About 10 years ago I knit my first pair of socks, and I loved them. Well, really, I loved knitting my first pair of socks, and I loved knitting AND wearing my second pair of socks, which were knit out of finer yarn. (The first ones were knit out of several strands of yarn held together on fat needles; it feels like you're walking on a loofah.) I was determined to wear nothing but handknit socks from then on. This resolution was only slightly shaken by the discovery of holes in my handknits. I learned to darn, and kept on knitting.
But (you knew there was a "but", didn't you?) then I got pregnant (which was good) and my feet grew (which was not). They weren't small to start with, but they got bigger and bigger and bigger. And they STAYED bigger after the baby was born. I had to replace all my shoes .... and my handknit socks were too small.
I really didn't have the time or energy to knit a new sock wardrobe. So I found some wonderful SmartWool socks on clearance and bought a bunch. They were so wonderful that I bought a whole bunch more -- several years' worth.
Several years passed. Last fall I started knitting socks again (my feet seem to have stabilized) and found, as so many others have before me, that they are the perfect portable project. Most of my knitting is done at the library, or the playground, or while waiting for files to load, or water to boil .... you get the idea. So I cranked out several pairs pretty quickly.
At about this time I noticed that most of my SmartWool socks were starting to wear out. When I went to replace them I discovered that they cost TWENTY BUCKS A PAIR. Oh, my goodness! I love these socks -- they are sturdy, soft, cushy, and roomy. They can be machine washed and dried for years and still feel good (not true of other brands I've tried). But $20 is just too much. I think I paid $4 the first time around. I might even be willing to double that, but no more.
So I'm going to try to knit myself a dozen pairs of socks before next winter. I've already bought the yarn for half a dozen pairs, and ordered some superwash roving. I've got plenty of patterns (though I might buy a few more....) and a summer's worth of swim lessons and playdates stretching ahead of me.
I'm starting a new sidebar to keep track of these. I just hope I can make myself knit a dozen uncomplicated, useful pairs of socks before I get sidetracked doing fancy ones. Even six would be a start -- eight would take me from one laundry day to the next.