For years I’ve knit socks for my nieces and nephews for Christmas. I’m not sure when I started exactly, but I know it’s been at least eight years (I knit a blue pair and pink pair to be ready for what turned out to be a nephew born days before Christmas eight years ago). If that was the first year, that nephew was number 5; and the oldest at the time was 5.  Since then, their number has doubled and the size of their feet, according to my very unscientific reasoning, has more than doubled. All that to say, it’s a lot more knitting than it was when I started.

When I began knitting years ago, sock knitting was one of my early accomplishments (a few missteps aside). We were like peas carrots, sock knitting and I. I churned out pair after pair, but last year the pressure of all those little (and no so little anymore) bare feet got to me. It just wasn’t fun. And if it wasn’t fun, what was the point? So I stopped.

When I say stopped, I don’t mean completely of course. Socks will likely always be (in my mind) the easiest travel project for meetings; small and no pattern needed make it an obvious choice; but when I look back at 2017, I’ve knit only knit three pair. And to be clear, those still aren’t really finished.


As I was working on them, a debate raged in my mind: what to do with these socks? If I haven’t knit for the kids, there are some grown ups who haven’t had socks in a while either I could move up the list. And then I realized, I was one of those grown ups, but could I really keep three pair of socks for me?

I live in wool socks when it’s cold and my collection shows it. You can’t wear the same socks day after day for well over half the year (I live in Canada, some years it’s closer to 9-10 months) and not have them show some wear. In my current rotation I have one good pair; one that is basically thread on the bottom and is for emergency, I can’t believe I didn’t wash my socks (or they haven’t dried) use; another that is fast approaching emergency use only, and the final has a hole in the toe. I could try darning, but well, I know it’s not going to happen.

Christmas night I pulled on a pair of brand new socks and I remembered why I like them so much. I’m starting to remember why I liked knitting them. I’m hoping it comes back, maybe not the obsessive level it was, but at least something that will interest me enough to actually knit.

The kids survived a Christmas with no Aunt Bon socks. There were many conversations about it through the year as we all wrestled with idea there would be no wool socks under the tree (or arriving shortly thereafter). They are generally fans of socks and they get handed down as they are outgrown. I do know even if my love of sock knitting returns, I can’t knit 10 pair of socks very year for rapidly growing feet. My sister suggested alternating years between boys and girls, and with 5 of each that makes sense and is much more doable. So I’ve started next year’s socks for the boys:

Just don’t tell my niece; she’s taken her lobby efforts for the girls to be first to a new level:

9 replies on “The Year I Didn’t Knit Socks

  1. No socks for Christmas?!?
    How terrible! As an avid fan of handmade gifts, I confess I was disappointed in not seeing the annual Christmas sock blog post. I admired your “feat” each year. But I totally understand the challenge of 10 pair! Five certainly seems more realistic, as those toes keep requiring more yarn.
    When I was a kid, my grandmother made us mittens every year for Christmas. She didn’t have much money, and always apologized for “only” being able to give us mittens.
    Truth was, I cherished those mittens. As we grew to our teen years, she stopped making us mittens, thinking they weren’t “cool” gifts. I begged to differ, and would get a few more pair before she passed away.
    When my niece and nephew … and Dalton…were born, I started making them mitts every year, until it became “uncool”. Once in awhile, I surprise my sister with a pair. My MIL still makes them for the great grandchildren, and they always have to be accompanied with a box of Smarties.
    Gotta love handmade christmas gifts. Good job, Aunt Bon!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love that! I don’t think I had “boughten” mittens until I was in my teens; there were so many knitters in the family it just wasn’t a thing.

      The kids get mittens for their birthdays, which isn’t always practical for those May birthdays. I’m hoping their memories of these socks and mitts will be as good. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You did very well with your mittens this year, I’m sure. I totally understand how 10 pairs of growing feet can become more than a challenge, even for the most avid sock knitter. You’re right to focus your attention on your own sock wardrobe, and I’m sure in time, the desire to knit new socks for others will come back. Another option is to teach your many nephews and nieces to knit their own socks, and knit some for you 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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