socks, owls, &c. . .

(recognise that darned heel, Mandy?)

Some of you may be interested to know that the above appears in this month’s issue of The Knitter magazine. It is the first piece for publication that I’ve produced since the stroke, and because of this, I feel unusually proud of it. Did you know that such a thing as sock police existed? No? Get hold of a copy of The Knitter and find out more! I really enjoyed researching this article, and turned up many whacko stocking-related oddments on ecco and elsewhere….For example, I didn’t have a chance to include this intriguing piece of advice from John Gardiner’s Inquiry into the Nature, Cause, and Cure of the Gout published here in Edinburgh in 1792, but I thought you might enjoy it. . . (if enjoy is the word, ahem).

“As soon as a fit or the symptoms of an approaching fit appear, the patient is directed to draw on each foot three or four socks, made of the finest and softest wool, commonly sold under the name of Welsh flannel; over them a pair of short hose or bootikins of oiled silk, drawn as close as possible around the ankle…After the bootikins have been neatly applied, one, or two more socks are to be drawn over each and to cover the whole, a pair of soft woolly Shetland stockings.”

If I’m counting correctly, that’s eight pairs of socks. . . imagine.

This now-familiar image of my headless torso also appears in The Knitter in the context of a discussion of Ravelry knitalongs. And when I went popped over to Ravelry to have a look at recent o w l-related activity, I noticed that there were more than three thousand projects listed ! Three thousand o w l s! I felt I should commemorate this exciting discovery in some way, and found that Amy, from Hartlepool, was the three-thousandth knitter of an o w l sweater. Congratulations Amy! (I am sending her a wee owl-themed gift to commemorate the momentous occasion.)

And finally, as this picture would suggest, I did make it to Stirling, but unfortunately not for very long. . . frankly, I can hardly believe that I actually wrote a whole blog post about having a migraine and I do not want to produce another along similar lines . . . suffice it to say that I was able to spend a few happy hours with my friends before returning home.

I was quite put out, but this wee feller was still happy to see me.

49 thoughts on “socks, owls, &c. . .

  1. On a completely unrelated note, the dress you’re wearing while enjoying some puppy love is beautiful. I lurv it. :) Also, congrats on your article! I am sure I will love it too.

  2. I read the article yesterday and really enjoyed it! It was really interesting and I almost thought you were having a laugh when I got to the “sock police” bit! I did wonder, though: what did they do to the sock outlaws???

  3. Congratulations on your article and on the owls milestone. I was cleaning up last night and found my pattern. A sign from the knitting gods to make Owls.

  4. Congratulations on your article! Wow, that bit about the 8 pairs of socks…wouldn’t that get awfully…heavy? Makes me think of that video that everyone was linking to for awhile, of a guy who put on some absurd number of t-shirts, one over top of the other.

    Bruce is such a handsome doggie! And, like Leah, I adore that dress you’re wearing in the photo with him.

  5. Congratulations! I can hardly wait to read your article.

    And I love the word “bootikins.” Bootikins, bootikins, bootikins.

    1. Me too. I don’t remember when I first heard the word, but years ago our Latin master was teaching us about Caligula and said that the name meant “little boots.” Without thinking I said quietly “bootikins.” I had to repeat it to the class of 11 year old boys, to much hilarity. Funny the things that stick in your mind after over 40 years. Bootikins. Good word.

  6. Yay! I wonder if the magazine can be purchased over here yet? I’ll check the bookstore this week. I want your puppers. He’s so cute! I hope he hasn’t gotten into the yarn again.

  7. Hmmm, fraid he doesn’t look that wee to me. He’s growing!

    Glad to hear you made it to Stirling, even if only for the one day.

  8. My shoes wouldn’t fit even if the socks were all thin and silky. Looking great and so is the puppy! Migraines are horrible, but mine have eased off as I’ve grown older. L

  9. I shall look out for the article. Where is Edinburgh sells the Knitter? Sorry you got to enjoy so little of Stirling with your friends, migraines are evil.
    To continue Leah’s unrelated note, is that beautiful dress the lovely dress from Toast that I foolishly managed to talk myself out of?

  10. Hey, it was great to meet you, albeit briefly! I am curious to see the photos of Felix on the exercise bike. Also, I enjoyed the article, so thanks for leaving a copy ’round the house (even if it was someone else’s issue).

    I’m sure we will meet again, when I am a +1.

  11. What a great post! So many interesting links….I am now hunting for The Knitter magazine as we speak…where will I find it in Brisbane I wonder to self….had no idea about ecco so thanks for putting me on to that….I could get lost there forever :) And as for that puppy…it would be hard to suffer from the “black dog” whilst that particular black dog was around huh?

  12. Whenever I see one of your pieces in ‘The Knitter’, I always save it for the very last thing to read, as a treat! And this one was wonderfully interesting, just like the others, even though I’m not really a sock knitter.

    You took a lovely picture of Stirling Castle – such a shame that you didn’t get to enjoy more time with your friends. I went for a walk up Gowan Hill on Sunday morning, before catching my train home, and I thought of you. (I am not much of a walker, and wore vastly unsuitable shoes…)

    1. Congratulations Kate on the owl front and all you have managed to achieve after your stroke, even though you have documented how hard those times have been .
      Bruce looks like a lovely puppy, enjoy !

  13. Lovely photos! I made my owl sweater last year and it’s a favorite of mine. What I love about dogs is that they just love us and are happy to see us no matter what our mood! Buster is a cute little fellow.

  14. Sounds to me like John owned stock in Welsh flannel.

    You on the other hand – you have created a bunch of happy knitters – with your three thousandth parliament of crows. That’s amazing.
    Sorry to hear that Stirling was a brief trip but glad you were able to make it there.

    Hope those migraines stop soon.

  15. You look lovely – that dress is spectacular! And Bruce is a very handsome fellow. Congratulations on the article! Based on what I see of the magazine online, I wish we got The Knitter over here. It looks like a fascinating article.

  16. I bought the Knitter yesterday. I wasn’t going to, I flicked through it and was about to put it down again when I saw your article. It’s just brilliant. Seriously, a Rowlandson picture in a knitting magazine? The awesomeness of that just knows no bounds, it literally made my day. Thankyou!

  17. 3,000 o w l s is indeed a momentous occasion and I love your piece on socks in The Knitter.

    It was wonderful to see you in Stirling and I am glad you got a good welcome from the pup when you got home.

  18. I enjoyed the article very much! Long talk ensued with my husband about the “sock police” and the sock-knitters of Fintray which led to him digging out an old spinning device (stone with a hole in it) he found in the fields one day. I need to delve into the archives again. Sorry I didn’t see you in Stirling. I almost went up to a complete stranger to ask her if she was you, and I can’t fathom why – wrong hair, wrong torso!?!

  19. Hi Kate,
    I’m new to your blog but I adore it. It’s such a treat to come here. I think I’ll have to order a copy of the magazine… Stephanie

  20. I wish I was in the UK so I could easily get a copy of The Knitter – I would love to read your article on socks in history! I have read your blog for quite awhile – found you when owls first came out and I fell in love with the sweater. I’ve followed you since then and only recently realized who you were! I am a student of early American history in the states and was so happy when I realized that I’ve admired your knitting and your historical work simultaneously without realizing it!

  21. the photo of the puppy is surpassed in its gorgeousness only by that amazing picture of Stirling! it’s spectacular! Does it REALLY look like that there where you live? I must visit Scotland. Sexy Scottish accents AND that sort of scenery?? Will make it a long trip.

  22. Congrats on the article! I have been following you for a while (thought I almost never comment) and am thrilled to see you putting the pieces back together — even if it makes a different whole than it did before the stroke.

  23. That photograph of Stirling looks like a painting! How beautiful.
    I love hand knit socks, I’m looking forward to reading the article. Lovely dress! and pup.

  24. can’t imagine putting on all those socks to help with gout – just having your foot under a sheet causes extreme pain. you may ask what an average weight woman would know about gout. and I would reply that not only heavy set men who drink and eat rich foods get the disease. my doctor didn’t think I had it till she ran the tests.

  25. Just read your article – really enjoyed it. It’s amazing what you learn – every day’s a school day……………

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)