Friday, March 14, 2008

What I did for love


The Black and Tan Sock Project

Have you ever been part of a “love test”? Rewind. Let’s define a “love test”.

You’re in a bar. Your girlfriend is slighted by a Look from a guy who is twice your size and all muscle.

“If you love me, you’ll punch him in the face,” says your girlfriend.

You have two choices: One, punch the giant guy and risk imminent pain, or Two, show through your actions that you love the original state of your face more than the girlfriend. That’s a love test.

Love tests don’t require the “if you love me” at the beginning. They’re very tricky, and the unspoken “if you love me” sometimes hangs menacingly over your head.

When Andrew and I started dating, I told him that under no circumstances would I knit him black socks. (I had a friend that was so desperate to knit for her husband that when he said he wanted plain, black-black socks, knit on 00 needles, she did.)

Andrew has terrific color sense, so for the first six-ish years of our relationship, he chose gorgeous gemtones. Once he started working in a more formal environment (slacks, dress shirts, dress shoes), the brighter socks didn’t work quite as well with the corporate culture.

Very sweetly, Andrew asked for black-ish socks. Not black-black socks, just … predominantly blackish socks.

I was torn. On one hand, I could just tell him that he’s no longer getting handknit socks if he wants black ones. On the other hand, I could continue to knit him the bright socks that he already picked out, but he would wear them on the weekends. When it’s cold out. On the third hand, I could come to a middle ground and knit some black-ish socks.

When it comes to knitting for men, what I have noticed is that if you knit what they want, the way they want it, they will wear it. If you ask them what they want, and it’s a fingering weight black sweater, and you knit them a bulky, bright purple sweater, you can’t complain that they don’t wear it. You can’t complain that they’re not a gracious gift recipient if you knit the opposite of what they want.

I found some yarn that was both “black enough” and not too boring to knit, and five pairs of black-ish socks later, Andrew made another request.

Tan socks. Tan-ish socks. To match the other sets of slacks.

My lack of enthusiasm was palpable until last night- when I saw that Purlescence had Casbah in a lovely… tan. While I haven’t worked with the Casbah yet, I can’t give you a fair and balanced review of it, but I am positively chomping at the bit to cast on.

Black and tan socks. My love test. I pass, right?


  1. Pass. You also get bonus points because two of the black-ish socks were actually jet black, blacker than black socks. I think the color name was Ink? So leave it to the love of Jasmin that she signs on for blackish and then knits totally black socks in the dark.


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