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I’m thinking about sock patterns.
As I write, there are 42,799 patterns in the Ravelry pattern database for the category Accessories/All Feet/Legs.
In a historic first in the knitting universe, I will here rank all 42,799 patterns in order, from my least favorite to most.
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#42,799 through #42,510: Barefoot Sandals. C’mon, this is the worst of both worlds—you’re neither barefoot nor besandaled. It’s like you caught something in between your toes, which is the second-worst sensation in the world.
#42,509 through #40,976: Other. This is like the size 0. Size 0 is not a size; “Other” is not a category. “Other” is, however, life’s rich pageant of things that fit into no other category on Ravelry.
#40,975 through #40,837: Spats. I’m calling BS on this category, because a quick run through the Spats category reveals quite a few non-spats entries. I’m seeing legwarmers, gaiters, boot toppers, and Starbucks cozies redeployed as ankle cuffs. Only a couple of these 139 patterns gets at the core of what a spat is, according to Wikipedia: “Spats, a shortening of spatterdashes, or spatter guards are a type of classic footwear accessory for outdoor wear, covering the instep and the ankle. Spats are distinct from gaiters, which are garments worn over the shoe and lower trouser leg, and used primarily as personal protective equipment.” Got it?
#40,836 through #33,488: Booties. I can’t really hate on booties, but I can worry that there are 7,349 bootie patterns. It’s a garment for a foot that’s three inches long. And it’s a foot that refuses to keep a bootie on it, ever. Booties represent the eternal battle between cute and annoying.
#33,487 through #30,529: Legwarmers. A sock without all the sockiness. There’s a lot to be said for a legwarmer. Sometimes you just need to pile more onto that calf area.
#30,528 through #25,716: Slippers. Fraught! A category with great beauty and awfulness. I haven’t ever knit a slipper, and maybe I should. But I need some traction for my commute to the kitchen for the first coffee of the day. And I don’t need to make that trek wearing slippers made in my college’s team colors.
#25,715 through #25,488: Toeless Socks. Yeah, I know: it’s a legwarmer that takes a turn along the way. I get that people like these for getting pedicures or yoga or other leisurely pursuits, but the likelihood of me getting to either with the right toeless socks in my bag is zero point zero.
#25,487 through #5: So Many Socks. Now that I’ve narrowed it down, I’ll leave it to you to find your perfect pattern in this wilderness. Send up a flare when you find one you like.
#4: Wild Oak Socks. Pretty, with a nice rhythm to the cables and openwork. Virginia Sattler-Reimer taps into that sweet spot of texture and pattern.
#3: Out of Phase Socks Rachel Gibbs writes: “This is a top down sock pattern with a flap and gusset heel and cables inspired by signal processing travelling in opposite directions down the leg.” Of course it is!
#2: Toe-Up Socks with a Difference by Wendy Johnson. Cuff down or toe up? Wendy’s pattern makes the case for starting down low. (I noticed Raveler kokinotane cooked up Wendy’s socks in a really lush combination of Regia 4-fatig Tweed and Crazy Zauberball. Four-round stripes are such a great proportion for a striped sock. Mashing up two shades of yarn looks like a recipe for very fine stashbusting.)
#1: Simple Sock in Three Sizes. This is it! My favorite sock pattern is the pattern that taught me how to knit socks, the absolutely classic ribbed sock by Cat Bordhi featured in her book Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. Here’s my post about that memorable first trip “Into the Rabbit Hole.”
So there you have it: 42,799 patterns. Why isn’t there more CHOICE, for pity’s sake?