The Socks from Hell

I have conquered the Socks from Hell.

It is not so much that I have subjugated these hand-knitted demons to their knees so much that I have brought them to my feet. Snugly, quietly, they embrace my very soles, and you would never guess how much anguish, toil, trouble, and sheer screaming frustration it took to get them there.

No, this has nothing to do with socks. But it's peaceful, and we need some peaceful right now. Homeland 1 by Steve Henderson.

No, this has nothing to do with socks. But it’s peaceful, and we need some peaceful right now.

I know, if you’re like my non-knitting sister you have no sympathy to dispense, totally not understanding why someone would take two sticks, a bunch of yarn, and several months to create something — one stitch at a time — that you can buy in bags at Wal-Mart.

She’ll never get it, but I know that some of you do:

I knit because it’s fun, a mantra I repeated to myself on this particular project, which involved stranded color work, a funky stripe that separated the top of the sock from the bottom, and a removable sole — the latter is really true, except I didn’t want it removed at the time.

The whole project stretched my skill level while it simultaneously didn’t stretch enough to fit over my foot. I call it the Cinderella Evil Step-Sister effect because my heel kept getting in the way. And while I was in the mood to cut something up, it definitely wasn’t my heel.

More peaceful. This project is difficult indeed, and it's important to rest and meditate. Homeland 2 by Steve Henderson

More peaceful. This project is difficult indeed, and it’s important to rest and meditate. Homeland 2 by Steve Henderson

But that was the least of my problems — the socks not fitting. Every possible minor mistake — using the wrong color, miscounting, dropping stitches, randomly changing needle sizes, losing my place in the chart; there are myriad others — I made, multiple times. If there is any truth to the old adage that we deliberately insert a mistake in an artisan project so that God won’t be offended by our perfection, then I am blessed by God indeed, because there is no way He would confuse what I made with what He can come up with.

But I kept plugging away at the damned things (they really are; I verbally consigned them elsewhere on a regular basis), ignoring the Norwegian Artist’s concerned looks over the top of his book. After 30 years he wisely knows when not to speak.

The good thing about the entire project is that the house stayed amazingly clean, because when I mentally gave myself a choice between working on the socks or swishing out the toilet, the toilet consistently won. Or the dishes. Vacuuming. Pairing socks — other people’s socks, the kind you buy in bags at Wal-Mart.

And after a restful time of swishing, I returned to the arena, determined to not be beaten by an inanimate object — or two inanimate objects — and quarter inch by precious quarter inch we advanced, the socks and I, until that blessed moment when I set the last stitch and wove in the final strand of yarn.

Aren't you feeling calm? I am. Of course, it helps that the socks are done and on my feet. Homeland 3 by Steve Henderson

Aren’t you feeling calm? I am. Of course, it helps that the socks are done and on my feet. Homeland 3 by Steve Henderson

Done, by gum, and with a minimum of finagling and finesse, on my feet, vanquished.

I am woman. Hear me roar. I rule, and command.

Okay. So now that’s done, and it’s time to start another project, because that’s why I knit — it’s fun, fulfilling, and addictive — far more so than swishing toilets — and I just can’t stop punishing myself.

Maybe there’s something to my sister’s way of thinking after all . . .


All of the artwork in my posts are by my Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art, and you are more than welcome to check out his website. He sells originals as well as signed, limited edition prints, so if you see something you like, feel free to treat yourself.

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She writes about life, art, and the art of life.
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6 Responses to The Socks from Hell

  1. Ah Carolyn…of all the blogs I am subscribed to (and it ain’t that many) yours is the one that consistently rings a bell with me and makes me chuckle. Makes me think about things too. Thank you for them. I Love the Norwegian Artists art very much too!

  2. Dianne says:

    Great column! I “toe-dully” understand. In knitting my first sock I declared it would be the next to last sock I EVER knitted. Then I got to the heel. I seriously considered a one-of-kind sock. They did get done and I wear them. I got suckered because there is now another pair of sock yarn skeins peering at me from the knitting thingy. Of course now I am trying knitting lace. Socks may seem easy after this. My language sometimes gets, well, unpleasant. It’s a good thing there aren’t any kids around.

    • Dianne: I think anyone who gets serious about knitting never stops, and I understand your natural progression from socks to lace. Of course — why not? I recently finished my first “official” lace shawl and I am hooked, already looking through the book, Victorian Lace Today for my next project, and poring over the WEBS catalog for yarn choices. This never stops!

      Despite my last experience with the SFH, I love making socks, and have enough in my sock drawer that all I wear is what I make. Nothing fits like those socks, and I make several pairs a year to keep up the stock. Of course, this last pair, which set me back half year, means that I’m behind schedule . . .

  3. cabinart says:

    Last summer I made my first pair of toe-up socks so that the entire amount of yarn could get used. Turned into kneesocks. Last week I finally decided to wear them, and I can’t get the bound off edge up over my bowling-pin calves!!! Dang. The socks that just won’t get finished. . .

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