My growing stack of hand-knit socks.
I’ve been distracted lately by a ball of fluff. No, it isn’t a new skein of angora or merino yarn or fiber for spinning – it’s Tiger, our new puppy!
It has been many years since I had a dog. After my last dog died, I simply couldn’t go through that heartbreak again. Also, my son had mild episodes of asthma and I didn’t want to complicate things for him. So the years went by until we became empty-nesters. Then the obsession for a dog intensified.
At first, I causally perused pictures of puppies online. Then I started “liking” all those I ❤️ Dogs posts and heart-wrenching dog survival stories on Facebook. I started dropping in at our local SPCA. Then I started earnestly searching for dogs on Pet Finder and online rescue organizations and on Craigslist. That’s how I found Tiger. One day after work, I took a detour and visited a litter of four male Maltishipoos (part Maltese, Shih Tzu and Poodle). And there was Tiger.
We call him Tiger because he pounces on everything. He pounces on his squeaky toys, my slippers and the light bugs when he’s outside at night. But mostly, he likes to sit at my feet while I’m on the computer. If I shift over a few inches, eventually he does too. And he loves tummy rubs.
Of course, I had to knit something for him. I went through my stash and gathered enough leftover yarn for a small blanket.
It’s a simple stockinette stitch pattern using doubled up yarn for thickness and a seed stitch border.
I think he likes it.
Now to start on knit doggie sweaters and crochet toys. Any pattern suggestions?
Shortly after the holidays, I bound off a couple of pairs of knitted socks. Who thought making socks would be so exciting? For the first set, I used the popular Monkey Sock pattern by Cookie A. I understand why so many knitters use this sock pattern. It is easy and produces a sock with interesting undulations.
For the yarn, I used the skein I bought at Seaport Yarn in New York City. I really loved the purples and blues mingled together. When I was done, they badly needed some blocking.
I looked all over the web for a pair of sock blockers and found several good candidates, but frankly, didn’t want to spend the money. So I made my own! After perusing several “how-to” articles, I settled on How to Make Your Own Sock Blockers. The instructions were clearly laid out and the materials easy to find – placemats from the dollar store!
After cutting them to size, I used a hole puncher and some leftover yarn to tie a loop so I could hang them up to air dry. The tops of the blockers are a bit topsy-turvy but they did the trick.
The pattern is more visible after blocking.
For the next pair, I wanted to use a self-striping yarn. This bright red, yellow and black yarn is from the Yarn Barn, which I posted about recently.
I wanted a simple stockinette stitch pattern to showcase the self-striping yarn and found Susan B. Anderson’s sock pattern.
They are a perfect fit!
There’s a third pair of socks that I need to finish and another pair on the needles. I have gone sock raving mad!
I’ve been furiously knitting socks lately. As soon as I weave in the ends of one, I immediately cast on another.
I have always found knitting to be soothing. As I knit, I can feel worries and angst slowly evaporate. Mostly, focusing on knitting helps me drown everything else out. For those moments, I am in a state of calm.
Lately, a sadness has enveloped me. Nothing has happened. On the contrary, I am living a blessed life surrounded by people whom I love and who love me. I want for little. I am very fortunate. But I am sad. Often.
It comes and goes. At this moment, all is joyous and warm. But some days, just getting out of bed and dressing seems like an insurmountable challenge. Maybe it was a case of the holiday blues. Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe it’s just life.
The one activity that helped me through the holidays was knitting. Knits, purls, yarn overs and slipped stitches forced me to focus. The rhythmic motions of my hands on the needles soothed me. I was creating something and in that process of creation I found peace.
I have read articles (like this one and this one) where experts share results of research studies on the positive effects that crafts like knitting have. They serve to reinforce what I already knew – knitting is like “chicken soup for the soul.” Knitting to me is comforting. And it snaps me out of my doldrums. A simple pair of socks is a victory to celebrate.
There is something incredibly special and satisfying about making something with my own hands. I am reminded of a few lines from one of my favorite poems:
And in time, I plant geraniums
I tie up my hair into loose braids,
And trust only what I have built
with my own hands.
From Beneath the Shadow of the Freeway by Lorna Dee Cervantes
The last sock that I knit fit perfectly. Now to cast on the second. A warmth fills my heart and a smile lights up my face as I reach for the yarn and needles.