Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Joy of Socks

I knit.

That's a sock, photographed on the seat of a French railway carriage attached to a small steam engire that goes around the Baie de la Somme, slowly, after half an hour of apparently aimless chuffing. This sock is now complete and I'm 15cm into knitting its friend. (Technical stuff for knitters: it's made with bamboo yarn that I got from in the US, a great place that sells ends of batches at low prices.)
I saw a great t-shirt advertised on Facebook this week that says "I knit so I don't kill anyone". Although I don't think I'm in danger of murdering my friends, family or colleagues, there are times when knitting definitely relieves the danger of going bonkers. Christmas, for example. Or while waiting for a small French steam engine to get itself going in the morning.

I often use my knitting time to think. If I've got to work out a way to finish a chapter, unravel a knotty problem or just calm down a bit, out come the needles. This week I've been teaching a little lad to knit. He has learning difficulties and I really didn't knink he would take to it. Usually he races around like a puppy on Mars Bars with his volume set on 11. Instead he's been sitting down next to me repeating our mantra:
"Through the stitch, round the back and through the needles, down down down and make the loop, you are the weakest link, goodbye!" (Knitters will understand.) If your hands are occupied with something constructive, it seems to quieten your mind. It works with me, and it seems to be working with him, although I can't leave him alone with it, or stitch slippage will occur and holes will appear.

If I costed in the time it takes to knit a pair of socks they would come out at around £1000 a pair, but that's one of the other reasons why we ought to do it. You appreciate your clothes when you've put that much effort into them. Just going to the shops and buying them, where's the satisfaction in that?

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