Many knitters are passionate about knitting socks, but perhaps more than any other garment the concept of knitting socks is the hardest for muggles (that is, non-knitters) to understand. Why would you spend so much time, effort and money on something that will be hidden in a shoe most of its life?
Admittedly there are some knitters who don't understand, either. Sock knitting is a lot of work and it's more difficult to show off a perfectly turned heel in public than it is a gorgeous sweater or scarf.
Whether you're a knitter who hasn't been bitten by the sock knitting bug yet or you're a knitter looking to justify your sock yarn stash, here are some darn good reasons to knit socks.
1. To Scare the Normals
Knitters who work on socks in public often must confront the stupid -- that's a harsh word, but some of their questions are kind of stupid -- questions of uninformed people.
It's fun to pretend you didn't know you could buy socks in a store (I've been wasting my life!). Plus, double-pointed needles look intimidating to the uninitiated.
2. They're a Perfect Travel Project
A sock and its needed supplies don't take up a lot of space. You could even pack two projects in less space than a single other project (say, a sweater) might take up.
Bonus: If you're on the first sock when you start your travels, you automatically have a second project lined up should you finish. Or, if you're on the second sock, you can wear your new pair home.
3. They're a Great Way to Try New Patterns
Whether you're wanting to try textured stitches, cables, lace or colorwork, you can find a sock that uses just about any stitch pattern or technique you'd want to learn. A sock is a relatively small canvas perfect for experimentation, and once you understand the math you can even design your own socks without too much trouble.
4. They're a Way to Learn Lots of Techniques
In addition to offering tons of options in terms of surface decoration, there are many different ways to knit a sock. Try cuff-down, toe-up, side to side, two at a time...there's always more to explore.
5. Knit Socks Feel Awesome
What those "Don't you know you can buy socks at Wal-Mart?" people don't get is that knit socks are immensely more comfortable, cozier and warmer than anything you can buy form a store. When you slip a pair of custom-knit socks on your feet, you'll not only feel a sense of pride, you'll feel well cared for, even if you had to knit the socks yourself.
6. The Yarn
There is so much great sock yarn out there these days, from nice mass-produced skeins that make colorwork patterns for you to gorgeous fibers produced by indie spinners and dyers.
You will want to get your hands on all of it. The good news is, for the most part you can knit a pair of socks with a single skein of yarn, making a project relatively affordable and the yarn easy to stash various places in your home.
7. It's Not Just a Project; It's an Obsession
Sure there are knitters who just don't get sock knitting. And there are people who suffer severe cases of Second Sock Syndrome such that they never end up with a full pair of socks (I'm pretty sure they're why two-at-a-time methods were developed).
But for a lot of knitters, sock knitting becomes a passion. They may knit little else besides socks, travel to sock knitting conventions, try out every cast on and bind off known for toe-up socks.
As obsessions go, it's pretty harmless. But if anyone in your family calls you out on it, just knit them a pair. That should quiet them right up.