The Socks from Hell

I have conquered the Socks from Hell.

It is not so much that I have subjugated these hand-knitted demons to their knees so much that I have brought them to my feet. Snugly, quietly, they embrace my very soles, and you would never guess how much anguish, toil, trouble, and sheer screaming frustration it took to get them there.

No, this has nothing to do with socks. But it's peaceful, and we need some peaceful right now. Homeland 1 by Steve Henderson.


I know, if you're like my non-knitting sister you have no sympathy to dispense, totally not understanding why someone would take two sticks, a bunch of yarn, and several months to create something -- one stitch at a time -- that you can buy in bags at Wal-Mart.

She'll never get it, but I know that some of you do:

I knit because it's fun, a mantra I repeated to myself on this particular project, which involved stranded color work, a funky stripe that separated the top of the sock from the bottom, and a removable sole -- the latter is really true, except I didn't want it removed at the time.

The whole project stretched my skill level while it simultaneously didn't stretch enough to fit over my foot. I call it the Cinderella Evil Step-Sister effect because my heel kept getting in the way. And while I was in the mood to cut something up, it definitely wasn't my heel.

More peaceful. This project is difficult indeed, and it's important to rest and meditate. Homeland 2 by Steve Henderson


But that was the least of my problems -- the socks not fitting. Every possible minor mistake -- using the wrong color, miscounting, dropping stitches, randomly changing needle sizes, losing my place in the chart; there are myriad others -- I made, multiple times. If there is any truth to the old adage that we deliberately insert a mistake in an artisan project so that God won't be offended by our perfection, then I am blessed by God indeed, because there is no way He would confuse what I made with what He can come up with.

But I kept plugging away at the damned things (they really are; I verbally consigned them elsewhere on a regular basis), ignoring the Norwegian Artist's concerned looks over the top of his book. After 30 years he wisely knows when not to speak.

The good thing about the entire project is that the house stayed amazingly clean, because when I mentally gave myself a choice between working on the socks or swishing out the toilet, the toilet consistently won. Or the dishes. Vacuuming. Pairing socks -- other people's socks, the kind you buy in bags at Wal-Mart.

And after a restful time of swishing, I returned to the arena, determined to not be beaten by an inanimate object -- or two inanimate objects -- and quarter inch by precious quarter inch we advanced, the socks and I, until that blessed moment when I set the last stitch and wove in the final strand of yarn.

Done, by gum, and with a minimum of finagling and finesse, on my feet, vanquished.

Aren't you feeling calm? I am. Of course, it helps that the socks are done and on my feet. Homeland 3 by Steve Henderson


I am woman. Hear me roar. I rule, and command.

Okay. So now that's done, and it's time to start another project, because that's why I knit -- it's fun, fulfilling, and addictive -- far more so than swishing toilets -- and I just can't stop punishing myself.

Maybe there's something to my sister's way of thinking after all . . .


Carolyn Henderson,


Middle Aged Plague


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