needle and bread

life with the needle, trying to make some bread

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

the sock of despair

Sock #1 in the incredible sock fiasco. Let me talk a little bit about my love-hate relationship with socks. Is it the dpn's? No. Is it the tiny needles and tiny thread? No. Is it turning the heel, and picking up stitches? No. I don't think this is hard if you follow the directions. Is it my incredible stupid obstinancy that I refuse to measure my feet and instead think that a pattern, gauge swatch and a prayer will give me socky goodness? Bingo.

I remember when I was learning how to knit with Honey (my grandmother) about eight years ago, she told me that knitting socks was her favorite thing to do. Not that I'd ever seen her knit socks, or my mother for that matter -- she wasn't a prolific knitter. Apparently, all my mother had ever gotten from her was a mittens when she was a kid and the afghan. (More about the afghan later). But she told me that she just loved turning the heels and that when she was first married to Grandpa (Jim, as she called him. Well, that was his name.) and he was on the road selling Frigidaires most of the time, she knit him a pair of argyle socks. I remember her telling me how hard that was, and that when she was younger, that's what you knit your boyfriend (or husband) -- argyle socks. So every time I think of knitting socks, I think of Honey and her talking about how they were her favorite thing to knit. The other curious thing is, no one seems to ever remember Honey knitting, but she told me she used to knit all the time (in the early days of the 9 children, no doubt). And that got me to thinking -- maybe, just no one noticed. Sometimes I think no one noticed a lot of things about Honey. More on this later, too.

And so, when I was in Maine and trying to SPANK everyone with my mad knitting skills because I can't hike and I can't swim and I can't tie knots or solo canoe or anything, I decided to start a pair of socks. I went to the biggest yarn store I've ever been in in Portland, ME, bought 4 colors of Lopi (rust red, yellow ochre, royal purple and turquoise -- awesome!), a sock pattern, and some dpn's and set to work. I had this idea in my head that I would knit Ember a going away present -- a pair of hiking socks. This would have been a good idea except the Lopi would have felted in her boot and I wasn't a very fast knitter and I have public knitting anxiety, so I basically had one hour of daylight every day to knit -- the socks never got finished. But don't despair, dear reader. I picked up the sock again a few short months later, turned the heel, and started knitting the foot. Did I finish said sock? No. Did I ever even knit the toe? No. Is there a gorgeous knitted hiking sock made out of the world's scratchiest yarn sitting at the bottom of my Rubbermaid? Bingo.

Why this sock issue? Why do I have 3 balls of sock yarn and NO SOCK? In my recent attempt to face things head on in my life and look only forward, I decided to conquer this sock issue. As I'm at a standstill on knitting mom's vest because of lack of funds, I began again. Looking for jobs downstown forced my into my lys and also forced the purchase of 3 balls of Brown Sheep Nature Spun -- Ash, Sapphire, andPeruvian Pink. I was inspired. I got home, dug out my Fiber Trends "Helen's Sock" pattern, and got to work (after making a gauge swatch). Not to be stopped by the loss of one dpn, I kept on going. Three days and about 7 hours of knitting later, I present -- the world's largest sock.

What the hell? I knew this sock would be too big. I knew it when I cast on 56 stitches. I knew it when I picked up the stitches to work the gusset. But in my attempt to look forward and conquer things and actually FINISH a project, I failed to realize something really important -- even though I knitted this sock for reasons other than wanting a pair of socks at the end, I still ended up with a sock. A physical reminder of all the mental googly-poogly I was thinking while knitting. And it turns out that instead of thinking about googly-poogly, I should have been thinking about KNITTING. Be in the moment, Amanda Claire. Be in the moment and not at the toe of the sock.

I might take this giant sock and try and make my dog wear it or something.


Blogger JustMe said...

I think it is more a "sock of memories". When you were knitting it, I imagine you were thinking of your "honey", as you call her.

1:20 PM  

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