Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's Racing Season, so that means.......socks?

When I was much younger, my family lived in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Whether you personally like motorsports or not, you probably know that Indianapolis is the home of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" - the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  Every May, names like Mario Andretti, Al Unser (we didn't have to use the "Senior" back then), A. J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Gordon Johncock and Johnny Rutherford were commonly heard around our dinner table as we'd talk about who would qualify fastest, and who had the best chance of winning the race.

I remember asking my parents several (probably more than several) times if they would take me to the race.  We went to the Museum a time or two but I was always told that the race itself was too loud, too dirty (as in need-a-shower-to-wash-off-the-tire-debris dirty), and someone might crash and die and I would be scarred for life.

So I never went to the "500" while we lived in Indy.

But last year I took the kids and we met up with an Army friend of mine, and the five of us went to the race.  That is the subject of a whole other blog post.  But it got me to thinking, 2011 is the centennial year at the Speedway.......

I don't paint, or compose music, or do woodcarving or build models.  But I do knit.  So I designed a pair of socks to commemorate the Centennial of one of the Wonders of my world - my first knitting design, the Centennial Socks.

Lots of symbols stuffed into these socks:

There are 66 stitches around the sock.  This is twice the number of cars in the starting grid at every Indy 500 (with a few exceptions).

The cuff is knit in 3x3 rib, so there are 11 sections of 3 knit stitches set off by 11 sections of 3 purl stitches.  The cars line up on the starting grid in 11 rows of 3.

Down the back of the leg of the sock is a 9-stitch panel of seed stitch.  At the start/finish line of the Speedway is a 9-row "Yard of Bricks" that is the original brick track surface from way back when.

Front and center of the leg, and continuing down the top of the foot, is a rather simple lace pattern.  It resembles (more or less) the Pagoda - the control tower at the track.

On either side of the sock is a seed stitch check pattern.  Checkered flags.  :)

There are four repeats of the Pagoda motif in the leg of the sock, because four is the most times any driver has won the Indy 500 (A. J. Foyt, Rick Mears and Al Unser, in case you were wondering).

Why did I knit them in red?  Well, after we moved from Indianapolis, I got hooked on this Japanese dubbed-in-English cartoon called "Speed Racer."  Speed always wore lucky red socks.  His car had fenders and the engine in the front, but I still think he's pretty cool, and I think every race car driver (and every racing fan) needs a pair of lucky socks.

You can buy the yarn here, and soon I hope to update this post with a link to purchase the pattern as well!

Many thanks to Mr. Wayne Long at Mid-Atlantic Sports Cars for the use of his facility and the 1965 Lotus roadster reproduction, for taking some of the photos, and also to Velvet for being an assistant foot model.

Happy Centennial to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and happy knitting to you!

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