaching up to the knee. Sounds basic enough, right? BUT this stocking has one very unique feature. The heel, sole and toe are knitted in a separate piece and attached to the rest of the stocking by slip-stitch crochet. Which means that when you get a hole in the toe - or the heel - you just pull out the slip-stitching, remove the sole piece, knit up another one, attach it, and voila! A hole-free sock!

Pretty nifty, huh?

Now, I would have thought that someone out there would have come up with this idea. There is an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern for socks with a similar idea, but only the sole is knitted separately, not the heel and toe as well.

So I have two questions.

The first: does anyone know of a pattern out there for this technique?

And secondly: given that I have no idea of the yarn, the needles or the tension, and I've never knitted socks before, what are my chances of turning this pattern into a wearable sock?

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