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February 14, 2006

Go Team Wales - Day Four

A true athlete looks beyond the pain.

So today began the fourth day. I'm feeling it in my upper arms. You laugh? You try to grip sticks of wood half the diameter of chopsticks in your fingertips and maneuver string with them for hours at a stretch.

Sorry. I'm a bit testy. You see, it's 12:31 in the morning. In five hours I will begin nursing a child who will pop up, bright and shiny-eyed, and demand, "Time for a snack? Pretzels and cheese and crackers?" And yet. I am sitting here, writing this, after performing what, to my untested mettle, was the scariest task so far.

Sock surgery.

So, I'm bopping along, I've knitted a fair bit on the heel of the first sock (I like that. "First sock." Sounds like there might be more than one, eventually, doesn't it?) and I'm thinking that I might actually reach my goal of finishing the heel tonight when my happy progress jerks to a sudden and very unhappy stop.

"Chris," I say, "Do you see this?" I hold out the sock.

"This here?" he replies, pointing exactly to the spot I was afraid was glaring like blue eyeshadow but had hoped, deep down, that his non-knitting eyes would miss and, therefore, that I could deem the... blemish... acceptable.

But no, Chris saw the blemish, he saw the bad thing I had made and then he capped off the comment with the kiss of death. "But it's a handknitted sock, it's okay."

No, no, no. This is not how it works. If it looks homemade, somehow to me that conjures up construction-paper-macaroni-and-glitter art and unidentifiably shaped ashtrays made of clay. Patronizing or bemused responses to my happy, femme gold feet. This is not acceptable.

I considered the issue. In front of me scenes from the Mustafar fight scene of Revenge of the Sith played out, lightsabers flashing. I contemplated ripping out the inch of heel I'd meticulously fashioned.

Here's the problem:
Twisted stitches

See? See? Right there. If I could Photoshop in an arrow I would. That line of twisted stitches, about a third of the way up from the needles, created when I connected the sides, top and bottom of the heel into a round of continuous stitches.

Chris goes to bed. It's late. I stare at the blasted object. I consider just beginning another sock. I consider leaving it until tomorrow. I consider ignoring it, but I can't do any of these things, and I won't rip back, for fear of losing a tiny, pattern-reliant stitch in the mayhem. I take a breath. Rummage through my crochet hooks for one tiny enough to pass as a dental tool. Pop off the first stitch. And rip down.
Sock surgery

It's more like sock physical therapy than surgery, really. I use the needle to catch and untwist the errant rebel stitch and begin remaking the row of stitches above it. I do this for about twenty rows of stitches, finding my rhythm and becoming one with Sage's voice as I listen to archived episodes of Quirky Nomads.

Then, it's done.
After recovery

I finish the remaining six rows of the heel, and tentatively pat myself on the back for having reached my second goal of The Plan, and then stop. Blast. I gave myself two days for the heel, didn't I?

I may be a crabby Valentine, but I'll be a Valentine with a completed heel.

Posted by Karen at February 14, 2006 01:08 AM


You did good, my crabby Valentine.

Posted by: Chris at February 14, 2006 06:48 AM

Wow. I have no idea what you were fixing, but I'm glad you fixed it. :)

Also, you write beautifully; please keep doing so.

Posted by: deb at February 14, 2006 07:53 PM

I agree with Deb. Your writing is really engaging and a pleasure to read. Also, you and I are so opposite about things. Not in a bad way. Just in a different way. First, I can't see the mistake, and I really, really looked. Second, I would probably end up treasuring it as evidence that the sock was really made by hand.

It's reminding me of a section of the novel Chocolat that resonated with me: "I envy the table its scars, the scorch marks caused by the hot bread tins. I envy its calm sense of time, and I wish I could say: I did this five years ago. I made this mark, this ring caused by a wet coffee cup, this cigarette burn, this ladder of cuts againt the wood's coarse grain. This is where Anouk carved her initials, the year she was six years old, this secret place behind the table leg. I did this on a warm day seven summers ago with the carving knife."

I like imperfections a lot. But I admire your dedication and ability to restore peace to yourself.

Posted by: Deana at February 14, 2006 08:57 PM

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