The organizers of Sock Summit , (a huge,as in thousands of sock knitters, teachers and vendors gathered to talk, learn, vend, dye, spin,knit and generally show off hand knit socks) recently announced that as part of the event they are launching a sock museum, that luckily for those of us who aren’t going to the summit, will also exist in the cyberworld. Volunteers have been asked to knit and donate historically accurate socks for a visual history.
Now you may recall that though I declared 2008 to be the year of the sock in which I was going to knit a new pair each month of the year, I found I just couldn’t get as excited about knitting socks as many others do. Nevertheless, the sock museum project reminded me of one of the first pieces of historical knitting I ever saw that got me really excited. It was a blue and white knit medieval Muslim sock pictured on one of the back pages of Piecework Magazine. It inspired me to knit my own stranded sock with similar patterning only to find that though my choice of crochet cotton (just about the only yarn I had available to knit with then) was a fairly authentic choice since the original socks were cotton, you really have to be an experience knitter to make stranded cotton socks work. They did not stretch at all and thus could not be pulled over the heal to be actually worn.
This reminiscing led me to a quick google search which resulted in finding Dar Anahita’s wonderful site with historical information and reproductions of several Medieval Muslim socks in the collection of the Textile Museum in Washington D.C.
I’m definitely adding a pair of these socks to my knitting queue. But don’t hold your breath, it’s a pretty long queue.