Socks

I was sitting there getting a pedicure and knitting a sock (Yes, I knit while getting a pedicure, but don’t worry; the folks at the nail salon are used to this by now.) when one of the ladies who works there came up to me. “You’re already working on another one? You were working on a pink one when you were here two weeks ago.”

“Two weeks ago?” I returned. “Oh, I finished that one. And then I finished the second one.”

“This is the second one?” I think she couldn’t handle the idea that I’d finished two socks in two weeks. (It’s worth noting that I’d actually been there THREE weeks ago, not two. But that probably wouldn’t comfort her that much. I’d also knit most of the foot of that sock she was talking about while watching a movie a few days after she’d seen me knitting it.)

“No, I finished that on Sunday. This is a new sock.” I showed her the two balls of yarn that I’m using to knit the sock. “I’m striping the pink yarn from those socks with this gray yarn.”

“Cool,” she said. “Stripes, I like it.”


If you only know about my knitting from my blog, you know that I knit mostly sweaters and occasionally blankets and shawls. If you know about my knitting from real life or Instagram, you know about The Socks.

The socks are all more or less the same, a fact that you can discover for yourself if you visit my apartment where you will find the socks scattered haphazardly around. (Madeline, one of my two cats, apparently has some notion that my handknit socks are her children and so she carries them around the apartment [quite lovingly actually] so as to share all of her favorite things with a bunch of…socks.) They’re knit with fingering yarn on size two circular needles. They’re knit top-down starting with about six or seven rows of ribbing, several inches of stockinette, a short-row heel, and a foot knit in plain stockinette. They’re simple socks. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the socks.

But most people who see me knitting them would disagree with you. The socks go almost everywhere with me. See, all of those shawls/sweaters/blankets that I blog about get knit at home, and the socks hang out in my purse. Going to a movie? Perfect! I’ll knit half of a sock while we’re there. Spending most of the day in the car with someone else driving…that’s a great chance to knock out another half of a sock. Getting coffee with a friend? I’ll be able to knock out at least a few rows of a sock. The socks keep my hands busy. And the best part is that there’s a reward at the end. I get a comfortable pair of socks that is perfectly crafted to fit my foot.

If you look at my yarn stash, there are skeins upon skeins (I won’t count them for you, dear blog; neither of us really NEEDS to know how many.) of sock yarn. Sooo many colors…and generally speaking, there’s only one skein of each color. I have many skeins of Plucky Feet by the Plucky Knitter, and most of those will end up being socks someday. Others are going to become sweaters or that Find Your Fade that I need to make; it’s probably (No promises; I have indecision issues going on with my knitting.) going to be on a blue/blue-green spectrum. I like knitting with Feet, and the finished product is great. It wears well, and it’s super comfortable.

I have a couple skeins of Dream in Color’s Smooshy because DIC has these Hamilton-inspired colorways, and that’s so cool. (It is.) I bought a skein of Angelica (see my pink socks at the top? Those are my first pair of Angelica socks! Now I’m making a gray and Angelica striped pair. So. Cool.) and I loved those pink socks, but I knew I’d also need Eliza socks to go with my Angelica socks. So…I put Eliza on my wishlist, waited for it to come back into stock at Eat.Sleep.Knit, and as soon as it was back, I bought the Eliza yarn. And as soon as the Angelica striped socks are done, I get to make myself some blue Eliza socks.

I have a skein of yarn that I bought purely because the example photo on the company website made it look like the yarn was Tiffany blue. I don’t know why, but I love that shade of blue. This wasn’t the first time that I’d bought a skein of sock yarn because it looked like Tiffany blue. It won’t be the last. But when the yarn got here, it was greener than Tiffany blue really is. No matter; it’s a lovely minty green, and I’m hoping that it’ll make excellent socks. (If it doesn’t, that’s okay. Sock yarn also makes great shawls and cowls. Some even makes great sweaters. Case in point: I’m knitting a sweater out of sock yarn right now.)

The point of all this rambling is that I love knitting socks. They’re not as glamorous as blankets or sweaters, but they’re absolutely useful. I love the way that hand-knit socks feel on my feet. They’re warm and cozy. I don’t wear store-bought socks unless absolutely necessary anymore because I prefer hand-knit socks so much. Maybe no one ever sees them. Maybe no one ever knows that I’m wearing a pair of green-yellow socks with my outfit that has no green or yellow in it. Or maybe no one knows that my pinky-swear socks perfectly match my pinky-swear sweater. I know. And to me, that’s all that matters.

Sometimes it’s fun to have a secret…even if that secret is that your socks are in a colorway named after a Founding Father’s wife.

Advertisements

FO: The Idiomatic Stripe Parade

At some point in the past six or eight months, I started thinking that it would be really nice to have more lightweight sweaters-sweaters that I could wear in the spring and fall. Maybe it might even be nice to have something lightweight that I could throw on over a dress on a summer evening or in an overly air conditioned restaurant. Now I could buy such garments, but I wanted more hand-knit garments of that ilk.

Now I had a goodly amount of fingering weight yarn at that time, and I’ve accumulated more since. But I had to decide what to make with them. I had three skeins of Plucky Primo Fingering in Pinky Swear and two skeins of the same in Sprinkles on Top, and I knew that they needed to become something together. Somehow, I found myself led back to Amy Miller‘s fabulous Stripe Parade. I decided to use the knitting directions for Stripe Parade but play with the striping directions. And in my humble opinion, the result was a real winner.

This sweater took a long time (over four months) to knit up. Here’s the thing: It was not just because fingering sweaters take longer than worsted or dk. It was actually largely because I was working on Angostura, Oaxacan Rose, and the Bounce Blanket while I was working on this. I was not making this the focus of my knitting until about the past two weeks. And this baby flew once it got to be the center of attention. So…there will definitely be more fingering sweaters in my future.

This sweater includes numerous modifications. I cast on for the smallest size possible but then knit it to fit a size 36 bust. I wanted to raise the neckline, which I did, and I really like this modification. I’m tentatively planning another revisit to this pattern later this year, and I think that I’ll do this again.

IMG_2805

My real play came with the stripes. The yoke was a time for me to play with stripes, and I didn’t really have a rhyme or reason to what and how I did the striping. Then, after I divided for sleeves, I started a silly but fun pattern. The first stripe in Pinky Swear was 14 rows, then four rows of Sprinkles on Top. Then came 13 rows of Pinky Swear followed by four rows of SOT and then 12 rows of Pinky Swear…do you see the pattern? I kept this up until I had a stripe of four rows of Pinky Swear followed by four rows of SOT. The next row in Pinky Swear was five rows and I began increasing rows of Pinky Swear again. I really like the effect this created, and I want to play with this kind of striping again sometime.

IMG_2811

I have to say that this really is the sweater that I wanted it to be. The sleeves are a little baggier than I’d planned for, but that’s the only thing that I don’t LOVE…and it’s my own fault. The fabric is delightful-soft and light, and it reminds me yet again why I love Primo Fingering as a base. It’s a nice sweater for wearing in my overly air conditioned office. I’m thrilled that I have something that I love so much, and I definitely plan to continue making myself lightweight sweaters for a few months.

IMG_2810

On my third revisit to this pattern, I still really love it. I’m planning to visit it again as I said earlier, and I can’t wait to see what I do with it next.

IMG_2802

Raveled here.

For YOU Are GOD

Over the past several months, I’ve been struck time and again by one prayer during the Divine Liturgy. It’s a prayer prayed by the priest. It’s intended to be spoken softly. It falls at the beginning of the Anaphora, and I suspect that it is easy to overlook. But of late, I’ve found myself hearing it time and again. The prayer becomes clearer and clearer each time that I hear it. (All added emphasis is mine.)

It is proper and just to sing to You, bless You, praise You, thank You and worship You in every place of Your dominion; for You are God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and ever the same; You and Your only begotten Son and Your all Holy Spirit. You brought us into being out of nothing, and when we fell, You raised us up again. You did not cease doing everything until You led us to heaven and granted us Your kingdom to come. For all these things we thank You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit; for all things that we know and do not know, for the manifest and hidden blessings that have been poured out upon us. We also thank You for this liturgy which You are pleased to accept from our hands, even though there stand before You thousands of Archangels and tens of thousands of Angels, Cherubim and Seraphim, six-winged, many-eyed, soaring with their wings…

For You are GOD…as I prayed through Liturgy one day, I just found my mind hooking onto that phrase. This is God who has brought us to this Liturgy, to this Altar. We are here to worship Him. And what kind of a God is this whom we worship? A God who is invisible and incomprehensible. We can’t see him. We can’t fathom the depths of His very Being. He’s ever-existing and ever the same. He is boundless, eternal, and changeless-all claims that no mortal could ever make. You and Your Only-Begotten Son and Your All-Holy Spirit: We worship the Trinity, one in essence. We are drawn to this Altar, to this Supper by that God.

And what has this God done for us? He called us out of nothingness into being. He didn’t need us. He chose to make us. He chose to want us. When we had fallen, He raised us up. Heck, He created us knowing that we could fall. He called us into existence at a total risk to himself. And then he kept going-the Cross, the Tomb, the Resurrection, the Ascension, Pentecost, the Church, and the promise of the Kingdom to Come. He has done so much for us out of an absolute love for us.

And what is our response? Boredom, frustration, anger, and so on; we humans too often ignore and neglect these amazing gifts. We have so many blessings manifest and hidden, as the prayer says, and we choose to overlook them in favor of our own desires or our own emotions.

But what is God’s response to our rejection? He continually seeks after us. He continually loves us. He pours out His love upon us so richly, and we ignore it. But He continues to love us. He continues to seek us. We may forget that He is God, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and ever the same. But He will not forget us. He will not abandon us.

We must return to Him from wherever we choose to wander. We must give Him right worship for all that He has done for us both manifest and hidden. For He is God. He is inconceivable, incomprehensible, ever-existing, and ever the same. He is also the Lover of our souls, and the One who desires and deserves nothing but the sacrifice of our humbled, contrite hearts in His service.

Rublev’s Trinity via Wikipedia

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.

-John 14: 18-20

Happy Pentecost!

I’ll Tell You What I Want

I love The West Wing. I’d gladly name a daughter Ainsley if I could find a man who would let me. (Ainsley means “Anne’s lea,” which is a great reference for this St. Anne loving lady. Ainsley Claire, tell me that isn’t a lovely name. And it lets me name a daughter after St. Anne and St. Clare; it’s a win.) I love the character development and the camaraderie between the show’s characters. One of my favorite things about the show is the relationship between Josh Lyman and Donna Moss.

Josh knows that Donna is almost always the most competent woman person in the room. (Except when Margaret or Abbey are in the room; those women get it done.) He knows her strengths and her weaknesses, and he knows how to use them-for better or worse. He doesn’t always take her seriously, but he always respects and values her opinions when it matters. When the chips are down, Josh is there for Donna. He’s not a perpetual white knight or a saint in a stained glass window. He makes fun of every guy she even considers dating. He teases her about all sorts of things. He mocks the fact that she’s from Wisconsin. When he’s angry with her, he makes sure that she knows it, and he is not fair to her or kind. Basically, he’s a normal angry person.

There is a point in the show where Josh feels that Donna has broken his trust. Now, he made some mistakes that led to this situation, but angry people are seldom reasonable. He chooses to overlook how he may have contributed to the situation. However, he does look at how much he misses Donna. He is honest about how valuable she was to him. But he’s hurt, and he feels betrayed. So he pushes her away. That’s not ideal or desirable, but it is realistic.

Josh doesn’t always understand his assistant/friend/life support, and I think that’s part of the beauty of the relationship. Donna is a little bit crazy, and that’s why I both like her and relate to her.  Josh doesn’t expect to understand Donna all the time-or even much of the time, and after a certain point, she doesn’t expect that of him either. That’s real life, after all. Your partner doesn’t always understand you, and they’re likely to tease you once they know you well.

Similarly, Donna understands Josh better than he understands himself. (To be fair, I’m not really sure that he understands himself at all. Let’s look at how long it took him to realize that he was interested in Donna if we need evidence.) She knows what he needs and how to help him succeed. She continues trying to help him even when he rejects her help. And if he pushes her away, she finds other ways or other people to help him in her stead.

There’s something I find really appealing about this relationship. (And it’s not just the Vaseline-screen romance of a fictional story.) I love the give and take, the banter of this relationship. These are two flawed human beings who are trying their best to do the right thing with their lives. In the context of the various stages of their relationship, that means that they’re trying to do what is best for one another as much as possible.

It doesn’t always work out, and at times, they don’t treat each other in the best way. But for the most part, they respect one another, and they want what’s best for the other. Yes, Josh can be selfish. Donna can be petty when she’s irked. They’re human; the show makes that remarkably clear to the viewer. But it’s a realistic relationship.

When I look at the fictional relationships I enjoy from modern television, I see realistic relationships. Josh and Donna are flawed humans who try to do their best. They’re fun. They’re witty. They’re real. And I love it.

But more than that, I want it. I want that relationship.

Except…I really want to be Donna with Josh’s job. I really do. But that’s a different post.