With apologies to The Who, I am all about the new socks, same as the old sock – or if you’re being literal, one new sock and one old sock that is the old sock, except just about finished.
The Retro Ribs now have the distinction as “project which has languished longest without completion,” started May 2005 (a length of time, which, for a pair of socks, is pretty freaking impressive, if you ask me). Even though it’s just an 8-stitch, 4-row repeat, I think they’ve taken this long because I didn’t really grok the pattern; that’s no longer true, and I’ve sailed through the foot – probably better than five inches of progress in two days. Which is a lot for me, so all you speedy knitters, watch out! It also helps that the yarn is fairly dark (click to see a rather nice detail), hiding any number of sins. I am on the case with the Retro Ribs, at least until I graft the toe and can use these needles to swatch for my Sockapaloooza socks.
“I should be my own Best Pal.” These are the words I heard in my head yesterday morning when I saw yet another unveiling of secret pal goodies on a knitting blog. There’s been more than a little talk about Secret Pals and the goodies they send in blogland recently: is it bragging? Is it “buying” friendship? Is it really necessary, all the posting of the gifts? Isn’t it disappointing when the pal doesn’t reciprocate? Does blogging have cliques, and does it matter if you’re “in” or “out?” [I love you, Heidi Klum - call me! - ed.]
Whether you’re a Secret Pal or not, I think the point of being your own best pal is not to run up a big credit card bill buying whatever you want [note to the Internet: Reading how guilty you feel about your latest yarn purchase but that you did it anyway "because you just couldn't help yourself" ranks right below "I'm posting but I have nothing to say." on my list of Things Probably Not Worth Posting; see We Want More Knitting Content,
above er, below - ed.]. It’s about giving yourself permission to use the tools and materials you love to expand your knitting horizons and become a better knitter. For the record, I’m in favor of all kinds of Internet surprises, and I begrudge no one their treats, but I want to see your knitting. That is the burning question in my mind when I read your blog: what are you knitting, and what can I learn from you? For that reason, the photos of Secret Pal packages are not quite as interesting to me as the things people make with what they receive.
Frankly, I have no good answer to those who say “Why complain or worry about the secret pal exchanges when you can just buy yourself something special?” Why indeed? I have a limited knitting budget (who does not?), but I suppose that’s why they call them “treats” – they don’t come around every day. After the Mom socks and the Sockapaloooza socks and the Retro Ribs are finished (whew!), I think I’ll “pal” myself with a little something special. I have a sneaking suspicion that being generous with myself in a knitterly way might allow me to be more generous with other knitters, cutting down on the grumbling from my corner of the Interweb. So, with apologies to Clairol, I’m worth it. Aren’t we all?
[If you like the buttons, take one - ed.]