Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Magic of Socks

When I got home last night, I was really in a funk, just basically sad and tired. I have experienced enough real tragedy in my life that I can usually keep things in proper perspective. But the last week has presented a number of saddening or  annoying or frustrating events - cancer, Alzheimer's, why when there is a drought, the weeds survive beautifully but the grass dies, and Republican Candidate for the US Senate, Todd Akin, who asserts pregnancy rarely happens in a "legitimate rape" so there is no need to allow abortion even in the case of rape. Within minutes of getting home, I had a nice cold beer, my black lab Bella was beside me on the couch and one of my two cats, Misti was on my lap. I had a ball of brand new yarn I wanted to try. It wasn't really sock yarn but that never stops me. As long as it has wool and some synthetic to provide sturdiness, I'll knit socks out of it. (I have been using Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns for years. Figure your gauge and pick a size and the charts in this wonderful book will give you a pattern.) I love socks. I find knitting socks so satisfying. I feel in control. I know exactly which size needle to use, with which weight of yarn, to get the tension I want - no tension swatches necessary. And if I am using a new yarn I have never used before and the final size is a bit off, I have the perfect sock family. If it is too big, as long as it is not pink, it goes to my son who loves my hand knit socks. If it is too small, it will fit my daughter. So I cast on a new variegated yarn from Sirdar called Montana. It is DK so it knit up fast. I just wanted to see what the yarn would look like so I did not put in any special pattern, just a regular cuff and stockinette stitch. Some people find plain stockinette stitch boring, I find it relaxing, especially at night when my brain may not be at its sharpest. And to quote Stephanie Pearl MaPhee  - "apparently I am dim enough to be entertained by the evolving patterns of self striping yarn". By bed time, I had a leg done and turned the heel, picked up gusset stitches, and was well on the way to the home stretch. I loved the colours. All was looking a little better in my little corner of the world. Something was under my control and working out the way I wanted. And it was happening quickly. I have a short attention span and love quick things. I was feeling much better. Socks are magical in many ways. If you are having a bad day, I recommend socks.