Once upon a time, on the tiny island of Tristan da Cunha in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Africa, home of an active volcano, young ladies knit socks to let their crushes know that they were the object of affection. The number and type of stripes in the sock indicated the level of affection, according to island lore and current marketing:
2 large stripes – Fondness
2 large stripes and 2 small stripes – Loyalty
2 large stripes and 3 small stripes – Friends forever
2 large stripes and 4 small stripes – Great affection
2 large stripes and 5 small stripes – Head over heels in love
2 large stripes and 6 small stripes – Will you be mine?
I think this is an entirely sweet, sentimental message and it reminds me of this other TBT post about how the Dutch used stripes on hats to identify the wearer. I’m surprised that no knitwear designers have created new patterns based on these old ideas. Perhaps I’ve found my niche as a designer?