One of the things that made blogging less attractive this year was that there were periods of being conscious that we in South Australia had a long period of pandemic luck and consequently, freedom to do things–that was not being shared by loved ones and strangers very close to home–let alone by people in the rest of the world. This is a sock in progress, the first time I went out to a cafe after many months.
Here it is again, on a bus after a long time of no public transport. Unlike all those who lost work in this period, I was offered a few weeks of work, and I see from the trousers in this picture that I am on my way to work rather than being my usual scruffy self.
This is the day I walked the grandbub to sleep in the pram, and then sat in the park for two hours while she slept. That’s how precious the naps of the grandbub are, my friends! My beloved is such a treasure that she responded to a call after some considerable time in which I enjoyed the park, basked in having had any role in the nap at all, and admired the sleeping sweetheart, the trees and the birds… and brought my knitting to me so that I didn’t need to move the bub.
Here they are, ready to be an early birthday present for someone who treasures her handknit socks. They are the latest in the scrap socks odyssey, and happily the recipient likes them. And for those who like details… here are some!
There has not been a complete cessation of sock knitting. These little numbers came about because a friend who had attempted knitting her first sock had declared that she was not able to finish. Her arthritis just would not allow her to do it. She gave me the wool and the needles. I decided I’d knit her some socks from what she had chosen (a Patons ombre sock yarn).
As regular readers will realise, I’m not much for matching and these don’t quite match–but not too shabby by my standards! They kept me company through some epic online conferences run through Zoom, in particular.
There is just a little left for mending when the time comes. I’ve already had reports of them going camping and hiking and hopefully they will be treasured and worn a lot.
Here is the second pair, created entirely from leftover yarn, for the son of a friend. And here is the #tuffsock version recently finished and sent on its way to a happy new home where I thought it would be welcomed in all its wonky glory…
I used to be amazed to realise that other folks could tell the difference between madder and eucalypt dyes just by looking from them. I have recently realised that now I can too (or, at least sometimes).
Some time back, I dyed the last of my Tonne of Wool Tasmanian cormo handspun yarn. It is soooo soft I decided to make for the grandbub with it.
And with little knits, there just isn’t a long story to tell! This person now has an 11 cm long foot, bless her. These are the Baby-Hausschuhe from Ines Sttrickt (available for free, and in several languages).
I have now received a video of the grandbub rolling around on the floor with these on her little feet. And I get calls with narration sometimes, like “now she is throwing them in the air”… “now she is banging them together” and “sometimes they stay on for hours!”
Remember the sock kits I made? Here’s the first one. Something about the rambunctious glory of these leftovers made my fingers tingle, so I just made a start and…
I have been knitting through Zoom events where I’m not taking minutes or some other central role… I admit I am surprised to find that I am watching very little TV in this period.
And the other sock…
These are going to their new happy home tomorrow on the return trip of the person who delivers vegetables from our friends’ organic market garden. They will have some company on their trip… Felted Clogs, from the Knitted Slipper Book By Katie Startzman.
The latest tuffsocks are done. I am spending hours on Zoom at present and it’s great knitting time. I’ve knit these for India Flint, and I had to giggle when I was knitting these while watching one of her online classes, some weeks back. She has a new class all about string making, one of my pleasures in life (and things to do with string). For those who can afford an online class–India is one of the enormous number of folk losing their work at this time and I am sure she would appreciate your support. If you read this blog there is an excellent chance you would love her classes. For those also facing loss of income, or just not able to afford it–there are some lovely free items at the link above too, including a grounding meditation you might enjoy if it’s not too calm at your place right now.
Here they are, finished.
Kangaroo Island “black” merino lamb, dyed with eucalyptus scoparia. And the by-now familiar calf shaping move for inside-boot wear.
The reinforced heel. Silk and cotton blend thread for reinforcement.
Feet knit with Ryeland from Victoria, dyed with walnut hulls. Why did I not reinforce the toe? Mysteries in sock knitting (in other words–I have no idea what I was thinking)! There were a LOT of walnuts from friends who have moved to a house with a huge, beautiful tree. This is the result of my dyeing effort.
Here’s hoping they will warm and cheer India in the winter that is coming under such complicated circumstances.
Are you ready to think about something else? I recommend the EarthHand Gleaners’ Society. They have an entire YouTube channel of awesomeness and storytelling from Canada. The most recent post is Sharon Kallis pitching their central question: ‘how can we be makers without first being consumers?’ and beginning a project of engaging with people who can’t leave home, around what they can make with things that are already in their homes and gardens. It’s quite delightful! She is asking for people to be in touch and tell her what they have to work with so she can help people problem solve what they might like to make. The rest of the channel is full of beautifully produced little films. This one is Sharon Kallis using what she has in her own home and creating her own video, so it has a lovely DIY vibe that is quite different. Maybe you’d like to participate? Her book is just so wonderful, I think this will be fun and include small people and parents beautifully.
Sometimes it seems there is some kind of barrier to commencing a project. I got myself over a hump of not knitting slippers while quite a few people wished I would recently–and I did it by making all the decisions on one day, and starting the next. I gathered wool leftovers in about the right quantities, bagged them up, located needles and pattern, found stitch marker and darning needle… and while I was there, made 4 kits, each in its own bag. This decisively tipped the balance away from other activities and toward slipper knitting in the evening, and slippers are still piling up as a result.
Yesterday my covid 19-best informed and most rigorous friend essentially made the case for my shutting the gate and not going out at all from here on for some time. This is a contribution we can make, she said. We do not need to go out, and we can make sure we are not cases clogging up very much needed health care resources, and nor are we vectors for the virus to spread. Protecting the health care system (and need I say, health care workers, some of whom I am glad to have as friends) is a crucial goal at this time. And I won’t share all else that she said, bracing as it was.
That took some processing, but made complete sense, which is more than can be said for some of our government’s actions. Yesterday was a day on which 1000 people died in Italy alone, in a single day. Also the day I first heard that this virus has reached the Gaza strip. And on which news of lockdown in India reached me. Others face much larger challenges than I do. So I’m sitting with that decision, that has already been made by, or enforced on, so many others already. And I finished a sock.
And I thought, maybe I should make sock kits as well as slipper kits–because I do not own even one single ball of sock yarn anymore, and hours of spinning will be required to create one. I’m sure it will happen. But for now–sock kits that will mean I have simple knitting for all those Zoom meetings and calls. Knitting for long phone calls, maybe, sometimes. And for whatever other situation calls for sock knitting as a reassuring, soothing, fidget-managing, pleasurable activity.
Tough realities lie ahead. And if having a sock ready to go helps me manage them better–that would be a good thing. Anything that helps with rising above, is to be welcomed at a time of global crisis.
I feel sure there are many such stories out there. If you wish to share yours, please do!
For those interested in using up scraps, I have found the series #yearofthescrap at The Craft Sessions blog enchanting. I can only aspire to creating such beautifully designed gloriousness from scraps. I can’t bring myself to care enough to thoughtfully design, rip and design again. And regular readers know, I’m more likely to just charge in and make stuff. For me that works out! But for those who feel differently, or perhaps aspire to better designed scrap projects, or simply seek inspiration for their stash busting hopes–please do wander over.
And–I am thinking it might be good to share resources for when you want to think about something else. When you can’t turn the radio on and hear more about the pandemic. When you can hear your own anxiety about climate change keening alongside the anxiety about the virus. And so forth. Last night I watched Inhabit. It is now available for free–though of course, donate if you are able. It is an exquisitely beautiful film offering a permaculture perspective on preparing for the future. It showcases particular North American practitioners and projects, and it is rather wonderful viewing.
In the beginning, there was a “black” merino pet lamb. Not the finest merino in the flock, probably, but just the same. And then, three ply handspun with a high twist. Soft enough for the leg of a frankensock, I hope. That’s right, it’s not black. It just isn’t white either. Too my way of thinking, it’s oatmeal.
It grew on hot Brisbane days while we were care team for the beloved parents of my beloved (I think that is my indigo dyed dress–yes, it was THAT HOT).
It kept growing as it was carried around from here to there. This looks rather like the carpet at my parents’ house. Calf shaping happened, and then the heel–and the three ply tightly spun Ryeland leg (the Ryeland fleece was a gift from the charming and skilful Hedgerow Weaver. That ball is the kind of result I get winding a ball by hand on a nostepinne (or a wooden spoon if the occasion is really serious), by the way.
Heel reinforced by #5 (Y05) cotton and silk stitching thread from Beautiful Silks. Somehow it seems the right weight and fibre combination for the job, and it was to hand.
Obligatory public transport shot of sock #2!
Here are the soft merino wool cuffs with calf shaping…
Here are the reinforced heels…
And some wooly toes too.
And the whole sock:
I hope they’ll be tough and happy socks for when we get to sock wearing weather again.
There has been a long period with little sock knitting. My life has changed so much that the places I had found in my life to knit socks seemed to have vanished. And in all honesty, there has also been hand stitching, social media, and so forth in some of those crevices. But–things have changed! I think it was partly just asking myself why socks had stalled, and realising that I still want to be knitting socks and perhaps I’m a better person when I do!
I delved into the stash and found that I had some Noro sock yarn! There is a lot I don’t like… the fact that the only shop I can go to in person that stocks it never has a lot of choice; the knots; the fact that it’s not plied; the yarn miles; and of course, the nylon! BUT what I fun knit Noro always is. Wild colour stretches that I would never dream up. These socks actually went to the same delightful person as the Grouse coloured pair and I think they will bring her great cheer in cold winters.
Here they are gracing her table moments after I’ve grafted the second toe!! And churned out in no time flat. And with the *cough* insertion of a small amount of handspun to eke out the last of the ball! Greeted with a grin and profound surprise…