Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wool S-AAHH-cks (or, Why Knit Your Own?)

The weather turned cold a couple days ago. We built the first all-day-long fire in the old cookstove and I started hunting for my sweaters. My feet were cold. I found my newly finished wool socks and wore them all day for the first time. AAAHH, how nice they felt! How thankful I was for these socks. And it wasn't the first time. I do believe these humble socks have given me much more than the many hours I put into them. And I think their story illustrates the benefits of making things yourself. It's the process that makes the product special.
I enjoyed spinning this light grey wool from sheep raised right down the road. I had the thrill of trying out a couple different shades of green Kool Aid on my yarn. It worked-I liked the color variations. It was fun to see how the colors came together in different ways as I knit. I marveled yet again at the short rows that magically turn the heel. Heels never cease to amaze me. I'm grateful for all these fun discoveries.
But even more than these I'm thankful for the socks keeping my hands busy during a summer of numerous hospital and nursing home visits and dreadful diagnoses. They were my constant companions as my dad lay dozing in his bed next to my chair. Always I had the comforting monotony of the yarn and the needles. They distracted my eyes when I couldn't look him in the face or when I didn't want him to see my tears. They gave my hands something mindless to fidget with when my mind was racing and there wasn't room in my head for a more creative project. My dad noted their progress each day. They gave the nurses and me something to talk about. They were truly a godsend during this difficult time.
And now they're done. They're pretty, they're practical and there's not a pair in the world like them. And did I mention how yummy they feel?
I wore them today when I visited my dad. I am his nurse now. As he lay on his bed I remembered I had my new socks on. I slipped off my shoe and threw my foot up on the bed. "Hey, you finished them!" he said.
So as I wear my new socks I think about all that went into them and all I got (and am still getting) out of them. I think I came out ahead. "Why knit socks?" a friend asks me. This is why.
So now I'm anxious for another pair. Here's my newest sock project. I wonder what these will give me?