Survival Socks

I have an etsy store: MudflapCrafts, mostly just for fun. Knitting is a relaxing hobby for me, and yes, a dude who knits is weird, I'll admit. Is it too feminine? no. Only in America. Most other countries, guys knit. As a mathematician, I find the motion and counting and slowly increasing progress quite satisfying.

It's also a very portable hobby - I just need the yarn, some needles, and a little bag to carry it in. Sometimes I need a pattern and a pencil, but those fit in the bag. While everyone else is waiting at the DMV or the doctor's office, or the car line at school, scrolling mindlessly on their smartphones, I'm knitting up a storm.

Soon after becoming proficient at knitting, I looked for patterns for practical items like hats, socks, and sweaters. I was surprised at how complicated and particular most patterns were. And frilly. As a guy, I don't always need special designs or cables or exotic yarns only available from some farm with old world sheep - I want useable, no frills items with clear instructions - and made for a man. The lack of offerings with these qualities was surprising. So I started creating my own patterns. I've made a dozen pairs of socks now, a couple of sweaters, and dozens of hats. I've perfected my methods and wrote down the patterns.

A lot of family and friends say, "you should sell those hats!", but the problem with that is - no one could pay me enough for my time to make it worth it. Do you really think someone would pay me for the time it takes to make such a hat? A hat takes about 8-10 hours to make. If I charge current going minimum wage (about $12 an hour), that's $120 hat, just for the time. I like to spend a bit of money to get quality wool - so I spend $40 on Alpaca / nylon blend yarn. Now it's a $160 hat. The quality is there, for sure - these aren't cheap hats with big holes made out of super thick yarn - rather, they are made from sport weight yarn, and knitted quite dense to keep out the cold.

Socks (made from sock yarn) would be even more expensive - they take 20-40 hours (I knit with extremely small needles for them - like '00' or '000' sometimes) - so that's $480 for a pair of socks. I just finished a pair of Alpaca wool socks - made from "lace weight" or "fine" wool - it's even thinner than "sock wool" - took me a year to finish (very busy with the cabin), but I think I spent 120 hours on them or more ($1400 socks- seriously?).

So I sell the patterns instead - $4.

Anyway, I'm working on a new pattern for what I call "survival socks". Most sock patterns require the use of "sock yarn", which is hard to find locally - most of the time, you order it online. Sometimes Michaels or JoAnn will have it, but in very limited colors. But you can buy what's known as "fisherman's wool" (100% wool) almost anywhere that sells yarn. It's a lot thicker than sock yarn, and the finished product isn't as pretty, but it is extremely warm and hard wearing. And itchy. But hey - they are "survival socks" - the kind of socks you would make for a survival situation. Can be made in about 6-8 hours if you really get going.

Huge difference in the warmth factor for "survival socks" compared to that cheap thin cotton they sell at walmart. I was stomping around the cabin when it was 25 degrees in cheap cotton socks and my work boots, and my feet stayed cold the entire day (no insulation in the floor, still building the thing...). The next day, I wore the survival socks - Oh. Em. Gee. What a difference - my feet were toasty all day, and not sweaty - just right. I thought, "I HAVE to write this pattern down".

So that's where I'm at, working out the gauge (stitches per inch) to create the perfect pair of "survival socks."