Thursday, March 22, 2012

handing it over to my favorite canadian. well, besides anne shirley.

although...she’s fictional…so my favorite live canadian?

this is big, people.

this is my first ever guest post, here at googiemomma. the first time i’m handing the reigns of my little blog baby over to someone else.

but—what a spectacular someone else it is! a little background: ana showed up here commenting away a long long time ago. way back when i first started blogging. and when i visited her blog i was instantly smitten.
and in time i gained courage from her—courage to worry less about that pesky shift key. ;) i found myself as a new blogger fighting between getting my thoughts down on paper keyboard quickly and making sure all my ‘i’s were dotted and ‘t’s were crossed—both figurative and literal. once i visited ana and saw she’d so brazenly done away such things as capitalization i thought “hey! if she can do it, so can i!”
of course, she did it more out of necessity and i do it more out of laziness the need for speed…but still…

anyway, ana's got a calm, easy way with words that makes you feel like she’s wrapped you up in a fuzzy warm (hand-knit) blanket.

and the pictures she takes are stunning—nevermind the fact that she’s using a point and shoot camera!


lesson learned: it’s not the equipment, it’s the operator.

she does home projects, she reads, she draws


…but here’s the reason i’ve forced politely asked ana to guest post here today: when i think of knit, she’s the first one to come to mind.


gorgeous, right?

and through it all she has just the right sense of dry humor that keeps me hooked.

okay, that’s enough…i’ll turn it over to ana now...


10 reasons why i knit ... socks

when googiemomma asked me to write about knitting, i was pretty excited to share my love for the craft with her dedicated googie-monsters (she is kind of a rockstar here right? like lady gaga, but with spray paint and scissors in hand?).

but what to knit? what could i possibly share that would knock your collective socks off?

obviously i could write about knitting socks. but then, the reality of this little thing called a "deadline" hit me, and i realized that i (unlike goddess googie here) can not churn out one incredible project after another, let alone a measly pair of socks in time to share it with you all. seriously. how does she do it?

so while i was considering all of this i began wondering, possibly quite rightly, who the heck would want to read about socks? other than knitters, who don't need to be convinced. they're already ignoring you and counting out stitches on that gorgeous pair coming to life from a skein of hand-dyed noro.

and so, with deadline looming, i began to write. i realize that i write to meet my pressing desire to be understood. why do i knit? why do i knit socks? why, when i could purchase a pack of ten socks for under ten bucks? why, when it's the year 2012 and there is no urgent need for wool socks for the soldiers overseas knee-deep in the muddy trenches?

knit socks ww1 propaganda

why? well, i have 10 good reasons why...and maybe, just maybe, i can convince you too.

1. because it's a challenge. once you learn the basic stitches in knitting, and you knit your prerequisite number of washcloths and scarves, you want something more challenging.

a sock is just that, it brings knitting into the third dimension. you're no longer knitting a flat piece, you're knitting a tube! and the tube does this neat little bendy thing at the heel. how does that happen?! i decided to knit my first sock just as much for the challenge as i did out of curiosity. how does one "turn the heel" of a sock? more on that later.

2. because it's a small, portable project. it's not unwieldy like a sweater or blanket, and it can fit neatly into your bag when you're out and about. it also doesn't require long pointy needles (just short pointy ones), so you know, lawsuits are less likely to occur while knitting in public. important.

3. because hand knit socks are comfy and unlike any other sock. the knits and purls massage your feet, there is no seam, the cuff hugs your leg gently without cutting off your circulation...because you made it that way. alright, nevermind the first few tries that were either large enough to fit an elephant (er, honest i meant for it to be used as a stocking, just hang it by the fireplace there at christmas and we'll never mention it again.) or too small that they don't fit anybody. it's ok, you'll get it just right eventually.

handmade socks are warm when they need to be, cool when they need to breathe, they can be quirky or conservative. they are one of a kind, and in a world of cookie-cutter haircuts, shoes and homes, a bit of individuality is a welcomed change. even if no one knows it or sees it, you'll know they're there, tucked into your shoes, just peeking out from the hem at your ankles.

4. because there are so many ways to knit a sock. countless books and patterns have been devoted to sock knitting. and if you're not one to appreciate things for their historical context, then appreciate them for their constant evolution. new techniques and tweaks on the classic sock pattern keep popping up.


for the record, plain ol' socks knit in plain ol' stockinette remains my favourite. i like to mix it up with different yarns. see #6.

5. because they are practical. almost everybody wears socks. they can be as frilly or as no-nonsense as you want them to be.

6. have you seen the yarn sock section at the local yarn store? candy without the guilt of calories or cavities or pesky diabetes. i dare you to visit your local yarn store and walk out without getting some sock yarn. so many colours and textures, fibre content, and you can get to know some local brands and fibre artists who spin and dye their own yarns.

7. it's the gift that keeps on giving. whether you give it to yourself or someone else. and speaking of giving hand knit socks to others, make sure your recipient is someone who will appreciate all the time and love you put into it. this is lost on some people, and quite frankly, they don't deserve the socks you've made them. not to be mean, that's their choice. i just wouldn't want you to waste your creative energy. know where to direct it.

and if the socks are for yourself, each time you wear the socks, you feel a connection to something bigger, some sort of wisdom that has been handed down through generations. ok. maybe you don't. but i do. and there is a ritual to it. some sock yarns are machine washable. many are not. i wash my wool socks by hand and lay them flat to dry. it's one of those things -- like brewing a perfect cup of tea -- that takes time, it can't be rushed, and it's worth the wait.

8. each sock has a story. i look at a pair of socks i've made, and i can tell you where i got the yarn, whether i used bamboo or metal needles, whether it was my first time using a new technique, why i chose the pattern i did, what was going on in my life at the time (if i knit it waiting for doctor's appointments, lessons, in the park, at the rink). and yes, my eye can go straight to that one solitary stitch i knit incorrectly even if you don't notice it. it's all part of being hand made. it's a snapshot of a point in time. like the rings in a tree trunk, it tells a story about what went into it.

9. it's magical. don't believe me? learn to knit a pair of socks, and tell me that you don't feel like you're on the side of the dark arts when you turn your first heel. trust me. just do it. and let me know, you wizard you.

10. because i can. i knit my first pair to prove to myself that i can. and i continue to knit because i can. i'm not (too) smug about it, but it is a skill. and you can learn it too. smugness optional.
ana is a writer, knitter, maker, baker and pixel shaker. visit her blog and say hi on twitter or ravelry. you know, only if you want to. it's not like she tracks her traffic and clicks. much. she's available for the occasional guest post but requires ample warning (yeah i'm looking at you googs!). also, she only refers to herself in third person when writing these bios. it makes her feel official. she's probably in her jammies when she does this.


okay, so what'd i tell ya? the way with words...the photos...the socks ;)

funny story: my partner in yarn crimes laura and i were just out last night (childfree, i might add!) perusing the racks of yarns. and when she grabbed a skein of sock-weight yarn and was caressing it i yelled NO! it's SOCK YARN! and she threw it like a live snake.
you see, in our brains SOCKS=WAY TOO HARD.
we look at the thin yarns and the tiny needles and laugh. who? why? HOW?

and then...well, then along comes ana like the sock whisperer. looks like i'm gonna have to make myself a pair of socks.

thanks a lot, ana. ;) (no, really, thanks.)

now you have two places to go check: ana's blog and go see what kim @ bugaboo is up to today!

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