A quick and timely follow-up to my Dec 22 post*:
For me, sock knitting fills that particular niche of “easily portable, minimal concentration, useful result, boredom-prevention device”. Sock knitting is great for waiting rooms and public transit and is something to do with your hands while watching a movie that you know is going to be bad before you even start watching.
I have never knit a fancy pair of socks because I figure if I’m willing to put that much concentration into knitting, I’d rather end up with a nice scarf. But I do like the idea of non-plain socks that have a bit of handmade flair. Stripes or variegated wools are my usual solution.
When I recently* knit a pair of Christmas socks for my mom, I decided to change it up a bit. She had picked out the plainest of plain wool so I decided on a nice compromise: fancy cuffs paired with plain Jane socks. The bits that stick out above a pair of shoes take a bit of effort and look impressive to a non-knitter, while the rest can be done on autopilot. Or, in this case, they were done when the actual pilot was probably on autopilot and I was crammed into a plane seat watching GI Joe.
I was quite happy with how these turned out and thought I’d share. You can download the pattern here: Columbia sock pattern.
If you’re an experienced sock knitter you will barely need the pattern. If you’re new to socks or need a refresher over and above the pattern, here’s a couple of links that might be of use:
*Nine months isn’t all that long, right? I mean, it’s all relative. For a mayfly it might be 300 generations and for a continent it’s barely measurable. For me, it’s just enough time to get thoroughly distracted but not abandon my good intentions.