For the past seven years I had been trying to successfully complete a pair of hand knit socks. Socks are great. They are soft. They warm the toes. They can highlight a dancers ankles (don’t believe me watch an old Gene Kelly clip, see his pants are tad short, so your eyes are drawn to his socks and therefore his ankles. Want a more contemporary example take a look a Michael Jackson video). Socks cradle tired feet after a long day. They can be hand puppets. The can be a mitten in a pinch. I just like socks, so I decided to learn to knit some. Knitting is a creative, meditative process that is also a wonderful mindful practice and a thing I really enjoy. I knit other garments, so why not socks?
But turning a heel was a mystery to me. I read my patterns carefully. I watched others turn heels. People I knew who knit socks offered me tips. I accessed online knitting resources. But each time I tried, and I tried at least annually for 7 years, I blew it on the heel turn. What row am I on? Do I decrease here or not? Dang IT I dropped stitches! So I frogged (ripped out) the sock in progress each time- that is until my time on the Cabot Trail this summer.
This was going to be my personal Tour de Heel, while it was the Tour de Cabot for my husband and the others with whom we traveled. I packed my double point needles, my Opal sock yarn, a basic sock pattern from Knitting Rules by the Yarn Harlot, my knitting inspiration. I reasoned that since I was going to be in Canada, the home country of the Yarn Harlot AND using her pattern, things were aligning. I would just trust the pattern and myself. I would ask my husband for his encouragement.
While I waited in the SAG wagon for my husband and the other riders, I knit. In the cabins with our friends at night I knit. My husband was my chief support, asking me how the sock was coming and commenting about nice it was looking, even when he was dog tired and sweaty from riding. Our friends watched me knit and listen to me tell my story about the d@*# heel. And when I turned the first heel we all cheered and I beamed. No one knit for me, but each supported me and let me grumble when I had to rip out stitches. They celebrated my win, even if it did not make a whole lot of sense to them why this had been such a challenge for me and for that I am grateful. A couple of days after our trip I silently thanked each of them when I finished the second sock alone at home.
The socks are extra slouchy. They are not perfect or even all that good looking, but they are complete and they are mine. Made by my own efforts, my own hands and because of perseverance and support. My next pair of socks will be more perfect and better looking, but I will never treasure them like I do this first pair.
What did I learn? Keep trying. Ask for support when you need it, even when you are asking for support for a task that seems trivial. Trust the process, yourself and the universe. Always celebrate the wins, big or small.