Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Knitting A Sock

Making the Heel Flap While Knitting in the Sunlight

Three weeks before Christmas the conversation went something like this:
Me: I am going to knit [unspecified person] socks for their birthday.
Father-in-law: Great. Sounds like a great gift.
Me: Would you be interested in some knitted socks, too?
FIL: I don't know. I have never had knitted socks before.
One Week Later:
Me: I finally got my sock yarn and needles in the mail so I am going to start on making the socks for [unspecified person] right away.
FIL: Am I getting socks for Christmas?
Me: Ummmm...I wasn't planning on it.
FIL: But you said you were making me socks for Christmas.
Me: Wait! What?! I was planning on making you socks for your birthday!
FIL: Why would I want wool socks in June
The second conversation occurred five days ago and until yesterday I had been feverishly knitting a men's size large sock in the hopes of completing them in time. I love my father-in-law and he is notoriously hard to gift to so for once he wants something that I can make and I was determined to do it. Now, you must understand that this was my first sock knitting experience with tiny gauge yarn and needles (it is like knitting with toothpicks) and my father-in-law has big feet. I was making great progress until I dropped a stitch right after turning the heel. I tried to correct it but to no avail. The project began to unravel, very literally, right before my eyes and I had to "frog" it i.e. pull out all the knitting that I had spend 10 tedious hours on.

At that moment I had an epiphany: I was close to tears of frustration for all the time I had already spent only having to start all over despite it all. Four days of a semi-neglected home and family all in the name of a knitted sock. Had I not made the mistake I would have been able to complete the pair before Christmas and been able to happily gift them, but it was seriously stressing me out and taking the joy out of the knitting. I love to knit and I love the challenge of a new project but it was like the "sock that stole Christmas" since my presence was missing from my family.

This year I have had such a strong desire to simplify. Perhaps it is having a foster child and the busyness that brings, or maybe it is a consequence of reading Simplicity Parenting, but I did nearly all my Christmas shopping in November, said "No" to party invitations, and did the very minimum of holiday decorating choosing instead to try to concentrate on spending time with my family. The sock project kind of killed the simplicity bubble.

Right now Ravenna is singing a song that she created whose lyrics primarily consist of "Can I watch the little Merlaid?" She certainly is creative in her requests but I am going to have to say "no", not just because she has watched "The Little Mermaid" a least a dozen times since she got it but because it is time that I got off the computer and spent some time with her. That is what family is all about, right?


  1. I'm with you, I love doing handmade gifts...but the stress and time involved can be problematic. Either I have to work on them all year (or at least several months), or I can't do them. I don't like a stressful christmas season.

  2. Dangit. I lost my comment I wrote! Ugh. Yeah, I totally understand taking so much time on something and then just LOSING it! Argh!

    I've been forced to simplify this year, and I'm really okay with letting something go. I asked my son the other day what Christmas is about and he said, "Jesus." Mission accomplished.