“Oh no! Not more SOCKS!”

The above was spoken about a year ago by my friend Shana’s daughter as we settled down for bedtime stories and knitting.  She always wanted to see what I was working on, was always excited about a new project.  But just more SOCKS?!  Boring! (well, when you’re 6 anyway :-P)

My point is, these socks I’m about to show you aren’t just “more SOCKS?!”; they’re different.
I, like many other knitters, tie memories into my knitting.  The “more SOCKS?!” socks were the purple Nutkins, and looking at them today reminds me of that evening, the Dora stories and the special because-Katie’s-babysitting-us bedtime snack of M&Ms.  My Sideways Spencer sweater reminds me of a springtime trip to Thousand Hills with Jeff and my parents, and every time I wear my Invisibility Shawl I think of a chilly trip to Chicago and wandering Michigan Avenue.

Not all knitting is blessed by such positive memories, of course – at least, not yet.  The Diamondy socks? Sure, I like them well enough, but I only worked on them on the train and moreover, they haven’t accompanied me on any grand adventures (yet).  Looking at them doesn’t bring on any memories or emotions (unless “ooh squishyprettysoft! counts as an emotion).

I always love it when I have memories of a knit before I’ve even finished it – progress memories, not just FO memories.  And I DO have progress memories of these:

The pattern is “Yukon Leaves” by Lela Conrad, and the yarn was a custom job by Rachel of Dyeabolical Yarns.

They had an inauspicious start – I wound the skein and grabbed the pattern on my way out the door to work one morning – but now they’ve traveled to Minnesota and Bennett Spring MO and back.

I knitted on them in our hotel in Minneapolis, relaxing after a long day at the Mall of America.  Then – 1/2 of the first leg done – I set them aside until we were back in the car heading down to Bennett Spring for the annual family gathering on my dad’s side.

Jeff and I talked (amazing how we never run out of things to say, or get sick of each other), and I knitted, until it was too dark to see.  But by then we were almost to our destination.

I spent that Friday night, and a large part of Saturday too, sitting quietly off to the side, knitting and listening to my family talk around me.  I finished the foot of the first sock after dinner on Saturday – before I’d even realized it was coming! (I love when that happens)

Everyone passed the sock around and admired it, my cousin even hinting that he’d like a pair of his own (probably not with the purple or the lace, though).  As another cousin showcased some of his art (shameless family plug – here! here!) and discussed its process and meaning, I also explained my own creative process – how I requested the custom dye job from Rachel, how I chose the perfect pattern to go with it.  As I talked, I cast on for the second sock, and by late Saturday night I was midway through its leg.

Sunday morning I knitted after breakfast, and as everyone said their goodbyes later that morning (just like every year), I finished a heel flap and turned the heel.

I knitted my way up Highway 54 and across I-70, and then last week on the train (my progress slowed considerably when I was limited to 15-minute spurts) I finished the second sock.  Last night I kitchenered the toe and wove in ends, then Jeff and I headed outside for a modeling session.

Now I’ve got a pair of socks, not that extraordinary by any typical measure.  But every time I look at them I’ll think of watching Nick at Nite in our Minneapolis hotel room, the Osceola cheese and (turkey, just for me!) sausage sticks my grandmother always serves, and even – yes – how I need to get my cousin’s shoe size so I can make him his own pair :-D.  These socks come pre-loaded with happy memories; something you can’t say about that $2 pair from Wal-Mart.

Knitting:  it’s more than just yarn and pointy sticks.

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