22 January 2020
Left and Right
It has been a very long time since I knit a pair of socks. I have some on the needles, the second sock of a pair which I think I cast on about two years ago they have been slowly growing year by year. It is a complicated pattern which makes it difficult to knit whilst I am sitting chatting with friends and completely impossible to knit whilst watching something or reading, the times that I do most of my knitting.
When I was shopping for wool to make Christmas gifts late last year a ball of sock yarn fell into my shopping cart too. A few weeks after it arrived, whilst I was knee deep in Christmas knitting I discovered a knit-a-long (KAL) where you could knit anything you like, taking place in January to keep us all going through the month. I didn't need any motivation to get these socks on the needles but I thought it would be fun to be knitting along with other people and have a date to complete them by, I really didn't want these socks to be on the needles in two years time too. It has taken me two weeks rather than two years to make this pair assisted somewhat by a long train and car journey the perfect time to be knitting. I have realised what a great transportable project socks are, I can see me knitting more socks this year when I have a long journey to make.
It is really important to look after our feet. I have made some huge changes to the shoes I wear over the years, now my main shoes are all of the barefoot type. This means that they have very thin soles (a few mm), no heel rise at all and a toe box that allows my feet to sit in their natural shape without squashing my toes, foot shaped shoes. I wear no shoes at all in the house and rarely wear anything unless it is a really cold day, we have no carpet downstairs, but my feet don't feel the cold like they used to.
I know that there are many people that use supports of some sort in their shoes, there is a huge industry out there selling many different types. I have to admit I find this quite baffling. If you were to break a limb what would you do after the bone had set, would you continue to support that limb and not use it? I suspect that you wouldn't, using supports in your shoes is the same thing, the longer you use them the weaker your feet get. I am not advocating that you throw out your supports and stop using them completely but try walking a little without them and build up that time to longer and longer each day, building up those muscles in your feet to strengthen them. You may find if you have pain in other joints that slowly starts to lessen too.
You might be looking at those socks above and thinking, especially if you are knitter, that they look a little different? Well you would be right on that. All the sock patterns I have ever come across usually have toes that look like this:
Now I don't know about you but my feet are definitely not that shape. My big toe is in a straight line with the rest of my foot not tapered inwards. If I am going to go to all that effort of making socks for myself, socks that are made to measure, I thought it would also be better if they were made to fit the shape of my foot too. To shape a sock you decrease stitches by knitting them together, in the picture above this is done on both sides of the sock, this gives you a pair of socks that you can wear on either foot. The socks in the first picture, however, are only decreased on one side giving them a more foot like shape. This is my first attempt to make them like this, they are not perfect but I am happy with them and all my socks will be knitted to this shape in the future, another way that I can look after my feet. Now there is no putting my socks on any foot as they will feel rather odd, it is a good job they are foot shape as I am hopeless at knowing which is left and which is right!