Sunday, February 28, 2010

The End of Socks

Socks in Progress at the Arabian Sea

First, the sad news. I wasn't able to get together with the Zippy Pins people this last week, we are going to try again this week. I will post their interview after we can finally connect.

Then, the happy news. I get to tell you about my most Courageous Knitting - ever! But before I tell you about that, I should mention why this post is entitled "The End of Socks." I've recently been grieving over two pairs of hand knit socks that have holes in them. Add to that, a little bit of tendonitis hanging on, and you have someone who doesn't want to do knitting on small needles. So I've decided - I'm just not going to knit socks anymore (at least for awhile). I get sad when my socks have holes, and I really don't want to fix them either. Although I love the sock and lace yarns, I think I'd rather go with larger projects now. So I am declaring, THE END OF SOCKS for me. Which will also tie in somewhat to my knitting adventure which you will find out about as you read on.

A year ago, I was either on my way or had just returned home from India. I had been gone for two weeks to go to Goa, India and teach knitting. I had never taught a formal group before and never in another language. What would I start with? What would I bring? Why do they need me to come all the way over and teach?

I found out that the women in Goa did not know how to knit, mostly. Because it is a more tropical area, they didn't have sheep and a fiber community. Also, being from America, I would draw people to come to learn that normally would not do so. Ladies came from as far as two days travel, took time off work and came from different class levels.

At one point, one of the leaders stood up to say that they were women, and their jobs were just as important as men. They needed the support of other women and hoped that they would continue to get together. In the end, they formed their own group that would continue to meet once a month in each others homes. The significance of this is that there are not many groups for women in their area. Much less one that crosses class levels. I felt as if I had a glimpse of a women's revolution that started simply because I showed up with yarn and needles. It didn't matter if I was a good teacher or not, it was only that I came and shared my joy of knitting.

While in India, I of course had brought several projects to work on. One project was a pair of socks. A few of my advanced students were curious about these 2-at-a-time, toe-up, magic loop socks. Not one had seen circular needles before! I showed Lydia (who knew how to knit already) how to knit on the socks. I let her do a few rows, thinking that I could always rip back later. But to my surprise, I could not tell were my stitches ended and hers started.

Lydia trying out sock knitting

I didn't finish the socks on that trip. In fact, I couldn't bring myself to knit on them for months. Each time I would bring them out, memories would surround me. I felt that if I finished the socks, the trip would truly be over. But a couple weeks ago, I found the socks again and found to my surprise, that I could work on them again. I cast off last Friday at Silver Creek Cabin. I wasn't sad to have finished them, because I had made plans. See, I had already decided that I wasn't going to knit socks anymore. These didn't count; they were just finishing work. These socks were going to be framed. I am going to find a shadow box and print some pictures including Lydia knitting on the socks to put in it. It shall be a remembrance of my time there, the wonderful women I met, and an honorable way to end my sock knitting. This is truly the end of socks (at least for now).

The Knitting Class


Thank you to everyone who responded this last week on your courageous knitting! I hope that you are each inspired to try something new. And now, the winner of the egg! I have ran the RNG and it picked #1. So, Congratulations to Andrea! Please send me your address and I will mail it out to you.

The giveaway this week is a skein of sock yarn. This is Colurophobia Superwash Merino Sock yarn in the colorway, Crazy On You. Just because I'm giving up knitting socks, doesn't mean you have to!

In order to enter for this prize, please reply to this post and tell me where was one place that you knit/crochet/spin that was memorable, or where would you like to? Post your reply by Saturday March 6th midnight, CST. I will use a RNG to pick a reply at random. You are welcome to reply more than once, but only your first reply will be entered. Good luck, and have a fun fiber week!


Andrea said...

I haven't been a hardcore knitter/crocheter my whole life so I feel like I definitely missed some great opportunities to knit in cool places. I tend to knit mostly on the left hand side of our sofa where the light's the best. Now, I knit where ever and when ever I can. I take my knitting to school, work, restaurants, and basketball games!

Sparkee Spud said...

Wow that post was really moving. I think right now the most memorable place I have knitting is our Wed night Sit and Knit at our local Whole Foods. There I learned a ton of new techniques. Socks, my first lace shawl, now a sweater. Those ladies really push you to be the best knitter you can be, even if it is a simple thing like a garter stitch scarf, or something as complicated as hairpin lace!

jessecreations said...

I think the most memorable place for me was a coffee shop where I met friends every Friday for knitting, crocheting, and social down time. That was when I lived in Maryland, and I have missed those Friday nights ever since leaving there almost two years ago. I hope to some day knit in that type of environment again, if I ever get the time to find a new knit group!


Trista said...

Awesome post and what a great way to preserve that memory and the socks!!!

The most memorable place I have knit was the labor and delivery room when I went in for my induction with Nikhil. Since I was induced, the contractions weren't bad for a while and I needed to finish a hat I was making for him (I couldn't knit while I was pregnant due to morning sickness, and picked it back up again about a week before Nikhil was born). :-) Definitely memorable.

Kristen said...

I've only been knitting for a few years and haven't done much exotic travel in that time. But in 2 weeks I'm going to Florida to visit my sister and I'm really looking forward to to taking my knitting out into her yard or to the beach and just knitting in the warm sun. I live in Minnesota so it's been a LONG time since I've done any knitting outside.

Allison said...

What an amazing story!
My best knitting location so far was on a bus in Ireland while visiting there with my college friend. I was a really new knitter, but I had managed to buy some really rustic-feeling Irish wool, and I worked on a seed-stitch scarf while we traveled between cities. :)

Michelle said...

The most memorable place for me was in my parent's living room knitting with my Grandmother while she was still alive. I hold the needles strange and she would just watch me knit and slowly shake her head and laugh a little. "What?" I would ask. She would reply,"I don't know how you are doing what you are doing, but it seems to work for you". Then she would go back to her knitting.

MadArtist said...

how great it is to read about your knitting in india! and socks too! this was around the time i was bitten by the sock bug, and knit socks everywhere. the most memorable though, was on the banks of the river where i wait while my son rows.

people were most curious about the yarn - most of them branded it "wool", the needles - i was using one circ and magic looping, and what i was knitting - the most popular guess was a bra!!

i still knit on the riverbank, and you'd be surprised how many of the regulars know quite a bit about sock knitting!!

Janet said...

I love your new blog!

I've knit in lots of places - I used to ride the same train daily and had a whole crew of fellow travellers who rode in the same seats everyday - everyone was always interested in my progress and celebrated the final cast offs with me! I also have a lot of fun knitting in airports and on aeroplanes where people are fascinated especially when you're doing something unusual - the more needles, the more interest!

RachelAnderson said...

So far, the most memoriable place I've knit was at my sister's wedding, while all the women were together getting ready. I was working on a shawl for my mom, that I gave her for her birthday last year. The pattern (traveling woman) even made it in the wedding video. What a wonderful story you had, htough, of shared knitting! I hope for many more years of knitting in memorable places to come for all of us!

beautyredefined said...

I knit often on the bus to/from work. I don't have many "special" places that I've taken my knitting, but I really enjoyed the day where I took my knitting to my back porch and sat in the sun and worked on my socks.

kozmic said...

memorable place I have ever knit was sitting in the sunshine waiting for the Homer Tunnel ( a one way tunnel giving access to Milford Sound)to open our way. Native bush, a postcard perfect day, keas trying to steal /vandalise everything in sight and several bus loads / rental cars of overseas tourists. A lovely Japanese lady approached me and carefully lifted my knitting out of my hands to see what I was doing. She passed my glove to a group of her friends, raced back onto her bus and came back with... HER knitting. Hers was a very intricate intarsia sweater. I can't speak a word of Japanese and her English was 'interesting' but knitting is an international language. With a scrap of paper, much needle pointing and hand waving she showed me how to knit tiny gussets between the fingers to prevent the holes that always seem to form there. And thats how I still knit my gloves 30 years later.


CrazyYarnHarlot said...

Thanks for sharing this story. You are very lucky to have been a part of this. My most memorable knitting moment was when I learned to knit. I live in Idaho, I was on vacation in Alabama and my girlfriend from Connecticut was the one that taught me the basics. I spent the whole week, knitting, frogging, knitting, sleeping, eating, knitting, and hanging out in the hammock by the lake in the sunshine. Somewhere, my daughter still has the lopsided bright pink scarf I made that spring....