Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Mamie Diggs Socks

Mamie Diggs is a historian in Williamsport, PA (where I have
been for the last few days.) I was sitting outside her classroom finishing a pair of new boot socks for myself. (My wife acquired the first pair of socks that I knit for myself in this pattern.) The first 3 socks of this pattern that I knit required only one skein each, however, the fourth one required a bit more, so I finished it with a bit of dark gray yarn of the same type that I had in my bag. So, this pair is mismatched from the start! I had just finished weaving in the loose ends when Mamie came out and started admiring the socks.

Mamie had learned knitting as a girl, but had been too much of a “tomboy,” to do much kitting. However, she did tell me about some of the knitting traditions she saw as a girl. Her Grandmother’s favored knitting needles were made of deer antler. They were quite long and were used with a knitting sheath. (Thus, apparently there was a tradition in Williamsport of using knitting sheaths as late as ~1900. ) She also told me of using a “circular needle” made of a single piece of cherry wood for knitting Afghans and bedspreads. With these wood circular needles, as the knitting progressed, the knitter would have two young girls hold and support the needle to prevent it from breaking under the weight of the knitting. I am working with the local historical society to find examples of these knitting tools.

Anyway to make a long story short, Mamie admired the socks to much that I just gave them to her. Thus, the second pair of these boot socks that I have made, that have become “house socks.” Mamie does not walk much anymore, so these socks should last her forever. Did you ever see someone smile so much just because you gave them a pair of socks?
I have ordered more yarn, and someday I will have a pair of socks in this pattern for myself.

Edited to note the Dr. Diggs died this last March, and is much missed.


Wannietta said...

I have no idea how bored (or punished/threatned!!) my children would have to be to hold my knitting for me just to keep a needle from snapping! I have to cajole and bribe them to get them to hold a skein for me to wind a ball if it's something that I can't do on the swift & winder. LOL
It's a wonderful bit of history though - good luck with finding these artifacts!!

And Mamie looks like a perfect candidate for hand knit goods - appreciative and happy.

Stell said...

hand knit socks have that effect when given, and I'm beginning to suspect that you won't ever have a pair of your own, not for a while anyways especially if you keep showing them off to friends and family.