A sock a day?

I gathered, as I read some of the comments yesterday about my intention to knit a sock a day for some time to come, that there were those among you, my esteemed colleagues, who felt that this statement spoke to a certain “je ne sais quoi” in the area of my sanity.

There were also those of you that came right out and called me nuts, a few who wondered how many hours were in my days now that I can warp the time space continuum, and one person who felt compelled to send me a charming private note asking me to kindly seek help for my knitting addiction before I hurt myself.

The writer, whom I feel absolutely certain is not a knitter (and must really not read this blog at all), urged me to (and I quote) “try and get out a little more”. When I got up off the floor – where luckily, my as yet unpacked suitcase cushioned my fall (get out a little more indeed.) I got to thinking about this sock a day plan. When I was younger my grandfather used to say that if one person told you that you were wrong, you could safely ignore them. If two people mentioned it, then you had to check, and that if three people brought something to your attention then, no matter how convinced you were of your correctness…you were likely wrong. This was more than three people, so I did a little research.

The first thing I did was stop and notice that I didn’t need a whole lot of research. I knew a sock a day was possible. I did it.

Sockadayfin1116

(Admittely, this pair is a cheat…it’s only kids socks.)

Then I did it again.

Sockaday1116

Full size adult socks (Fleece Artist Merino Sock yarn, my pattern, not theirs) A full one knit yesterday and a half one for today, which is only half over so I think I’m on target there.

Moreover, while I definitely spent a good chunk of my time over the last couple of days knitting and/or thinking about knitting (which is sort of my job as well as what I do anyway) I didn’t think that was a problem, since I also fed my kids, went to the grocery store, made a nice dinner, did two loads of laundry, spoke to the other people who live here and went to Knit Night with my buddies. In short, I had a pretty normal day…except that whenever possible, if my hands were free for even a moment…

I knit. I multi-tasked.

Granted, I’ve got 34 years of knitting experience and I’m on the quick side of normal, but I still didn’t think that this whole sock a day thing was so crazy. I looked to history for a little support.

I totally found it. How about this from the Icelandic Knitting Website:

By the eighteenth century, an Icelandic servant girl was expected to be able to produce one long stocking, or to card. spin. and knit a pair of short socks each day.

Dudes… card spin and knit? Remember too that these people had other stuff going on. Totally. They couldn’t order pizza to get it done, their husbands didn’t do any laundry to help free up knitting time, they couldn’t buy butter already churned to save time….The servant girl wasn’t employed for the purpose of turning out stockings. She was doing her knitting in her idle “extra” moments, like me and you. She multitasked.

In Folk Socks (one of my most favourite knitting books of all time) Nancy Bush writes:

In 1595 the collectors of Aulnage (excise duty for woolen cloth) reasoned that one knitter made two pairs of stockings per week.

For this to be the average…and remembering that a stocking goes to the knee (or better) and is therefore probably three socks to a stocking – knitting wise, this means that most knitters would easily have been turning out the modern equivalent of a sock a day while meeting their other responsibilities.

How about Richard Rutt in A History of Hand Knitting:

Moreover, it is a mistake to think that the early knitting -frame quickly speeded up the bulk production of stockings. A framework knitter working hard might produce ten pairs a week, while a good hand knitter could make six.

Six pairs of stockings in a week? Twelve stockings? Admittedly, Bishop Rutt is here speaking of professional knitters working at it for a living, but seriously…If I lifted all burdens from you for eight hours a day and let you work at stocking knitting for a living…would you be producing six pair a week? I’d be gibbering in a corner.

How the hell did they do it?

Ladyknt1116

Image from Folk Socks

This is the chief employment of the women. The dexterity and expedition with which they dispatch a pair of stockings are almost incredible. To them light and darkness are indifferent. A woman seen walking without a stocking in her hand is stigmatized with idleness.

Richard Valpy 1754-1836

(Describing Jersey, in Richard Rutt’s History of Handknitting)

It’s incredible to think of. Children as young as four were being taught to knit at this time in England, and certainly by the time that they were seven or eight they were expected to be making stockings in a way that contributed to the families income. Women, men, children…all knitting away at stockings, producing certainly far greater than my measly sock a day while chopping wood for the fire, baking bread, sewing and mending clothes, knitting all the other items that the family needed to keep warm, caring for their children and in general leading an extraordinarily difficult life with far less leisure time.

Contrasting that with my trifling idea to knit a sock a day while watching Lost on DVDs and I’m not sure you have a knitting obsessed manic on her way to a mental breakdown or that I’m even perhaps headed for some sort of vague incident concerning the men with the huggy coats and a sedative blowdart….

As a matter of fact, historically speaking? I might be a slacker.

322 thoughts on “A sock a day?

  1. Let me hop on the bandwagon where henceforth, no one shall be permitted to use the words “time”, “space”, and continuum in the same sentence, unless it’s something along the lines of:
    “She found a small space to sit in the library where the sight of the continuum of book stacks did not make her dizzy all the time.”
    You got all kindsa ways to be crazy. This sock-a-day thing might just be one of your saner acts πŸ˜‰

  2. A sock a day–you may be dabling with insanity, but I still aspire to be the YarnHarlot of Illinois (or at least Downers Grove).

  3. I couldn’t make a sock a day but it didn’t even cross my mind to call YOU nuts for doing so.
    I think back in the ‘olden days’ there weren’t as many things competing for our spare time. Plus, if you needed socks, you had to get busy and make ’em or go barefoot.

  4. I am absolutely a slacker! From this day forth we shall never refer to ourselves as obsessed knitters again! ;}

  5. Dear Stephanie,
    I think a sock a day is totally possible, when I was doing some researcht his summer in Berkeley at the Advanced Light SOurce I was able to test this theory. When you are doing experiments there once in a while (or more often) your experiment stalls because (who would have guessed?) the light goes out (well, this is not the sunlight we are talking about but more the high energy stuff coming out of a storage ring). Until they find the problem and fix and you can start the experiment again, it can take some time. Anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours is totally within normal range. And, you cant just walk off and have a good time in Berkeley because as soon as the light comes back on you have to restart your experiment (time is money, right? and time is very limited so you want to squeeze every second out of the lighttime ….). This is the perfect time to knit socks! Works even when totally sleep deprived. Short socks = 3.5 hours.
    have fun….Petra

  6. I am totally in awe of anyone who produces socks. I have now collected dozens of sets of written instructions on how to knit socks, hoping that somehow it will sink in. I even tried to watch a dvd , but they never showed a close-up of what the knitter was actually doing. I may just have to watch someone else do it.

  7. While you are not a slacker and your knitting speed has mine beat seven ways to Sunday… I still am thinking maybe a sock a day in addition to family and life may be pushing it.
    Still, you are achieving your goals and you are as always, amazing.
    P.S. “Get out more”??? How wrong are they, you still haven’t made it near San Diego… you aren’t getting out nearly enough. I say forget feeding the kids, they’re old enough to forage on their own.

  8. Oh, and don’t forget the gauge they were using. In museums, you can find socks at 17 sts/in!! They definitely weren’t using sportweight or double-knitting weight. They were using teeny-tiny needles and thread.
    I do have to ask, though: What did they do with all those socks? Were people so rough on their handknit socks that they needed a new pair that frequently? What about darning them? Odd. It sounds like there should be mounds of socks hidden somewhere.

  9. Knitters are not madly obsessed, they are just extremely dedicated. Fantastic socks by the way. My son just spied them on the monitor and asked why I never knit him any socks anymore. I just calmly reminded him that Christmas is only 40 days away.

  10. I’m sure this was written with the gleam of the true believer in your eye. I bet you typed faster and faster as you went on : )
    And yet, I do think the sock a day idea is a good one…

  11. Definitely not a slacker, I am doing well if I knit a pair in a week, I can quite often knit two socks but more often than not they are not a matching pair! Nice socks.

  12. The most surefire way to ensure my achievement of anything is to tell me (especially repeatedly) that I cannot. Extra fervour for telling me I’m nuts for trying. I think you know where I’m going with this…

  13. I don’t think you’re nuts either. Although I don’t knit socks – yet – I crocheted almost a whole scarf in about three hours. The naysayers are wrong.

  14. So…if you’re a slacker, does that make me a rock? a rather nice-smelling pile of goo? an ingenious recycling system for unclaimed air?
    πŸ™‚
    Must. Get. Faster. (Especially as Christmas is approaching! eep.)

  15. My grandmother told me, when she was 90, that *her* mother was knitting stockings in Germany at the age of three. When she got to a heel, she would give it to an older relative to complete. I looked at my three year old daughter and thought, “Dude, how did they do that?” My daughter is now five, and can still only manage about three stitches at one sitting. But I guess everyone in the family needed stockings or socks.
    Also, it takes me weeks to knit a sock. But then, my money-making job is something else.

  16. Hey, I don’t think you’re crazy, a sock a day sounds perfctly resonable! I wish right now that I was working on that goal, but I am trying to finish the last 27 rows of Icarus and block it before my sister’s wedding Saturday… I may have a problem with time;) Good luck with your socks, great yarn!

  17. Slacker!
    Seriously, it’s possible for you to knit a sock a day. You’re a fast knitter and if I can do it, I know you can!
    Knit on!

  18. If you’re a slacker, I don’t even want to think of the tag they would attach to me. I can churn out a pair in a week if I try, but there’s lots more going on in life these days. And I agree with the other poster – what did they do with all these socks?

  19. I am in awe at your abilities, to be a wife/mother, a writer & a prolific knitter. Heck, you did a lot just to research for this post.
    Yet, and please don’t take offence, in comparison to the people who lived in the centuries before us, you are a slacker. Take heart, however, as you’re not as much of a slacker as so many others, me included.

  20. Anyone who thinks you’re going mental to knit a sock a day has never seen you go the week before Christmas! Go Girl! A sock a day is nothing for you.
    Oh and Christmas is still 39 days away. I’ve got 2 scarves, 7 pairs of mitts, and 5 hats to go (there’s likely more I’m not thinking of), while I’m not singing in concerts and running around after my 2 year old twins! Piece of cake. Right?
    See you at the Funny Farm. I’ll save you a seat.

  21. I don’t question your sanity I just envy your speed. Get out more? Hah! That person is clearly the one who needs to have their head examined. What do they do while they watch TV?
    The socks looks marvelous.

  22. Color me amazed. If I’m not working on much else, I can knit a pair of adult women’s socks (at 11 spi) in 10 days. I average about an inch an hour.
    My personal record is a pair in 5 days. Then I couldn’t knit for 2 weeks because my fingers hurt too much. Just not a speed-oriented knitter, I guess.
    The thought of churning out a single sock in a day, let alone a pair, is just mind-boggling. A big round of applause to you (and a standing ovation to some of those incredibly productive historical knitters).

  23. Off to the ‘Cracker Factory’ eh. Well make sure you pack your waders and your tin foil hat. I hear those are ‘must have items’ in the gibber ward.
    Best of Luck
    Write often
    diana

  24. I’m with Jennifer. I envy your speed. But I’m curious – are these socks part of your Christmas knitting?

  25. My grandmother routinely pops out a sock (or two) a day. She uses thicker weight yarn (between dk and worsted) to make warm winter socks, but they just pop right off of her needles when you aren’t looking.
    The funny thing is she “doesn’t know” (is unwilling to) cast on for each new pair of socks, so my aunts send her packages in the mail of balls of yarn and DPNs with one or two rows cast on and knitted. She handles them from there. πŸ™‚

  26. Yeah, but in the context of your actual position in the space-time continuum, you might be a wacko.
    Seriously, the constant employment of the female hands does strike me forcibly when I read old(ish) books — the Little House series, for example, but also things like Anne of Green Gables that aren’t intended as morality plays, yet continually mention women and girls knitting, sewing, etc. whenever their hands weren’t otherwise occupied.

  27. Thorough as your research might be, I think you could still find more historical examples of people who didn’t knit a sock a day than examples of people who did. What did your mom tell you once? Something like proving that all your friends do the same thing you do doesn’t make it less crazy? But, uh, good luck!

  28. I can knit a sock a day and do a few other things but not as many as you. I don’t like to sit that long. Some of the stuff I do is pretty dirty and I wouldn’t want to take my sock along for idle moments. I like idle moments so I’ll settle for half a sock a day.

  29. I personally don’t think you should feel you have to explain yourself to any of us! You’re a speedy knitter, a terrific mom and wife, exceptionally talented in the writing department, and all in all a pretty cool person, from what I read in your blog. I crochet, and I can go pretty darned quick, too. You go, girl. Go on knitting a sock a day and puh-too-ee to those who doubt your abilities!

  30. I don’t see a problem here. Depending on gauge, length, etc., this should be about normal in the pre-holiday run-up. Nor, in said run-up, is this particularly obsessive. I usually get two shanks or feet done in a day in such circumstances. ( I knit in bits like this to avoid the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome–or at least make sure they match by the time I finish them.) Seems to me someone is projecting their own inadequacies as the norm we should all strive for. If you can’t or don’t want to knit that much, for heaven’s sake, don’t, but if I do, please give me credit for accomplishing something useful.

  31. I was just asking…! Now you’ve felt compelled to do research which proves you’re a slacker, and comparatively speaking, proves me to be even more of a slacker.
    *Sigh*

  32. My very first comment to you: I KNEW it could be done! I recently timed my knitting, in preparation for the ever-present question, “How long does it take you to knit a pair of socks?” and the answer (for me) is: 8 hours for a lace/DK weight sock (not a pair), and 3.5 hours for a worsted weight sock. I KNEW you could do it!

  33. But wait! Here’s another author to add to the literature review on this topic:
    “It is a peculiarity of knitters that they chronically underestimate the amount of time that it takes to knit something. Birthday on Saturday? No problem. Socks are small. Never mind that the average sock knit out of sock-weight yarn contains about 17,000 stitches. Never mind that you need two of them. (that’s 34,000 stitches, for anybody keeping track.) Socks are only physically small. By stitch count, they are immense.”
    (Harlot, Yarn. At Knit’s End [2005], p.17.)
    Just quotin’. πŸ™‚

  34. Ignore the nay-sayers! When I’m not teaching I can easily do one sock in a single day. I usually cast on for the second one too. Unfortunately for me, the whole job thing gets in the way most of the time. Oh well!

  35. I’m inspired by all of you. Getting that sweater for my grandaughter done in the next month is “not” an impossibility!!

  36. Sure. A sock a day. No problem. I’d have dirty, smelly, unfed small children running about behaving like they just walked out of “Lord of the Flies”…but yeah, it could be done.
    Hats off to our ancestors! (Thank goodness for electric appliances.)

  37. Having managed to make two circular lace shawls in fingering-weight yarn in a week, a sock a day seems a nice, leisurely, thoroughly enjoyable pace. It helps, too, that your kids and mine are past the constant-attention little-kid stage. To everything its season, and knitting is always in season.

  38. Well, of course, you can do it — if I, the beginning knitter of socks, can make one pair in a weekend, then certainly you can make one sock in a day.
    Although, I guess my comment would be — aren’t you bored?

  39. Stephanie, today I thought you were a nutter what with this sock a day business. Yet I must admit your arguments are compelling. And this is not the first time. It was because of your story about Mr, now Sir Washie, that I was able to convince my Mike to finally take a look and fix the washing machine. That was a wonderful story, and he was so pleased with himself. Now, I must admit that I have a pair of grey socks that I started back in sept just sitting there. Garter stitch heels that have to be set up. Well no more slacking off for me. Your post reminded me that I also have some lovely blue merino fleece artist. So after seeing how nicely yours are turning out, I am going to start a new sock right now. In my case though, sock a week is a more managable goal.
    Lucette in Ottawa

  40. Ok, so you’ve got the production timeline crazy covered. Good for you. But what about the attention span crazy, I ask you? The fact that yours is, well, short and skittish and a sock is a sock is a sock no matter how many beautiful colours of Fleece Artist you get to knit it in? How long till the call of the Sea Silk or that Kate Gilbert sweater in the new IK wails to you so loudly you think you’ll go mad from the strain of Just Knitting Socks. Or spinning, now that you know you can spin cashmere and Claudia and I both know you have cashmere in your stash just begging to be brought out and fondled and loved and made to flow gently and softly and sublimely through your fingers on its way to becoming beautiful yarn that won’t want to be a sock…
    I’m only thinking of you, dear. Really.

  41. I don’t think the sock a day is a problem, given how much you knit in any given week. Rather, can a self-proclaimed harlot stick to a sock a day? Just make sure you don’t come face to face with some seductive lace-weight alpaca…

  42. I have 2 proposals for you:
    a)In the spirit of “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop” let’s find out how long it actually does take you to knit a sock, Stephanie. Get hold of a stop-watch timer thingie and turn it on as you cast on the first stitch of your next sock. Put it on pause everytime you put down the knitting and hit “go” everytime you pick the knitting back up. It will very interesting to find out exactly how many actual minutes of knitting time go into each sock.
    b)I’d love to see how fast your hands actually go. In my minds eye, I envision your hands as a blur. Could you use the video camera doohickey on the new laptop to make a short video of you actually knitting? I bet I’m not the only blog-reader who’d like to see that.
    Me, I’ve only made one pair of socks so far and the whole family keeps stealing them. Husband has muscled his way to front of the line for the next pair of socks — which are currently on the needles. Kids are jockying for position (and arguing over yarn) for the socks after husbands. I’m using the 2-socks-at-the-same-time-on-circular-needles method and it still seems to take forever to complete a pair (like around a month).

  43. Your powers of rationalization are *deeply* impressive.
    That said, I still think the plan is a bit, um, aggressive. πŸ™‚ Good luck with it all. As someone who finds it takes at least three seasons to knit a pair of socks, I admire you for your pace so far.

  44. Brava! I can just see your fingers flying and your hair growing more and more indignant as you typed that post (yes, hair does in fact grow indignant, espcially when it is curly!) You make me think that if I use my time wisely, it is entirely possible to complete another 14″ of the body of a 44″ chest sweater and some arms for it before the 24th of December!
    So sad that I missed you in Kingston (working on a presentation…worth…50% of my grade in that class…which I presented on Thursday morning), & Montreal (I was going to go with Kate!), but paying work got in the way of the last date. Some day, I will hold your sock.

  45. I could totally knit a sock a day! …IF I could bring them to my office job and knit while talking on the phone, waiting for the computer, copier, etc. The employer kinda frowns on knitting at my desk though. I want to be self-employed!

  46. A sock a day is out of my reach right now (as is a sock a week, although I’m pretty sure I could do a sock a month) but it never occurred to me that you couldn’t do it. And just because their lives were harder and had fewer luxuries and amenities doesn’t mean the “time savers” in our lives aren’t conspiring to suck away our time – we just have a different tolerance level now. I mean, can you imagine what your girls would do if you suggested to them that they wear the same dress every day and wash it only once a week? Heck no. But Laura Ingalls and her contemporaries did it that way.

  47. The Knitting Olypics taught me that what I though was impossible (knitting a sweater in 16 days) I could blow past (finished in 10) and so could a whole heap of other knitters. NaNoWriMo is teaching me the same thing. I think we underestimate ourselves WAY too much and by extention we underestimate the people around us. You’ve given me a personal challange for the first weekend in December. I wholly beleive you can knit a sock a day. Now I want to see if (or maybe prove to myself that) I can.

  48. Ooooh- wicked comment from Rachel H. Lead her not into temptation.
    Although a sock a day is reasonable for a knitter such as yourself, especially when there’s an appearance deadline looming, it’s probably not something you want to be doing every day/year-round.

  49. A sock a day? Why even knit socks? Ever? Go to the store and buy a pair (and probably less expensively than the price of the fiber used to produce the homemade sock). Yes, I realize that I’m the blasphemer here, but I do not understand the love affair with socks. Shawls, yes. Scarves, absolutely. Sweaters, I aspire to create them someday. But socks???
    Consider that your work, undeniably, will be worn through at some time in the not-too-distant future. If the smelly sock is mistakenly washed and dried in the machine(s), then it is now ruined and too small for its adult wearer. Let’s say you lose a single sock. With Hanes or whatever generic store-bought brand, you just grab another. Knitted socks require mates and unless you want to be “shot with a blowdart sedative”, you don’t mix and match handmade socks. Maybe I’m an ignorant fool, but I just do not understand the sock obsession that so many knitters have. That said, though, I do admire the work, the creativity and the time that you sockers expend. πŸ™‚

  50. I know a lady who can knit a PAIR a day, on a slow day. I personally am up to a pair in about two or three weeks (if done with worsted weight). So I’m mightily impressed.

  51. So what you are saying is that taking over a YEAR to complete a pair of socks (which, by they way STILL are not done) is a bit too long?? Hmmm, that’s something to ponder now isn’t it?

  52. Sockaday? Totally do-able. On my days off, I could do that (like so many people, a day off is when I do the dishes, the laundry, clean up, vacuum, clean the toilets, cook some food…I just don’t go to work. Outside. Anyway).
    Which is not to take away from your awesomeness. πŸ™‚
    Someone higher up mentioned their grandmother giving the socks away to have someone turn the heels — one of the ongoing jokes is that when my grandmother passes away, one of us is going to inherit a box full of mittens without thumbs. πŸ™‚

  53. These ‘pace’ issues are tough. Sure, you can knit a sock, or go to the gym, or wash all the dishes in a day. But for how many days in a row before you have fantasies about being able to go barefoot year-round? (Well, perhaps not in Canada.)
    Caveat: my first sock is three inches long, with an uneven cuff that looks like I factored in calf shaping for a weightlifter, still on the DPNs. In another room. Waiting for me to get going on it again. Someday. And it’s a tube sock, so no heel to worry about. Why am I not working on it? Four active kids and no interest in the sock right now. Among other projects and, well, issues.
    God bless you, Stephanie, crank out your sock a day and don’t worry about it. Only read items written by those of us who are crazy in a KNITTING kind of way. We have all seen what you can do when you put yourself on task.

  54. sounds like you have your priorities straight. too much of modern day time gets eaten up with computers, phones, and tv. one of the most interesting blogs of yours yet.

  55. For a lot of people (i.e., me), a sock a day is… ambitious. Perhaps a little crazy. However, I have seen how prolific you can be, especially in the week or so before Christmas. I have full confidence that you can safely handle a sock a day.

  56. Get out more? Are you kidding me? You can make a sock a day. No biggy. You are the YARN HARLOT!! You are like the superhero of knitters, minus the cape and the tights. (thank you for that)
    Knit! Knit! I will think of you while I hang with my knitting buddies tonight!

  57. I bow before you, oh mighty knitterly reaserchy one. I also send tidings of hand lotion, and recommendations for a nice hand massage.

  58. I know it is crazy. But, strangely, I’m thinking you can do it….and should? Coffee and chocolate. popcorn and beer. the four food groups might get you through.

  59. Sock-a-day is totally do-able. Heck, I knit 3″ of a man’s sock last Saturday afternoon in a hockey store while watching my husband try on new goal pads AND trying to make thoughtful comments about his purchase decision. But then I’m nuts too–I’m married to a goalie πŸ™‚

  60. Obviously the person who thinks you need “to get out more” doesn’t knit since knitters know that socks are the perfect travel project, going anywhere, from exotic restaurants with notoriously long waits or picking up kids from various places and waiting for buses. A sock a day is a great idea.

  61. Makes you wonder, what they did with all those socks ? I mean, there were only so many feet to go around.
    My Mom has always told me she use to knit a pair of argyles a night for her boyfriends (probably during the 40’s)…she does knit fast, but seems pretty amazing.
    Kris

  62. My hairdresser has told me of his great aunt who knits a sock everyday, hasn’t bothered with a pattern for years. I can’t see why it wouldn’t be doable. I think a more accurate question maybe, how long could you go on knitting a sock a day before getting burned out?

  63. Ha! You are hardly a slacker!
    Weren’t all those stockings knit with heavier gauge yarn? So the number of stitches per inch were less than the 8 or 9 you’re getting? If you’re going to compare, it’s got to be apples-to-apples….

  64. historically speaking…we’re all slugs. when’s the last time one of us went off at 5am to plough the back 40? Heck, it just took me a week to knit a scarf. I figure on a modern knitterly scale…you’re somewhere between “freaking fast” and “can you even see the needles anymore? fast”.

  65. At the ripe old age of nine, I discovered that people in my neighbourhood would pay half-a-crown for a pair of socks. This became my first entrepreneurial endeavour. I knit a sock a day, and delivered them on Saturday. My mother disapproved.
    When I also discovered that neighbours would pay a similar amount for bundles of firewood – small pieces split from a log and used as fire starters -I was hooked. Mother was mortified.
    I know your socks are gifts, but if you should ever need another source of income – think about it!

  66. When I read your post yesterday, I did not think you were crazy. But with Christmas knitting coming up, you may end up in that crazy place if you combine a sock a day with Christmas knitting. I wish I could knit a sock a day or even 1/2 a sock. It takes me about 5-7 days for one sock. I am just not a fast knitter and spend too much time gazing admiringly at the sock in progress and the wonderful colors and rubbing the sock on my face to feel its softness. I really enjoyed the sock history lesson and plan on getting the books you cited out of the library. Fascinating

  67. Actually, in historical terms, I believe you would be a “slattern.” Also, I have no doubt in the force of your will as a means to accomplishing things (whatever the universe says about that).

  68. I don’t think you are nuts at all. I just envy the knitting time. I’m currently averaging about 2 inches on a sock per day, and I’m doing that while listening to my college professors lecture.

  69. I am impressed and bowled over. Both your knitting speed and your time management skills are first rate. Perhaps you could write a book on time mangagement. I am not being sarcastic but deadly serious. How wonderful to be able to accomplish the mundane household tasks that must be done but still have time and energy to indulge in more creative pursuits. Especially when those pursuits result in cherished and stylish garments. Also thanks for the book titles.

  70. The historical knitters would really only have been productive in daylight too – no flicking on the light switch when dusk falls. No doubt they would have worked by candlelight but that must have been a dreadful strain on the eyes. That said, saw an early 17th century needlework earlier in the year and the museum attendant handed me a huge magnifying glass. Without it the individual stitches were impossible to see they were so tiny. Perhaps these old craftswomen had so much nimbler fingers than we do now – old gloves are pretty tiny!
    As a slacker I stil am in awe of a pair of socks per day. A pair on one day perhaps but to sustain it takes patience and a certain strength of will.

  71. My grandfather tells of seeing girls as young as four sitting on doorsteps in Germany at the end of WWII–all knitting socks. He looks at my five-year-old daughter and says: I bet she could knit socks! Greta hasn’t quite figured out the knit stitch yet–I can’t imagine her knitting socks!

  72. Go for it! I’m working at about a sock a week pace, while being a full time college student and actress. But I’m getting faster!

  73. I should have come out to rally in support of your sock-a-day plan yesterday! I really don’t think knitting a sock a day is an outrageous goal at all. If I were a little less absent-minded (and a little faster at doing the household chores) I’d be knitting a whole sock every day myself.

  74. I too need to knit many socks before Christmas. However I also need to knit a skirt and 5 potholders. Anyhow, I think I can do it….
    My great grandmother had 12 siblings. The girls all knit socks for the family from a young age. They would knit the cuff and ankle then give it to their mother for the heel turning, then they would finish the foot.
    I hope I inherited her knitting genes. I think I have, I wonder if she put needles in my hands when I was a baby. πŸ™‚

  75. What I want to know is how you keep up with blogs while knitting a sock a day! Do you scroll with your toes while you read and knit?

  76. Stephanie, when I once confessed on a list I used to subscribe to that I had 31 pairs of socks in progress, I got 3 of those “you need psychiatric help, and you need it fast” notes. We know there’s nothing wrong with us, right?

  77. I so totally agree with you. It can definitely be done. And more actually, depending on how much else you really do need to accomplish during a day. I know, grant I have small feet, I can make a sock for me in about 5.5 hours of knitting time. Technically, I could make a pair in a day (and actually have but I cheated and used a sport weight yarn and was sick on the couch for the day). Sock on sister!

  78. Socks take me FOREVER and I don’t get it. Assuming I’m just knitting a pair of socks, then can take me a good 2 weeks or more! I’m not a speedy knitter or a slow one on other projects!
    Perhaps through some Star Trek logic of time space, you fast knitters have some device that is piggybacking on my sock knitting time. That’s why when I swear my sock has gained an inch, it’s really only a half of an inch.

  79. I don’t think you’re wrong or crazy, I think you’re inspirational. I think socks are magic – about the coolest thing there is to knit and I love that they’ve been in production by all kinds of people for for hundreds of years. I am on the slow side of slow and I am just envious of your speed. If I could knit one a day I would.

  80. Steph– I have to knit 1/2 a sock a day until Thanksgiving next week to give gifts to all the family members who are coming. I know what you’re up against.
    Also: I’ve been meaning to post this since your comments 2 days ago about not being hip enough for Knitty Gritty. I grew up in LA, so I suffer the same torment over my complete geekiness whenever I go back there to visit family. (It’s an affliction far less noticable in Portland, OR, where I live now.) And it’s true, you’re probably not as hip as the chicks on the show (they DO live in LA). But:
    1) They’re knitters. The rules of hipness are loosened for those who share giddy love of fibers.
    2) You are HILARIOUS!! (I was one of the women who nearly wet herself while watching your talk at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival last winter in Tacoma, so I know.) Hilarity is as a pass in Hollywood, you don’t actually have to be hip. Think of all the nerdy comedy writers, who get invited to chic parties anyway. ‘Cause they’re funny.
    You’ll be fine, socks or not!
    Elaine

  81. So, remind me of what size needles you use. On my US000’s, one sock takes about 28 hours. I could do it in less if I used size US5’s, but I wouldn’t want to wear them – gauze socks?!?

  82. I question my sanity, not yours. I want to quit my teaching job and stay home all day knitting.

  83. Good for you πŸ™‚ I once showed a pair of socks to a co-worker and she chided me, claiming that it was so much easier to just buy them. but I believe we knitters can agree that we don’t knit for the ease of it, we knit for the pleasure and the passion of it. If you want to knit a sock a day – by all means Stephanie – go for it, and I (as well as numerous others who read your literature) support you in your pursuit. I think it’s a beautiful thing that men and women alike through out history have turned out socks at such an amazing pace. It’s a testament to the will and ability of humans, and their nimble fingers. Looking forward to your future sock posts!

  84. I have been loving this, um… line of inquiry. I’ve been making socks for lots of loved ones this year, and people always ask me “how long does it take to knit a pair of socks?” I never had any idea until I recently took several months off work. All I have to do in a day is feed myself and three Irish Wolfhounds, and it seems like 3/4 of a sock is about my speed. No matter how many Turner Classic Movies I watch.

  85. How about factoring in that in the bygone days of the 16th century, people had skinnier legs and smaller feet. (Disease and lack of Flintstone vitamins would do that to a person.) People simply didn’t have the behemoth feet they do nowadays.

  86. Perspective is good. I was proud enough of myself for finishing my Olympic socks, but there’s nothing scary about knitting a sock a day. I can’t wait to see them all.

  87. Hey, if you can do 1 sock a day, I can finish 3 more afghans before Christmas, right? (actually 4, but I’m on the 24th of 25 blocks and I’ve been sewing up and hiding ends as I go, so the finish will be quick.)

  88. to Carina who asked where the mounds of socks were: I say the dryer ate them.
    Also, I don’t want to hear anyone complain about being a slacker. It takes me, on average, 6 months to complete a pair of adult socks. So comparatively, y’all are on speed specially formulated for knitters.

  89. How many socks could you have knit during all of that wasted time researching, reading and writing…? Yeah, I thought so.

  90. OH my goodness!!Apparently Dana has never worn hand knit wool socks or she would understand WHY we knit socks. I’m glad we are not living in the “olden days” but at the same time it seems like the faster we go the slower we get. I knew you could do it Stephanie –I just wondered where you found the time when you have so much on your platter,but another lady said about your shawl wedding and book book book book and it was clear to me that your waking hours are VERY productive. You keep right on multitasking and enjoying it all.

  91. If the yarn is a fun one to work with, making a nice pattern as it goes. And if the pattern is a simple one, then a sock a day is doable.
    But, it depends on how much else I have to do in that day πŸ™‚
    I’ve done a sock in a day before. Did a cuff in a day today.

  92. If your sock yarn stash begins to run low, and to assuage your fear of being called a slacker, let me know. I can help you out with the sock yarn, no one will be the wiser. Just return the completed socks to me in the provided SASE. No thanks needed. Always willing to help out a fellow knitter.

  93. BTW I love the “knit night” phrase. Can you come up with a good one for quilt night? Something clever and memorable that rolls right off the tongue?

  94. obviously, the poor soul who wrote and said you needed help is slightly of kilter. perhaps it is their own way of trying to feel better about not knitting to start with. s(he) needs help. i think help could possibly be found at any knitting store worth it’s weight in koigu.

  95. I am in awe. I find getting through a sock a week a bit of a challenge. Mind you, as my grandma says, it’s amazing what you can do when you have to.

  96. I totally trusted you, but didn’t post about it. So now I wish to join in the affirmation of your sanity. It never seemed unreasonable to me. And about the everyone saying you’re wrong thing, (I may be extreme here) but there is plenty of support for group mentality wrongness, (whatever that means) Everyone joins the club and soon they’re all saying you’re wrong even the little one in the corner who thinks you’re not, cuz well she’s little. I don’t know if I could do a sock a day myself or not. But it certainly seems as if, were I have to have a free day, I would be able to even though I”ve only started one sock and then ripped it out. So for you, an expert knitter, even with other stuff to do, I do not doubt it. And your examples just certify the whole thing (in a good way).

  97. Now you know that I am the last one to discourage anyone from their knitting. I am quite certain that you are historically and currently able to meet a “sock-a-day” goal. That being said, you have nothing else to do – like household, secular or marital obligations that will – most certainly – encroach on your time? This encroachment will likely be relative to your desire to stick to this goal.
    Just asking …

  98. I love this entire post. I’m lucky if I can knit a sock a month, myself. I continually marvel at your speed and the loveliness of the socks you produce! I think the only way I could do a sock a day would be to them in something heavier than worsted weight. πŸ˜€

  99. I must delurk to tell you that you inspire me. In addition to this, I thank you for the stomach-muscle toning you provided as I howled with laughter while reading this post.
    Excuse me while I go put on some handknit socks. I have two socks and two feet, so happily do not need to knit anymore today. Or even tomorrow, since I will be doing laundry tonight.

  100. If I wasn’t a single mom with a full time job, I’d be right there with you. As it is I’m getting out about 3 and 1/2 socks per week πŸ™‚
    So you go girl!

  101. I was 1/2 way through your post when I was thinking, “hey..didn’t I read some historical data about people cranking out more socks per day than I could even imagine because it was their livlihood??”…and then you finished that thought up for me but good.
    Funny thing is, weren’t they even working on something like US#000’s too??? Wild.

  102. Whoa, should someone send Dana one (1) sock? Then we could all listen to her beg for the other one?
    A sock a day? well, sure. I’ve many socks on the holiday knitting list and even though I’m not cranking out a sock a day I am managing a sock every 2 days…..when I’m knitting the socks, there are other items to be knit also.
    Oh what fun it is to………

  103. Ok, I’ve asked you before and I’ll ask it again. I really want to know how fast you knit, so how long does it take you to knit an average adult (your pattern) type of sock? In all the pairs I’ve done I think I average 4-5 hours per sock. –Carolyn

  104. Heck, I couldn’t walk and chew gum, let alone walk and knit. That means I waste a couple of hours a week of knitting time at the gym. Dang!
    If I do a sock a month I consider myself productive. A sock a day is homeric in my book.

  105. “Children as young as four were being taught to knit at this time in England, and certainly by the time that they were seven or eight they were expected to be making stockings in a way that contributed to the families income.”
    This may explain why my friend in Dublin has a dicken of a time finding decent yarn and why the present day population finds her interest in knitting “quaint”.

  106. Stephanie, of COURSE you can produce a sock a day and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you for thinking you can. I’ve been knitting for about 2 years (and knitting obsessed for about 2 years) and I turned my first pair of socks (albeit baby socks) in a weekend. I knitted my first pair of kid’s socks the next weekend. The wonderful thing about socks is they are incredibly portable, so you can knit AND “get out more” at the same time!
    Now, if you had said that your goal was to produce a sock an HOUR, I might of sent the ambulance to your house myself. πŸ™‚ Happy knitting!

  107. OK – I am trying to wrap my head around the sock-a-day concept… Stephanie, Babe, Doll, Queen of the Knitting Kingdom…
    You knit a sock a day, and yet – your traveling sock is the same sock you have been working on for many tours. (Unless you are working on the children, cousins, grandkids, nieces, and nephews of the original pair.)
    I hadn’t seen anyone write of this, and I know that I may be banned from your site – but I just had to address this. πŸ™‚

  108. Dude!
    I totally would be tossed out of the workforce. I can’t finish a sock in a week!
    Wel, I did once. I was newborn size.
    I just think you’re a superwomen. And that’s totally okay with me. πŸ™‚
    Knit on!

  109. My niece knits socks on the treadmill, while listening to audio tapes. She also weighs 110 pounds, is 34 and has naturally wavy, gorgeous red hair. I hate my niece.
    Don’t mind me if I don’t join you in this quest. I have enough problems

  110. Poor Dana. That’s not blasphemy, it’s ignorance. Forgive her, sockers, she knows not what she says. And which among us can cast the first stone? I sure can’t. I too once lived in darkness and Just Didn’t Get the sock thing. For all the same reasons, too. Then one day on a whim I cast on for a simple sock… and the glory and the glamour took hold… and I’ve hardly knitted anything else since. But I do clearly remember what pre-enlightened life was like. Sockiness can’t possibly be explained. It can only be experienced; and until it is it remains a mystery to the uninitiated. For Dana’s sake let us hope that her poor bare feet (and her needles) find the true socky path soon; until then, she has the strongest claims on our compassion.

  111. I agree that, if you are on the fast side of normal, you should be able to knit a sock a day if you put your mind to it. I am on the slow side of normal & think that I might be able to manage it if I could spend most of my waking time knitting. And you can knit while socializing with your family or doing laundry (after all it only involves using your hands to take the clothes out of the dryer & fold/hang them – not so much time). I too love Folk Socks & remember the gauge those 1595 knitters were knitting socks at was much finer than what we currently use – 10-15 st/in not the 6-8 most socks are knit at now.

  112. Hey, a sock a day makes perfect sense to me! I learned how to make them (from your pattern) at the end of May. At first I was slow (after all, I’d hardly knitted at all for many years!), but now in mid-November, I’m completing Pair# 17, and have about a dozen more pairs to make before Christmas. I think its all do-able, although many of my friends (while admiring and stroking the socks) are telling me I’m crazy & that I should have spent the money on “better” presents. Hmmph! You can bet those so-called friends aren’t getting socks for Christmas! They obviously haven’t learned that the Yarn Harlot Rules!!!

  113. CAN a person knit a sock a day? Sure. But…it it a sustainable activity–one that can be accomplished while still participating in other activities? I mean, people could practice the piano 10 hours a day, or garden for 10 hours a day or read a book a day–it’s all about priorities.
    On a smart-assy (or more smart-assy?) note, I have to say….how long did those servants knitting a pair of socks a day a couple hundred years ago live to be? That was a hell of a rough life and one that didn’t allow for much sleep. Not exactly what I’d choose πŸ˜‰ And the pic from Nancy’s book–c’mon Steph, that’s not really how you want to look while getting your laundry done, peat collected, and sock-a-day knit, right?

  114. I’m getting faster, but one sock a week is still my personal record. I absolutely think one sock a day is fantastic, and I aspire to knit that quickly one day!

  115. Way to paint the perspective. I know that I don’t work efficiently but that if I did, I could produce 1/2 sock a day. Perhaps more. I feel now as if I need to challenge myself. When I read Folk Socks I was blown away by the amount of knitting they did – especially without electric lights. Imagine the eye strain.
    Happy knitting. Keep showing the socks.
    By the way, does anyone know how to make the nice thick heel when knitting toe up? The skimpy heel makes me concerned about the life of my socks?

  116. Well, yes and no about being a slacker…do remember that there were a few things these people did not, as a rule, do as they churned out drawers full of socks:
    bathe
    groom
    clean their teeth
    clean clothes more often than once a week
    smile openly at their children
    play with them too
    study physics
    study math
    study languages
    write
    correspond (i.e., blog or e-mail)
    commute (unless on foot, where, yes, we too would knit)
    improve their vocabulary
    improve their grammar
    improve upon their skills (think about it–we all know at least four kinds of cast ons and a couple of techniques–how many of them knew the family sock and the family sweater, period the end?)
    politics of any sort (how many people, laboring away in their huts, got mowed down by the next rabid barbarian because they flat out didn’t know he was coming?)
    study history (even of their craft)
    administer 1st aid (how many people died of infection back then?)
    teach any subject
    administer any business
    conduct business (of any sort) on the phone while cooking dinner, feeding children and corresponding with husband via e-mail.
    weave stories on paper (electronic or othewise) that made their brethren weep or laugh out loud.
    dream.
    So, see–there is a trade off in slackerdom, here… we love the loop
    and the stick and the string,
    and even the dream of the stick and the string but the power of the stick and the string
    is the weaving it gives us to dream.

  117. Never believe what “they” tell you. I am counting on it not being true because I have to knit a sock a day to make my holiday deadlines and have a dear friend with a 11/21 birthday. I have a sock and a half done and I know I can do it even if I have to deliver the darn thing at the stroke of midnight!!!!

  118. My grandmother used to knit a sock in the evening. Like, after dinner was eaten, dishes done, kitchen cleaned up. My dad still talks about it.
    He also talks about the first time he wore store-bought socks. He was about 13 and *hated* them. He said that his feet ‘felt unprotected’. And I bet they were, too.
    My grandmother is 86 now and she still knits. She is slower now and hasn’t done socks in a long time but she still churns out dozens of sweaters each year. Lately, she’s taken to inviting me to come and knit with her. And that’s something.

  119. I think it depends on WHY you are knitting a sock a day. If you are doing this as a sneaky way of giving handknits to everybody on your yule list – well, you know my opinion of that of that. Putting insane pressure on yourself to knit for yule is not healthy.
    Now, if you are knitting a sock a day AND you are going to do your annual knitting guilt trip (remember – we all have read our way through your Christmas knitting) – I will happily consider you certifiable. But in a nice way.

  120. Stephanie, you know how much I love watching you work, but I’ve got my charity’s $45,000 fundraiser to plan, my winter clothes to redeploy, my husband to nag and socks to design on my knitting frame; I’m swamped.
    πŸ˜‰
    Do make sure to get some rest..If you havn’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything..

  121. Your research is compelling and thorough. Actually, it is ever so slightly disturbing that you should have to prove that being an adept and speedy knitter is not an illness. I am constantly on a quest to knit more efficiently, because there is so much I want (in addition to ought) to make. My in-laws (for one of whom I do not necessarily overflow with daughterly affection) have “ordered” a pair of socks each for Christmas – I would be ecstatic to be done by Monday!

  122. Right ON! And, many of the historical sock-a-dayers did it while walking. This is a cool thing because if you are in need of aerobic exercise or want to take walks with your main squeeze(s) you can keep knitting while walking. Easy to carry your yarn in a pocket, use a waist hook, or something that dangles from your wrist. How to get your daily exercise without stopping the knitting. More people should give it a try. Maybe you DO have to slow down long enough to pick up the gusset stitches, but not that long!
    Go girl! Linda “K”

  123. I was so freaked about cheese curds in Montreal (!) it never occured to me that a sock a day might be insane. Mostly because it isn’t. I don’t knit fast (being a thrower not a picker) and I can do a sock in one day, depending on gague.
    BTW, It still boggles my mind about squeeky cheese in Montreal.

  124. Wow. I find my brow is deeply furrowed with puzzlement over the way so many people seem to think it appropriate to dictate to you (or anyone) what is or is not reasonable and “right,” in the area of *sock knitting*. Gimme a break! Please tell me that my sense of humor is just not working right now, and these people are not serious. PLEASE.

  125. I’m trying to figure out where all those socks would *go*! Presumably, the women rather than the men would be knitting socks (at that era), so each woman would perhaps be knitting socks for both herself and the men and children… but did they wear out a sock a day???
    Yeah, and I’m working on the same pair for my sweetie since before Oct 29… turning the heels now, at least! (day job gets in the way)

  126. I read your post yesterday and saw the sock a day plan and thought it was totally doable. I’m an average speed knitter, and I have a 40 hour a week job. My goal is a pair a week until holiday time. So far so good for me, I know you’ll totally get yours done!

  127. OK…I stand corrected. It is not insanity for one to knit a sock a day…It is only insanity for me to attempt to do so. Perhaps after X-mas (or if I keep putting off making the socks for my boyfriend’s father) before Christmas I will attempt this feat of knitting wizardry. I will let you know how it goes (ergo, If you do not hear from me by December 25 to say the pirate socks I’m knitting for the man are finished assume I’m: a)a slacker, or b) in a nice soft room where they don’t allow me to knit or use the computer because I might injure myself. TTFN!

  128. Dude, if you’re a slacker, I’m hosed! I mean, sure, I only learned to knit just shy of 2 years ago, but I couldn’t get a sock done in a day if my life depended on it. Possibly because stockinette bores me and the complicated stuff takes me longer. πŸ™‚

  129. A sock a day is not unreasonable at all. I’m trying to do it with my eyes closed so that if I ever go blind I can still knit.

  130. For the record, I think you’re crazy. STILL, I remind myself that you are lucky enough to consider knitting (or at least writing about it) your job. Or one of them, at least. In any case, an idea for when you need a little less knitting in your day because something else came up? Worsted weight socks. I just finished a pair and boy, will it be hard to return to sock yarn!!!

  131. I wouldn’t doubt you for a moment. If you say sock-a-day, I know that’s what will be. And if by a slim chance you don’t produce that 1 sock on time? Will someone fire you or something? πŸ˜‰

  132. Of course it can be done! And if I had to make a list of people that I know who can do it, you’d be near the top. To hell with the naysayers! So… when is your first scheduled day off? πŸ˜‰
    ps. as Serendipity is a constant flirt of mine, a friend of Chris’s just got back from Wisconsin… with squeeky curds. πŸ˜€ Yay!

  133. Power to the knitterly Lost fans! I love me some knitting time with Desmond, brotha. πŸ˜‰
    As for a sock a day…I admire your ability to do it. So far, I can only do about a pair a week, even with Lost and M*A*S*H DVDs to watch while knitting!

  134. As some of the kids are still saying here in the states, “Aw, SNAP!” Next time someone says I should get professional help because of something I’ve decided to do, I’m gonna follow your lead and bust with the historical support for my plans.
    Just goes to show you, it never pays to diss the Harlot. She will cut you with the sharp edges of research. Cut you!
    Here’s to a sock a day!

  135. And then there’s the fact that these women knit in a finer gauge than we typically do, so in that light, our foremothers’ feats were even *more* impressive….

  136. You can add to your historical list that female slaves in the U.S. were expected to do all the spinning by candlelight after working in the fields all day. Can’t remember where I read this, but I think it was a reliable source.

  137. Love the socks! I am a novice sock knitter – having completed two pairs (one of which was for Sock Wars!) and have 1 odd one which needs a mate and another different one on the needles at present (plus very sore finger – never get this when doing “normal” knitting…).
    Do you know of a pattern for baby socks in the usual patterned yarn? I can only find DK patterns (I’m from the UK). Having knit the adult socks I find there is wool left over which would be cute in a baby size.
    Good luck with the project…

  138. I certainly think a sock a day is doable. Would that I had anything other than 2 hours in the evening to do it. I can do a sock in a week, taking about 8-10 hours. I would go a little batty, though, if all I had to knit was socks. The women you mentioned also died at a comparably young age, I think from being worked to death.

  139. There is NOTHING wrong with thinking that you can knit a sock a day. There is NOTHING wrong with actually getting it done either! I knit a pair of socks in 18 hours. Once. I doubt it’ll happen again unless I totally get behind in Christmas knitting.

  140. Hmm . . . my pair a month, or so, clearly wouldn’t impress any of my ancestors . . . and somehow, I don’t think they’d be impressed with the number of books I read each month!

  141. Gee, I would never dream you couldn’t whip up a sock a day or more than that, plus share it on the blog (photos and all). Thank you for the historical information. Thank you for your moral commitment and great mix of brains and passion. (I must say it read like a classy well-aimed spiritual papercut. Sssssssssssst to ye who dared diss.)
    Cecilia

  142. You go, girl. Isn’t it great to shut down a bunch of naysayers with good, solidly researched truth? I feel like I should invent a “Knitter’s Dance of Joy” for just this moment. :o)
    Knit on!

  143. In Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book – Rilla of Ingleside, she talks of the women of the village knitting socks for the soldiers of World War 1. Susan – Anne Blythe’s housekeeper – notes that one sock a day was her goal. She comments that a neighbour knits a pair a day, but that’s all she had to do all day – I think the neighbour was ninety or something.
    Totally feasible. I can knit a sock on a flight to Calgary (including the wait at the airport). You go, girl.

  144. I find it fascinating that Renee up near the top thinks that there weren’t as many things competing for people’s free time back in the Olden Days.
    Free time was probably not much of a concept except to the very wealthy who had people to work for them 24/7. Otherwise, they were harvesting and pounding flour and cooking and preserving and keeping fires going and collecting water and washing and wringing and hanging and ironing laundry, and who knows what else. I don’t think they had the kind of free time many of us enjoy.

  145. I have a question – I’m sure you’ve answered this before, but I’ve never seen it, and I forgot to ask when you were here – Pick or throw?

  146. My husband’s grandmother was expected — by the age of seven — to knit all the socks for her family of six. As you point out, she did it by multi-tasking … her hands were simply never, ever still.
    Mind you, she grew to loathe it. She’d be amazed at the fact that I knit socks for entertainment. But given the number of socks she knit during her childhood, I’m inclined to cut her some slack.

  147. So you’ve proven than a sock a day can be done, but I still don’t believe it. Considering that I have zero children and purposely buy so much clothing that washing only happens once a month (I AM the All-American Girl), and I basically live on restaurant food…even with all of that on my side, I could never knit a sock a day, no matter what. I can’t even fathom it.

  148. Girlfriend, you totally rock! Not a slacker, oh no. I wish I had your speed, and I know you will do it.

  149. You go girl! It IS totally do-able, having done it myself…once upon a time. No, it doesn’t require warping time,cloning yourself or *gasp* chocolate, just …dedication to the task. Ok, it was worsted weight but the sock did have toes (big mistake with worsted yarn – Hindsight speaking here).
    I’ve read “pickers” are faster than “throwers” – does anyone know if this is true?
    WHEN you do it, please post pix – you inspire us all! πŸ™‚

  150. The plan doesn’t seem unreasonable.
    Sadly, I decided to learn double knitting my doing socks at once on DPNs; I hope to be finished with the pair by early June.

  151. I am a total history geek and I’ve been nosing around my university library trying to sniff out a little about the history of knitting myself (btw, Folk Socks really is one of the best books I have ever come across)
    I am completely tickled to see someone publicly discussing the history of knitting and even using it as a main point of argument in a discussion of their sanity. That being said, I must politely ask you to “QUIT IT!!!” You’re making me feel like a complete slacker as well!

  152. I wonder if a stocking is more like two socks, as there are no heels and toes to mess with in the upper part…. Heels and toes surely slow me down, but then my entire sock oevre is four (4) pairs.
    Here is an idea I unvented — you are the perfect person to ask if “everyone does this and no one told me,” or if it is uncommon.
    I thought — “We want the knitting of the foot of a sock to be nice and tight, so it lasts longer. But what about the upper part of the sock? Why not knit it on bigger needles?”
    I tried this with the pair I finished yesterday. I have been knitting socks toe-up, so when I got to the place where I need to increase after the ankle, I increased a needle size, and after a bit, I increased another size. I stopped with two, but I suppose one could go higher, though at some point it would be obvious what one was doing….
    I hope to learn if this is S.O.P. for a lot of sock knitters, or, if it’s a dumb idea, why.

  153. *Big smile* what a fabulous historical overview… and deeply entertaining comments as well. I do actually know that knitting a sock in a day is possible. I have done so in the past week (ok, it was an anklet, but I was still impressed with myself). If anyone can do this you can. I just know that I would break down by day three or four and break into spontaneous hats, sweaters, or scarves. I think I am just not focused enough to do similar knitting work so intensely day after day. I hope we will get to see the spread of socks when you finish!
    Good luck!

  154. It’s a Harlot fit of pique! My laugh muscles enjoyed it! And you were quite entitled to throw a fit of pique.
    On the sock a day thing? You and Tyne Daly are probably the only knitters that can knit w/o looking at what your hands are doing w/the yarn. While I would greatly enjoy being able to knit while watching any DVD, I spend more time looking at my knitting, to make sure I don’t make a mistake. I bet those ladies of yestersocks could knit with or without candle light.
    If you’re crazy, the rest of the world should be as crazy.

  155. Oh my yes. You are SUCH a slacker. It is a documented fact.
    Ow. I think I just poked a hole through my cheek with my tongue.
    I know the sock-a-day is possible. It has to be, because otherwise, how am I to explain being able to whump out a pair in a “mostly free” weekend? I’m pretty sure elves didn’t come in the night to finish them…so rather than bag on you, I’ll just be one of your many cheerleaders, ‘kay? πŸ™‚

  156. Obviously you’ve done your homework for sure but I have one point of dissention if I may. Nutrition being what it was back then, weren’t most of these people under 5 and a half feet tall (sorry, I don’t speak metric) or so? If I didn’t have to knit for 6 foot tall people, I would probably be able to make a stocking a day too! That being said, I’ll definitely be cheering you on in your quest for a sock (or more) a day. πŸ™‚

  157. I’m doing a hat a day ( sometimes days without a hat, sometimes days with two or three) for Rabbitch’s hat drive – one for each day in November….seems reasonable to me to do a sock a day if not on teeny tiny needles.
    And i also have a life and i can knit to fill up waiting times or watching tv ( which is otherwise unproductive)
    knit on πŸ™‚

  158. Someone seriously writing you to say you have a problem? Good grief, whatever happened to A) having a sense of humor; B) minding your own business (this is different from friendly teasing in comments; trying an intervention is over the line); and C) actually reading to comprehend and note that (if I read yesterday’s post correctly) you’re doing this for a TV appearance, and knitting/writing is your work? Aside from the fact that you love it.
    Oy gevalt. I thought it was bad enough with people who thought *I* was nuts for cooking dinner – or eating it – with a book in hand. [g] I get really annoyed with people like that. As you say, Stephanie: Obsession is normal!
    Lisa G, you’re right re not knowing until you knit a sock. I thought sock knitters were crazy, too, until I got sockBorged just a few months ago. (Yeesh, only 2 months, actually, after I saw Steph in Portland. Thanks again, Stephanie!) Now I’m converted. Only last weekend I had 4 people staring at me with a wild gleam in their eyes as I started a cuff for a second pair, while my brother tried on one from the first pair to see how it fit. (almost done, just the toe, then on to its mate. I’m still slow, LOL.) Everyone else was practically salivating in envy as he enthused. πŸ˜‰ I’m gonna need to get more feet measured. Socks are fun! Not to mention if you make ’em yourself, the suckers actually *fit*. That alone makes hand-knit socks worth their weight in diamonds. Sock on!

  159. I’ll just be happy to get 3 pairs of socks and a set of mitts done in time for Christmas.
    Can’t get started until after next week though, the show I’m working on has sucked out my brain. (Beauty and the Beast sure has lots of fun stuff to build!)

  160. Don’t feel like you need to justify yourself to us. Think how many of us participated in the Knitting Olympics last February! I for one cranked out a sleeve and a half, *and* seamed the whole sweater during the last day of it. Also, I’m involved in NaNoWriMo (add .org to the end of that for the website), and just banged out 5,000 words of my novel yesterday as I’d fallen… a bit behind. So don’t worry about your insanity level. You’re in good company.

  161. I am not a fast knitter and I’ve never tried to be because I knit purely for enjoyment. But once when Christmas was looming, I managed to knit a pair of adult socks in 3 days. So I don’t see any problem for a fast knitter like you to do a sock a day. Of course, depending on how long you plan to do this, it could become a real chore.
    I’ve read about how many items knitters produced in days gone by both in the books you mentioned and in others like Women’s Work: the first 20,000 years and No Idle Hands. The amount of things they produced in a short time just boggles the mind. I do wonder how many of them enjoyed knitting though and I’m glad that I can knit in my own time, just for fun.

  162. You GO! It makes me so mad when people try to tell someone they can’t or shouldn’t do something. You know, if you want to do it, DO IT! I’m proud of you for giving them what for and I like your research (I’ve read all these books by the way, makes me feel like a respectable knitter now that I can see I have the same interest in knitting history as the Yarn Harlot!) I’m going to try to get more focused on the multi-tasking front now and get more knitting done!
    Jen aka socknitster

  163. Yes, I’ve done a sock in a day (actually two socks in two days, twice!)- but it was on a day that I did very little else…. I did manage to care for my critters and feed myself during that day, however.

  164. If knitting tiny gauge stockings was my steady source of cash income, I’d be pretty darned productive too. With my eyes shut in the dark this time of year. As it is, I too am a slacker, and much more of a slacker than you!

  165. I think you’ve got a great idea. What are you going to do with all of the knitted socks once you’re done with the show? I think if some of them are Xmas gifts you’re killing 2 birds with one stone. Hand knit socks are a treasure.

  166. Great research! And fast as well! Guess that’s why that sock-a-day thing is working for you!
    ….but that still doesn’t satisfy my curiosity about the squeeky cheese thing….Yes, I know I could look it up somewhere, but I’m slow and lazy–I’d rather hear what it is that YOU like about it so much! I’ll have to ask my Canadian husband if he is acquainted with this cheese product…:)

  167. When I am on top of my game….no other pressing knitting projects (like the shawl I need to have knitted, blocked and ready to by auctioned off by November 28th), I can crank out a pair of socks a week. IF I don’t have any other knitting to do, and still have my usual daily stuff to get done. And I multi-task my little fanny off! Steph, since I know that you are a far superior knitter (in speed and quality), I didn’t think the sock a day thing was so far fetched. My question is, where does your holiday knitting fit in to this plan?

  168. Ok, so say you are sitting on a plane or in an airport or combination of the two(and we all know you do that from time to time) and you manage to get a whole pair of socks done in that entire amount of time (the waiting in the airport and on the plane) – that would be on the way to whereever you are going. Then, on your way back a couple days later (same week) you manage to get another pair done (same thing, the waiting at airport and sitting on the plane)…does that then mean that you will have extra time at the end of the week to urge whomever it is that books your schedules and where you do your speaking engagements to book you for some engagements down in Eastern Canada?

  169. I am not fast, but I did knit one in 13 hours while in the ER. They moved the IV for me so I could use my hand, and away I went! What else was there to do? At least I had a sock to show for 13 hours, beside needle holes! Tell whoever wrote that that THEY need to really R.E.A.D. your blog, and THEY have the problem, not you or us…..

  170. Hi everyone, I do not understand what is the big fuss about knitting a sock a day. I am from Hungary (almost everybody knits there), I learned to knit when I was 9, and I can knit a sleeve a day if I want to.
    Stephanie, do you roll (or gather) the yarn on your left index finger, to speed up the knitting?

  171. historically speaking, we’re all slackers.. none.. or very few of us have to feed the cows milk the cows feed the chickens gather the eggs make the butter make the bread sweep the yard kill the chicken dig the vegetables pluck the chicken chop up the chicken chop up the vegetables start the stew before we sit down to knit.. and still knit.. what’d you say, 2 pairs of stockings or more a week.. sheesh.. and thank goodness. πŸ™‚
    I can keep a 3 socks/week pace going though.. πŸ™‚

  172. Okay, I can make a sock in an evening, but I have a circular sock knitting machine, which is really fast. Otherwise it would take me a week to finish one sock. And two weeks at least for the second one, because second sock syndrome always sets in. However, even though I use my machine, I still believe that hand knitting is all about taking time and care to make beautiful garments. And so I always hand knit the toes, and I look forward to when I’ll have more time for hand knitting.

  173. So how does this trade sound..a pair of gorgeous,coveted Stephanie hand knit socks for… kickinghorse coffee ?

  174. I’m a total slacker. I haven’t even finished my first pair (ever) and I cast on.. *looks at blog* darn near a month ago.
    Hat’s off to you!

  175. I think my hands would drop off if I knitted a fingering weight sock a day! But I have knitted a DK weight sock in a day. Is that cheating?
    You go, girl!

  176. Well, not crazy for deciding to knit a sock a day, I’d never ever say that. It’s ambitious. Just think of it as an excercise in perseverence when you eat, sleep, and dream socks and you’re so sick of socks that you’d rather go barefoot in February than look at another sock for at least a month!!! ( I know as for me, I manage a sock a month. ) Keep us posted. Hey! you should make a little tally marker so we can all be even more in awe of you than we ever thought possible! You totally amaze me! We should all be so ambitious.

  177. Was the person serious or teasing about the whole “get out more” thing? I think that’s kind of sad. I’m sure it’s been said before but hey, if you want to set a sock production goal for yourself, that is basically your own business (even if you do mention it on the web). My first pair of socks took 7 months (second sock syndrome) and I’ve still not re-cast-on the cursed sock yarn. Needless to say the sock-a-day basically blows my flippin’ mind.

  178. Yeah, but these folks died at like, 40. Probably killed by all the socks they had to do.
    I have done two pairs in 4 days so I have achieved the sock a day goal.

  179. Lost on DVD would certainly speed up my knitting!
    This morning, my 3 year old son (the one who, at the book signing in Granby, CT, thrust my book at you while spelling his name) woke me up by jumping up and down on my bed declaring to all who could hear: “today, we’re going to see the Yarn Harlot!” He was quite put out when informed he would NOT be seeing the Yarn Harlot today. There’s hope for him yet!!

  180. Having just finished half a sock on the (two-hour) bus ride home, all I can say is amen, sister.
    Perhaps we’re all underachievers after all?
    I mean, really – we have light bulbs, indoor heating that doesn’t usually require chopping wood…
    Thanks for putting a little fire under my sock machine!
    (Off to finish my second pair of Rock and Weave socks – these I get to keep!)
    Karen Alfke

  181. I’m curious to know exactly how long one sock takes you to do. Maybe you can establish a standard for the rest of us…like you know, the four minute mile…

  182. I have to laugh, because I’ve spent the last two weeks knitting like a fiend while watching Seasons 1 and 2 (and what’s available online of 3) of Lost. πŸ™‚

  183. Yes, but there feet were smaller back then! People were at least a foot shorter on average and that means much smaller feet and therefore a smaller sock. Don’t forget, 30% of statistics are fabricated.

  184. When I knit a pair of socks in only a month, I thought I was getting good. If you can do a sock a day, allow me to cheer you on! I’ll be the slacker in the back doing the Cabbage Patch for you.

  185. Do you ever long for the days when you were looked at as a nut for not knitting while you were walking down the street instead of vice-versa? My husband mocks me for bringing my knitting with me when we go out. I am going to try to bribe him with a pair of dress socks and see if that changes his opinion of knitting.

  186. My husband and I were on a walk downtown last night. We passed a store that sold needlecraft supplies and he asked me if I wanted to go in. I looked at him like he was nuts, and HE said “oh right, you just read about knitting, you don’t actually do it.” Apparently, I am a slacker.

  187. Hon, if you want to knit a sock a day – go for it. Seeing as how I only have 17 months of knitting experience and I have only today completed my first sock (immediately cast on the next to avoid SSS) I can only hope for the day I can accomplish such. Wool socks are not really needed down here, but I am trying my hand at Magic Stripes. It looks like it would fit Hagrid, and I don’t think I have enough yarn left for the next, but at least I finally did it. Since reading your blog, I have become obsessed with the idea of knitting socks and can’t wait to keep it going…
    Proud to say I was caught KIP at Parent / Teacher conferences tonight. Six hours in one spot and I only finished the cuff and moved to the leg. One step at a time.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  188. If you are a slacker, then my English definitely isn’t good enough to qualify what *I* am… But yeah, I’m with you on some sort of tendency towards slackness(?) considering things from the historical point of view. Actually, we don’t even have to look very far back: my mom says she can’t accomplish even a tiny portion of what her mom used to do (and still does), and I myself can’t achieve more than a very small percentage of what mom does. Probably a good thing I’m not having children: can’t imagine what kind of slackers they’d have to be to accomplish less than I do! (Well, might be that my chronic fatigue syndrom doesn’t help much, but still…)
    And by the way, it was great meeting you in MontrΓ©al last Friday! But those pictures taken at CBC? Seeing them reminds me that it still hurts a little bit to know I was working in the office next door at that time and didn’t feel your presence… I’ll have to work on improving my Yarn Harlot sensor so that I can do better next time!

  189. A sock a day is awesome (and totally do-able)! This is exactly what I love about knitting.. in a hectic day, even one small idle moment allows me time to do my one of my favorite things and unwind a bit. Adding this creative activity to my other daily work gives me sanity.
    Is Lost good? I tried to knit through 24 but it was too intense.
    Glad your tours are going so well! Wish you would come to Atlanta!!

  190. My father swears that when he was a school child in Ireland, the wife of their tenant farmer would measure his feet in the morning and present him with a pair of new socks by the time he came home from school.
    When I questioned him as to whether maybe she had gotten a head start, he said no. He brought the wool for the socks with him in the morning.

  191. A sock a day can be done, but remember, those long stockings were knitted during an _18-hour_ day, and people knitted by touch in the dark or by dim firelight. The tiny gauges were knitted by professional Guild knitters; the ordinary “coarse” stockings were worked at a normal gauge on the equivalent of modern US size 1 needles.
    The tens of thousands of stockings that were sold and exported were bought by all the people who didn’t knit their own.
    Also, you have to be wary of 19th century and early 20th century writers who want to emphasize the amazing productivity of the holy ancestors at the cost of the self-esteem of the despicable moderns. The stories are copied and exaggerated, until an original “possibly even as much as x stitches per minute” becomes an absolute “x stitches and more per minute” and everybody makes the same claim. What someone was “expected” to do is not necessarily what anyone actually achieved.
    Most of the places where knitting was the work of the desperately poor at starvation wages are now places where almost nobody knits for pleasure.
    So knit on, but at your own pace, for your own purposes.

  192. I am totally 100% INFURIATED that someone would dare come on your blog and then basically tell you to go get a life. HOW DARE THEY??????? They need to be stoned with bulky weight angora wool until they CHOKE!!!! There. I feel better now. I can go back to my needles.

  193. I agree. You need to get out more. I have my reasons and they are as follows: 1. You have not reached San Diego, CA. 2. Knitting in the sun helps provide vitamin D 3. “fresh” air is good for the mind and body, like knitting. 4. Knitting while outside is very interesting, and you can even out your tan while you’re at it.

  194. Sock on! I had a similar train of thought today while running errands with my three young children–I impressed a friend’s husband by taking them all to the grocery store. But I started thinking, you know, keeping house with three young kids today is maybe one tenth of what it used to be. Now, killing, harvesting, & cooking dinner, cleaning laundry in the stream, carding, spinning & knitting a pair of socks, and caring for a brood of 5 or more is worth being impressed over. (How ever did we get labled ‘the weaker sex’?)

  195. I am wondering why you need to have so many pair of finished socks. Aren’t you showing technique on Knitty Gritty? So a finished pair, and then a different sock in each stage of sock life?
    Unless you’re knitting them for me. Which is absolutely fabulous of you darling! I wear a size 8. Two socks for me, two beers for you. I think that’s fair. Yarn crawling and hair doing for free…

  196. Alas, sock knitting is still a target of derision among some. In the mid 1980’s, a year before she died, my grandmother asked me what I would like her to knit for me. I asked for a lovely pair of warm socks. Well, she knit them in about two days but made it clear that I was assigning her a torture. Her daughter, my aunt, still has unpleasant memories of being made to knit socks at six years old. I on the other hand, always have a pair on the go. For me, a sock a day would be hard unless I could somehow do it at work…I think that after a while I might find it a chore…well, to each her own! Actually – this could really get you ahead of the game for Xmas!

  197. Well, personally I am a much slower knitter, wish I were faster and it may happen some day. I enjoy, nay, relish watching the stitches form and the sock slowly grow. Seems to fly until you turn the heel and you go on and on and on and on ad infinitum. Until you go, “holy shit!” I better start the toe or grow a longer foot.
    I think Carina is right, there in the early middle ages is the black hole that socks fall into and it continues until this day and far into the future. Personally, I think they go into a worm hole. Where it starts from the washing machine, dryer, bucket or rock on a river bank. What the hell happens to this stuff? Why do I only have one sock, WHEN I KNOW I PUT BOTH OF THEM IN THERE??
    I can’t say that I can’t knit because I am too busy, every era has it’s own business and stress. I think it boils down to make some money or we don’t eat. People used to tell stories at night, make music, visit with each other plenty of time for “doing” even if the only light was from the fire burning in the hearth. A lot more could be expected of kids and they would do it because it was expected and they did it, but a completely different topic and altogether too controversial.
    Life wasn’t instantaneous, it took time. Most people never made it far from there local village or farms. In a way much slower paced compared to today, but just as hectic to them as our lives are to us now.
    Wanda

  198. Well, I wasn’t really fazed by your sock-a-day plan, but Dana’s plan to *never* knit socks just took my breath away. I can’t imagine it! The creativity, the fun of giving them away, the luscious feel of them on the feet, the involved plans for the next pair…wait, is that a man in a white coat I see approaching?
    To those who want to know what our forebears did with all those zillion socks–they sold them. There were no sock factories during the Renaissance. And as you rightly point out, they were really knitting stockings. The folks may have been short, but they wore their socks above the knee and knit at an insanely fine gauge. Guess they didn’t live long enough to get carpal tunnel syndrome though.
    Anyway, sock on, dear Harlot!

  199. Wow. I bow down before you, never mind historical knitters. I won’t tell you how long it takes me to make a pair of socks, because I embarrassed now, but I’m going to try to slack less.

  200. Not at all fazed by the idea of knitting a sock a day. Then again, you should see my Christmas knitting list. I NEED to believe that you can knit a sock a day. Otherwise there is no hope for me.
    (PS, my gram knits her socks at the same time on the same set of DPNs. Its a very clever but simple trick, and the ultimate way to combat second sock syndrome!).

  201. Of course you can knit a sock a day. You’re doing it. You’re uncommonly quick. The doubters don’t understand.

  202. Clearly the complainant was a non-knitting muggle, who no doubt fancied himself clever.
    He doesn’t have a clue, but we do.
    I’m in awe of the production knitters of old who walked around constantly with fine-gauge work and did it in the dark as well. I have always suspected that it was during the hours between dinner and bedtime, when it was too dark to perform most other chores, that a great deal of production knitting was accomplished by our ancestors as they sat and knitted by the dim light of a peat fire.
    In fact, this is where we get the word “clue.” A “clue” was a dried goose esophagus into which a few pebbles were inserted. Around this clue, one wound one’s yarn into a ball. If the yarn was dropped in the darkness, the knitter could find the ball by tugging on the yarn and listening for the “clue” to rattle, thus revealing the location of the ball of yarn.
    Source: “Women’s Work: the First 20,000 Years.”
    You go, girl. But I do wish you would get out more, and come down our way. I’ll even cook Cajun for ya.
    Dez

  203. If you are a slacker, then I am a freakin’ sloth, because I turn out a pair of socks every two weeks, and that’s with knitting everywhere I go, and only working on the socks. Granted, I am still new at the sock thing, but I am not new so much to knitting in general, so…really, I’m a sloth.
    Those women of ancient times must have been the old-days precursor to the FemBot, is what I am thinking. They couldn’t have possibly been human.

  204. You knit what you want, when you want, at the speed you prefer. Ignore other opinions. And realize that the vast majority of us are insanely jealous of your speed, skill and massive ability to multitask. I want to be you when I grow up!

  205. Get out more!!! You get out and about more than anyone I know and good for you, you are great and a sock a day is a great accomplishment for you and I know you can do it. You always do it. Great books and great knitting. I admire you immensely.

  206. And there’s a reason that the average woman’s life expectancy was 27 until the turn of this century. Eating, sleeping, and getting out in the sun really help with that longevity thing…

  207. Er… I believe the “clue” or “clew” is the actual ball of yarn. The gooseneck with pebbles in it is the “throstle”. When Ariadne gave Perseus a ball of thread to track his way through the maze, it was a clue…

  208. That’s telling them.
    I tried walking and knitting on my lunch this week. It was an idle experiment in that I could do neither proficiently. I walked slower than normal and I knit slower than normal. Yes it was a sock, but my yarn was splitty and that slowed me down.
    Also, I had my yarn slung in a bag from my shoulder and it slipped a bit so the effort of keeping it up there started to get uncomfortable. But I don’t think the lady almost bent double had a chance to complain about her burden. Truly, we are the idle rich in comparison.

  209. I’ve got Nancy Bush’s book Knitting Vintage Socks but I’ve never done anything more than read the text and marvel at the beautiful patterns. Why? Because unless I import the needles from abroad somewhere there is no way I can obtain 1.5 and 1.75mm needles in the UK including from any of my usual internet sites. I’m now itching to start though and begin trawling the net!

  210. I knew you could do it! I knew only because I, having never knit a sock before, started working on my first (admittedly somewhat short, and worsted weight) top-down sock and was at the heel within an hour or so. I’m just about to try that again because I think I may have finally worked out turning the heel. (My problem was that the pattern instructed me to pick up x number of stitches, but I wound up with more than that because I thought I was supposed to pick up in every stitch that was there. Now I realize that that’s not necessarily the goal…so I may have to try to make myself a pair of socks soon. πŸ™‚

  211. I feel a little insignificant, like a tiny drop in the ocean of your fans and audience, but I must join in with the hundreds of others that are loudly protesting the thought that you may be on the brink of insanity. I think that there is much too stress on the notion of “getting out” “widening our horizons” and such. Society today is so caught up with being EVERYWHERE and experiencing EVERYTHING that we never become good or proficient at ANYTHING. I wonder if Bach’s or Mozart’s friends told them that they need to get out more…. And if they did and he listened, I doubt we would have their music to inspire and lift us up today. Now, one may say that I’m exsagurating, but I’m sure that your other hundreds of fans will agree that you are an inspiration to many.. Get out more? I can say honestly that I do not know anybody who travels and “gets out more” than you seem to do. P.S. How DO you knit for such long hours? My knuckles and joints are killing me! D.S. /Yet another fan, Dorothea of Sweden

  212. Sock a day is totally possible. In fact I knit to the heel on a sock just Sunday afternoon. As for Sally who is collecting sock patterns, cast one on girl, you will never understand a heel unless you actually Knit One!
    Viki

  213. Of course you can knit a sock a day! After supper last night I nearly completed and purse (Mason-Dixon Knitting Buttonhole purse). A sock should be just as easy if you start before 3 p.m.
    Not to be boring or a copy cat “You are my hero!” I dream of quiting my part-time day job to stay at home and knit, so until then, I must stay organized (just don’t look at in the bathroom/bedroom/office/studio/garage/barn).
    Knit On!

  214. Judging from history, I think I would have been sent to forage for food in the streets. There’s no way I can knit a sock in a day – unless it was knit with Bulky weight wool!

  215. my standard is a sock a day. those around me will attest to it. there is, imho, nothing insane about a sock a day program. It’s not only doable, it’s normal and rational.

  216. So what you’re saying is… “niener, niener, nieener!!” πŸ˜‰
    Don’t worry Steph, I have faith in you. If you say you will knit a sock a day, then by God, who are we to doubt you? All hail the Mighty Harlot!

  217. From what I’ve seen on this blog, I have no doubt you can knit a sock a day. I can knit a mitten a day, which is not quite as impressive but when someone’s hands are cold and they’re waiting for those mittens, it’s pretty cool.
    I enjoyed the history lesson. I actually have those books, along with one called No Idle Hands (The Social History of Knitting in America) by Anne MacDonald. It’s a fascinating book. I highly recommend it (which might be helpful to those who actually read all the way down to the bottom of these comments).

  218. Justification and rationalization are powerful tools in the arsenal of the insane.
    Of course, just because you’re crazy, doesn’t mean you can’t knit a sock a day! In fact, I’d venture to say that it’s only because you are crazy that you can even utter the words, “knit a sock a day.” Much less enact them.
    Me, I’ll keep knitting on the Stupid Baby Sweater That Will Never Ever Ever Ever Be Finished And What Was I Thinking Anyway.
    Maybe I should switch to socks.

  219. You can do a sock a day… after all, you ARE the HARLOT!!
    Plus, you’ve completely convinced me that my love of socks is not out of the ordinary, and if I want to spend days, weeks or months at a time, knitting nothing but socks, then so be it. There is nothing odd about me. ahhh, freedom! ;o)

  220. For the first two seasons of LOST, I was unable to knit through the episode. Just.too.intense. I’ve been a hardcore fan since the pilot, but so far this season they’ve lost me.. I think the writers have lost their edge (combine that with the three month “hiatus”.. blech, I’m not very happy with the writers and producers right now!)
    If you want to try something new.. Get the season one discs of the show Weeds from Showtime. Excellent show. Season two won’t be available on disc until next summer I imagine, but you could always find them on iTunes (and season two was *incredible*) Suspense, drama, and the best comedy I’ve seen so far in my life!
    Sock a day.. now thats a challenge. I’m lucky if I can finish a sock a month πŸ™‚

  221. a sock a day sounds like a resonable goal – as reasonable as my goal of finding a career that will allow me to knit more – teaching leaves little time for fiber

  222. a sock a day sounds like a resonable goal – as reasonable as my goal of finding a career that will allow me to knit more – teaching leaves little time for fiber

  223. Slacker?? you? HA!
    I can do a sock a day if I am recovering from pneumonia and relieved of all of my other duties…sock a week is good for me!!! maybe sock a month..lately, sock a quarter!(But I have made three sweaters!!)
    I will seriously meditate for that poor, misguided soul who thought you needed correction.what do the shrinks call it? transference?
    The next time you “don’t get out enough,” come to New Mexico!!!!!!!

  224. If Rams gets a t-shirt with ‘On the Quick side of Normal’, may I have one with ‘Apparently my relationship with reality is loose’ please? I do like that phrase.

  225. Hey. Go for it. Prove everyone wrong.
    And “bouncer” is “videur”. Or if you’re part of the jet set, you’d say “physionomiste”. I knew it would come to me eventually.

  226. I just started knitting socks and it takes me about 2 weeks to produce a pair so I am in awe of anyone who can produce a sock a day – gives me something to aspire to πŸ™‚

  227. Amazing research! I assume you did this research while knitting. Ever try driving and knitting?

  228. I love how you put the whole argument into a historical context! As long as it doesn’t interfere with your normal life, I don’t see what’s wrong with the idea. Alyssa in my SNB group knit 12 socks in July, plus a couple of sweaters, and she was able to hold down a regular job and socialize during that time. And judging from your blog, it looks like you get out plenty!

  229. Merci, Stephanie! A little history lesson – I mentioned (late last night after everyone else here was well a-bed) that in the 18th century, the family 4-year-olds often knitted the family socks, probably two pair a week. T’wasn’t that they were wearing them out fast (although believe me, sabots are hard on wool socks); families might be large. The other thing: as a living history interpreter I’ve learned that knitting was done on “knitting pins” – they were steel, even in the 18th century, and size 000 was “large”; they really were like “pins”. I have some knitting pins – so far, for ornamental purposes only. One day I’ll try ’em…. And I could never knit a sock while watching a DVD, but the middle parts of toques? Yep, excellent way to watch movies, scenery, even read a propped-up book. I’m not a very clever knitter but I love the tactile sensation and my toques, albeit pretty mindless, are very satisfying to me. (Note: I have one sock, two scarves, a wrist-warmer and cat toy each “on the needles” too. Still trying to figure out a way to forego sleep, just think of all I could get done!) :o)

  230. why bother what another one thinks??
    Pff just go and knit your socks.
    I can knit a sock a day and sometimes it’s so busy i can’t knit a half sock in a month…so what the heck???
    If your goal is to knit a sock a day, go for it girl and i love reading everything about the history.
    Always learning about everything that’s what i always enjoy.
    Perhaps other ones need to learn too?? just learn from others and have no judgement??
    Take care steph.
    love.
    Valeria.

  231. For the record, I was not one of the people who told you you were crazy….I simply thought that having your children and husband help you knit lots of socks would be nice….you could even call it “family bonding time.”
    I wouldn’t feel so bad about people thinking you’re crazy for the sock-a-day idea(particularly the non-knitter who sent you a note questioning your sanity). My husband and I were waiting to pick up some photos two days ago and I (as any good Icelandic servant girl would have) had brought my sock to work on while we were waiting. A woman we knew asked me what I was doing. I very proudly told her I was knitting a sock (this is the second sock of my first pair of socks (and also my first DPN project) which I figured out how to do from reading a book…so I’m very proud of my sock).
    (see: http://blog.myspace.com/princesscarissa )
    Anyway, after I had told her what I was knitting, she looked at me like I had two heads and said “You’re knitting SOCKS?!?” As if it had never occured to her it would even be possible for one to knit socks. A series of questions ensued about my socks, who the wearer of said socks would be, knitting in general, etc. etc. I’m sure she walked away from our conversation thinking I was nuts. But that’s okay…
    In short: I think you’re fine.

  232. Is there a way you can really get sent to the funny farm – i could use a vacation – to catch up on some unfinnished knitting projects – and do a few pairs of socks.

  233. Hi Stephanie, I figure if you can knit a Dale of Norway steeks and all in 16 days, then you most certainly can knit a sock a day. Also, if you could send some of that mojo my way I’d appreciate it. I’d just like to get four pairs of gloves and a lap robe done by Christmas.

  234. I have done a sock in two days during lectures & thought I was slacking somewhat. I did have to pay attention to the speaker & I did not do anything in the evening, so one sock in one day is entirely possible. You are not insane, at least in this one facet of your personality

  235. i am such a slacker. i have been working on the same pair of ankle socks for 4 months.
    granted i work 47 hours a week and I need to sleep. i cant knit while i work and if i knit while my munchkin is awake she gets mad at me. (shes only 20 months so explaining to her that mommy needs to knit to perserve her sanity doesnt work with her.)
    anyway you are crazy but you are able to knit at home in your free time. me i cant knit at work so i lose a lot of time because of that.
    oh well.
    good luck and if anyone can do it – you can steph.hugs.

  236. Amen Sister! Testify!
    (Just don’t forget to do your stretches. Life expectancy was about 45 years old back then, and we hope you’ll be around to lead us for at least twice as long as that. With working hands.)

  237. Dear Lord, I’m lucky if I can get in 10 rounds on a sock a day. I would have never survived those enforced quotas in the days of yore. I do think a sock a day is attainable, but I don’t know that I could do it without sitting there with the knitting for 8 hours straight. And then my hands would fall off. My current pace is about one a week, and I’m ok with that.

  238. I *love* the idea of efficiency and speed goals! I’m thinking after all my big, mondo school projects are over (or even while I’m doing “The Thinker” pose during their creation), I’ll make sure I have socks, gloves, hat nearby. Idle hands….. ;-D

  239. Interesting post. As a knitter and a regular reader of several knitblogs, it has struck me for some time how strangely Protestant knitblog culture is – the discussions of how much work is being accomplished, the fear of being a “slacker;” the guilt over stash, the confessional tone when speaking of a knitting binge. There seems to be a big gender factor at play as well, since these themes of guilt, work and fear (however wittily presented) do not seem nearly as dominant in the several male-authored knitting blogs I read – for them, the delight they take in knitting is not tinged with guilt or with constant declarations of how hard they work. I’m sure much more could be said about this and in any case, I have a strong sense that your next book is going to have something to say about gender, anyway. I’ll look forward to reading it.

  240. My grandfather used to talk fondly about watching his mother knit socks and how you could see the sock grow before your eyes. I always thought that time and his admiration for his mother had played with his memory (you certainly can’t see my socks take shape unless you use time-lapse photography), but after reading your research I’m a believer. I’m planning to try knitting on my morning walk.

  241. Hi Stephanie, first of all I would like to say THANK YOU for your blog, books, etc. I have only been knitting for 4 years, and the first project I made was a sock, since then I have done everything from lace to fair isles. I was wondering if there was a guideline or information on how long it takes a normal speed knitter to complete a pair of socks, a hat, a sweater, etc. It would be helpful when planning a project, especially if ones free time was not consistent day to day or week to week. (Sometimes I can only knit for an hour a day, sometimes 5 hours.) Any help or information would really be appreciated. Thanks.

  242. Thanks for the history lessson/validation of your sock a day theory. In your reasearch did you find anything that discussed a cure for knitting and the need to be more knitting productive.
    I wonder if I can pace a project like say, my monkey(not phallic, that is all you). If I Choose to do a limb a day and the body in a day..
    hmm…

  243. I swore to the Almighty that I would never, ever knit a pair of socks. I didn’t want to learn and that was that. Famous last words. An upcoming sock class was announced and I was goaded into it by friends. I have made three pair to date and I totally understand the obsession now. It is FUN. We all still laugh about our $95.00 socks. (cost of class, needles and yarn).
    I took them along on vacation and just kept knitting away. You are so right–small, portable and useful.
    I was wondering what pattern you use, or is the Basic sock pattern pretty much the same? So far, I have only used sock yarn, any suggestions?
    Thanks for sharing your goals and spirit!!!.
    Claudia

  244. I can totally see doing a sock a day or more. Of course, I’m unemployed at the moment, so I have lots of free time. πŸ™‚
    What I’m curious about is how they managed to knit all those stockings and avoid irrepairable harm to themselves in the old days. Of course, that could just be the repetitive stress injury in my shoulder and/or wrist that has forced me to drop out of massage school for the term and “take it easy” with the knitting. Well, as easy as I can take it when I have 3 hats, 3 bags (which I have yet to design), and 2.5 scarfs that need be started and finished in the next 38 or 39 days.

  245. Wow! Interesting discussion. So, believe in yourself and do the very best you can, allowing others to do the same, eh?

  246. Okay, okay, okay!!! I’ll stop saying that I can’t do it because of a lack of time! I’m knitting a pair of socks for my friend and I started them in September. I almost have one done and was thinking that getting the other one done by the 27th was crazy of me. So I guess it’s not and I can easily do it!! And it’s even simple 2×2 rib!! Thanks for motivating me and giving me a kick in the butt!

  247. I get rather amused by some of the comments to your blog, Stephanie, and it’s easy to tell who the real knitters are. It takes me 6-8 hours to knit an adult sock on size 1 needles (usually about 3 movies). Frequently I knit a pair in a day (that’s usually on the weekends, though, since I work full time). The year before last I was knitting three pair a week for Christmas gifts. I finished 17 pair and didn’t get started until mid November. Last week I knitted two children’s Wonderful Wallaby sweaters and a pair of kid socks. I think just “sticking to it” and making good use of your time matters as much as how fast you knit. With socks especially, once you know the process, they are quicker to knit because you don’t have to think so much about what you’re doing. I think of them as “mindless knitting” and that’s what I usually take with me to work on on knit nights at the lys — easier to talk and knit socks than to talk and count lace patterns!

  248. If I could knit and type at the same time, I could knit a sock a day. Unlike our knitting sisters of yesteryear, my jobs (all three of them) require that I use my hands most of the time. I guess I could start walking to work and that would give me an extra 1.5 hours (round-trip) of knitting time.

  249. And, I forgot! I knit my first sock in a day! It was a nasty muggy day and there was a Law & Order marathon on TNT.

  250. Sweet Creeping Zombie Jesus!
    I managed to crank out a pair of Socks of Doom for sock wars in a weekend. I finished in just a hair over 48 hours, but I was using #7s and DK yarn.
    The two pairs of kilt hose that I’ve made are closer to the weight of “real” socks, and each pair took me two weeks.
    I mean – damn. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to produce a pair of stockings in less than ten days.

  251. My grandmother as a child, back in the late 1800s/early 1900s, knit pairs of socks or mittens in the evening, after the day’s work was done. She was part of a large family of loggers (Wisconsin), and her brothers would wear through a pair of winter socks in just a couple days.
    Life was hard back then!
    Cath

  252. Dude. You took my advice (although, iirc, it was given to enable you to finish the wedding shawl) to get Lost and knit. My son and I are almost done with season 2 from iTunes, and I have knit a 7-foot scarf, a dog sweater, and 3 hats.

  253. My Dear Harlot,
    As the world’s slowest knitter, I’m amazed that anyone can make a pair of socks in a week, let alone a sock a day! It’s just amazing to me. It takes me so long that when I finally finish a pair of socks, I feel like there should be a national celebration. Balloons, confetti, cheers from crowds, maybe even a parade LOL! I guess thats why I’m the Dyepot Girl and you’re the Yarn Harlot. SIGH! Personally I think that anyone who can knit that fast has a obligation to knit a sock a day to inspire the rest of us knitting slow pokes. Fortunately for me, I have friends who churn out amazing socks in no time at all and them give them to me! How cool is that! I didn’t get the whole sock thing until my friend Kay made me a pair and gave them to me. I slipped them on my feet, sighed in absolute bliss and said “Ohhhhh, I get it now!” And I did! My feet were so happy! My friend Liz just gave me the most gorgeous socks, Trekking yarn and a pattern out of Interweave’s Socks book. They are amazing, beautiful, lovely things and they’re all mine! (Insert Mad Evil Scientist laugh here.) All I have to do to pay her back is to dye some yarn for her and be appreciative! What a deal! So, I think that it’s your knitterly duty to keep knitting like a maniac. Think of it as inspirational knitting for those of us that can’t knit fast enough to get out of our own way. And by the way, if you think that you might be called a knitting slacker historically, I shudder to think of what they would call me!

  254. “If one person calls you a Hutt, ignore them. If a second person calls you a Hutt, begin to wonder. If a third person calls you a Hutt, buy a drool bucket and start stockpiling spice.”
    —Corran Horn, Jedi Knight

  255. Here I was impressed that I have almost finished 1 sock in 5 days! Sheesh. I have beat my previous record of 5 months so talk about progress!
    Ok – as shocking as it may seem (please don’t hit the floor again) I too think you need to get out more.
    Get out to BC.
    Get out to Vancouver, or Victoria, or Whistler and get your blurry-pic-taking knit on with us sock-a-weekers.
    Clearly, we could use your help.
    Never mind those tsunami warnings – it’s just a campaign of misinformation!

  256. I loved all the historical info you gave us in this post. Also, I started my first sock ever 3 days ago and it’s just about done (well, a few months ago I ripped out one or two tries, can’t even remember why, now, so I consider it my first sock). And, considering that I haven’t spent much time on it at all, YOU, Knitting Goddess that you are, can definitely do one a day.
    Btw, I like watching Knitty Gritty when I can, but I don’t think it’s all that hip. (And I live in NY, so I think that counts a little).

  257. Well, I finished the second Yankee (insignia) heel flap sock for my BiL’s Christmas present this weekend. He wears an American 10.5. I did the end of the stranded heel flap and finished the sock in a 24 hour period.
    Kids and women’s socks…yes, I can see doing a sock a day. (Not lace, though…I’m making a small Christmas stocking now, and boy, did I slow down when the lace pattern kicked in!).

  258. Let me just note that all the time you took researching and quoting said research in your blog in order to justify your madness could have, by your studies, only set you back about 4 hours of knitting time. You are tad mad my dear but I am enjoying your tales.

  259. I’ve just been hanging out not getting anything done. What can I say? I’ve basically been doing nothing worth mentioning, but pfft. Not that it matters. Pretty much nothing exciting happening to speak of. I haven’t been up to much these days.

  260. I just don’t have anything to say right now. I haven’t been up to anything recently, but it’s not important. I’ve just been sitting around waiting for something to happen, but shrug.

  261. Not much on my mind right now, but it’s not important. I’ve just been letting everything happen without me. I just don’t have anything to say right now.

  262. Not much on my mind lately. My life’s been completely boring these days. I’ve just been hanging out not getting anything done. So it goes.

  263. My life’s been basically bland today. More or less nothing seems worth thinking about. My mind is like an empty room. I’ve more or less been doing nothing to speak of. Not much on my mind recently.

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