After all, when pursuing inspiration…
footwear is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind.
I love knitting socks, they are challenging and there are an endless supply of different and diverse patterns out there. But while I love that first sock, giving it my undivided attention; I hate the second one quite passionately.
The first is unique, an original, one of a kind; the only one out there. It forces me to concentrate, to stretch myself, to think long and hard and mine deep, and oftentimes to go back and repeat, over and over, until I get it just right.
Sometimes I want to scream in frustration. Other times I want to cry. Usually, I frown. And occasionally I end up with a headache.
• Knitting and the role it plays in my life
The second one, by comparison, is boring. It is a following, a copying, a modelling; a return to the same, now trampled, ground. The hard part is over and all I am doing is retracing my steps and painting, albeit in wool, by numbers. An artist at heart: I find it hard not to veer off, reinventing and changing. It is an effort to repeat and I don’t do well with duplicates.
So instead of continuing to make two, trapping myself for convention… I decided to embrace my creative side. Abandoning the second sock, I chose, instead, to turn each first single sock into a work of art in its own right. Henceforth, the Single Sock was born.
Each sock is an original. No two socks are the same. Some are related. Some are not. Some are good friends. And some despise each other. Some were knitted at the same time. And others were knitted weeks, or even months, apart. Some were created out of sheep’s wool. Others from angora, cashmere, camel, alpaca, cotton and silk, etc… Some were made in Mallorca. Others further afield, in Australia, Spain, Italy, France and England.
But regardless, the underlying factor remains the same: no left foot has a matching right foot, and no right foot a matching left. You will never find another one like the one you are looking at now. And the one you looked at before this is different to the one you will look at in a moment’s time.
What’s more: because they are so special and as a mark of respect to their unique ‘specialness’, it would be a shame to wear them and wear them out. So I have decided to house each one in a frame, keeping it comfortable and safe and free from holes and dirt. And, as with my socks, each frame is bespoke, with the style and the wood befitting both buyer and garment, sole and solemate. I don’t commit until you do; that way, if you happen to have a preference for oak, I won’t accidentally send you birch.
The idea of the ‘Single Sock’ is to give it pride of place on your wall; to take it home and walk around and find the perfect position for it; to hang it and to admire it, to appreciate it and revere it each and every day for many years to come; to keep it without taking anything from it – and that means wearing it, even if you do so happen to find yourself barefoot and desperate one foot forlorn day. It is a sole mate not a foot servant.
I hope that you appreciate the care and the attention that has gone into every single one of my darnings and cherish your sock as much as I do. Please look after it and give it a good home, dusting it and polishing it as often as is necessary. Knitted over many hours and many days, it has come from a place of love.
If you would like to commission a sock for a particular individual, event, location or occasion, you may suggest yarn, colour and stitch. But, each one a work of art, the process is ultimately organic and as such prone to possessing a mind of its own. There can be no guarantee as to the exact nature of the end product. These socks are not created from a pre-existing pattern or design. My hands do not dictate, but simply translate what woollen wording passes to them through my wooden sticks.
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