News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

January 8, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: Well, what would you do with only 1 sock?

TERRE HAUTE — Let me ask you something.

Mom was highly skilled with any sort of needlecraft. She made most of my clothes on an ancient treadle sewing machine. She could also knit and crochet and embroider and, if she had tried, I’ll bet she’d have been a whiz at needlepoint.

She certainly tried to make something out of me. She talked me into joining 4-H in a sewing group. I did get a blue ribbon at the county fair one year, but I think I finished the second year only because she rode herd on me all summer. I could never get past making a chain with a crochet needle, but Mom did make me feel good about that because she attached a mitten to either end of the chain, ran it up one sleeve of my coat and down the other and I didn’t lose a mitten all winter.

I achieved a reasonable proficiency at embroidering, but didn’t really hit my stride until we got to knitting.

I first learned to make the mittens at the end of my crochet chains. When I craved more of a challenge, Mom showed me how to cast off and make gloves with fingers. When I got a bit bored with that, I made tube socks and — finally — I got lessons in how to turn a heel on my bobby socks.

A lot of us knit in college. I decided I wanted to knit a pair of argyle socks. I selected pastels — white, pale pink and light gray. What Mom wasn’t around to tell me was that I needed to do everything to avoid tangling the colors. I am sure I must have spent more time getting untangled than I did in actually producing the finished product, but I did turn out a really pretty argyle sock. The trouble was that it was such an ordeal that I knew I would never — NEVER — produce a second sock.

I was telling the story of my one-sock effort to my grandsons the other day because one of their special friends is a genius with a crochet hook. When I got to the “never again” bit, they asked, “So, what did you do, Grandma?”

“Well,” I said, “There was a girl in my dorm who had only one leg, so I gave the sock to her.”

The boys had a good laugh, but allowed, “That was cold, Grandma.”

Actually, my young friend really liked the sock. I honestly felt I had solved a problem for both of us.

But, I leave it to you. I’ll give you “politically incorrect,” but cold?

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to


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