Knitting up my love

26 Apr

In the past year, I have knit myself five pairs of socks and two half-pairs.

A year is not a long time, and that number seems high, considering that I also work, have a family, and knit other things. I could easily polish off those last two pairs in a solid week of concentrated knitting and give myself a pair of handknit socks for each day of the week, but somehow that feels a bit selfish.

I have people in my life – family and friends – who mean a great deal to me, and it’s important that I find ways to share my love with them, and give back the support they give me. This includes cooking, letters and cards, keeping in close touch, etc. But the best way I can think to show my love is to knit.

I have knit myself the better part of seven pairs of socks in the last year, and I have knit a complete nine pairs for people I love, not to mention sweaters, hats, scarves and mittens. When I cast on a new project, or I’m just about to finish an item for myself, I get the itch to create something full of love and then let it go. It’s not always socks, but most often it is.

What better way to tell someone how much you care about them than to give them not one, but two coordinating handknit items? Tens of thousands of teeny stitches, each one filled with love, and they get to wrap it around their feet, and have that love carry them. For their comfort, you are giving them 20-40 hours of time, attention and skill, and saying, “Here, please walk on these. Stick them in your boots, scoot them across your floor, stretch them, tear them, wear them until they fall apart. And don’t worry, I’ll make you more.”

I never feel sad about letting go of a pair of socks, but I do feel sad when the recipient doesn’t wear them. As sock knitters, we put our love into yarn and form it to the shape of a foot, and when it doesn’t go anywhere, all that love just hangs out in the universe with nothing to do and no one to support. We guard ourselves against letting that much love go without a purpose again, and some people don’t get more pairs of socks. It isn’t that we don’t love them anymore, it’s that we love them too much to let it go to waste, and maybe we need to build more trust and security before we can expect them to wear our love on their feet.

But the people who do walk around on their handknit love are rewarded with so much more. That’s why there haven’t been many updates on Sockilism in the past week. I’m putting my love into something new. My needles are busy and my heart is full, which is good because I have a long ways to go.

I want to leave you with a quote that has been on my mind a lot lately, and will hopefully carry me through this project and back to my own two half-pairs of socks:

“Let me think about the people that I care about the most, and how when they fail or disappoint me I still love them, I still give them chances, and I still see the best in them. Let me extend that generosity to myself.” – Ze Frank

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