I just found a sock in the middle of the living room floor. I know, I know - as a mother of three boys I should not be all that shocked. What you have to understand is that it wasn't just any old sock laying there abandoned and helpless. It was a handknitted sock.
My boys don't fully realize what that means. In At Knit's End, Stephanie Pearl McPhee (aka Yarn Harlot) says that the average handknitted sock is made up of 17,000 stitches. Yes, you read that right. 17,000 stitches. Now first of all, I didn't realize I had the attention span to do anything 17,000 times. But even more surprising is the fact that, in order to make a pair of socks, I actually had the attention span for 34,000 stitches. In fact, I cherished every single stitch.
You see, when I knit a pair of socks, I'm not just producing an item that I could buy for $1.99 at Wal-Mart. Every inch of the four hundred yards or so of yarn that goes into those socks slides between my fingers as I knit, and I put a little bit of myself into that humble knitted gift.
This is important to me because my boys are getting older, and I often have to send them off into the cold, cruel world to fend for themselves. But I know that when they wear those 34,000 stitches, I'm with them in some way. Since nobody really notices socks, it's like our little secret. I keep their little feet warm. I cushion their step as they run and jump and play. I give them a foundation to stand on when they are faced with a difficult choice.
I know it sounds like a lot to expect from a pair of socks. But trust me, it's in there.