Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Threads

This morning I saw a weather forecast from Farmer's Almanac for the coming winter. It's grim. Back in the days when the Farmer's Almanac was the Weather Channel of its day, such a forecast was a warning to immediately make preparations for bad weather. For the women, that meant extra canning and stocking up on food supplies. For the men, it meant chopping wood, repairing the family buildings and possessions, even possibly stocking extra food for their animals. And of course, the women prepared their families with warm clothing.

With the advent of sock knitting machines--and the easy availability of socks--home sock knitting faded away. In recent years, there's been an increased interest in sock knitting. Those of you who follow my blog know the hunk and I have started knitting socks. I'm sure many of you are scratching your heads and asking, "Why?" As my son commented, "Just go to Wal-Mart..."

But there are lessons to be learned (aside from the actual knitting) when you sit down to knit a sock. As many of you know, I write romances and I started knitting socks as something of a research project because one of my heroes was a sock knitter. I wanted to be accurate when I mentioned any actions on his part that referred to knitting socks. Right off the bat, I discovered my hero was possessed of great wells of patience. Otherwise, he would have thrown the needles and yarn across the room (exactly as the hunk did this last weekend).

Then there's the necessity for concentration. Distraction will result in unraveling huge hunks of sock because you've skipped a step or knitted when you should have purled or did some other boneheaded thing. A couple weeks back I posted a pic of my sock when I did exactly that. Time was lost while I picked out my mistake.

And of course, the most important thing is the ability to FINISH. There are a lot of things we attempt in life that somehow never get finished. We grow bored. We surrender to fatigue. We lose interest. In the end, we cast the project to the side and move on to something else. When knitting socks, there are numerous points that tempt us to quit. But if we do...we don't have socks to warm our feet.

Imagine those days gone by when the entire family depended on one or two people to knit enough socks to warm their feet through winter. What if they'd quit? Given up? Especially for the pioneers, it wasn't a matter of running down to the store to buy a pair. Most folks did without unless they could afford to buy a pair from someone in their village. Even then, it was an expensive proposition.

Socks do more than warm the feet. They protect the feet from sweaty shoes. And keep the feet clean. Guard them from bacteria. Provide a cushion against blisters. Yeah. Socks are more important than we think...

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