6-ply, 2,5mm

I didn’t consider myself a sock knitter.  I thought about myself as a sweater knitter.  I love hand-knit sweaters, they are great when the chilling season arrives, and I especially like the look of cables.

I might have considered myself an occasional knitter of socks. I knit them because I love having warm feet, and handknit wool socks are incredible comfortable. But just thinking about heels and about the fact that one has to knit twice the same thing made me have SSS in advance.

Then I discovered 6-ply sock yarn. Thicker than the usual 4-ply, it does logically knit up with fewer stitches, and so you’re done quicker. The socks knit from it hold up better their form than the socks I knit from the thinner yarn. The fabric is slightly thicker, but still comfortable for me to wear in my shoes. With a simple slip stitch pattern the heel gets quite chunky, a fact I like.

Then my father died. In the evening, after having finished the paperwork and other difficult tasks, I went to bed and before falling asleep, knit on a pair of very simple socks, in a muted colour, with bamboo needles, 2,5mm. I remember very well the slow rhythm I had fallen in, just working on some stitches, while having an inifinite melancholic mindset and reflecting on tasks and long forgotten memories.

 

Right now, I find myself in a very stressful time. At the moment, there are a lot of important decisions to make; decisions that depend to some extend on other people. As there is a big lack of communication from the other side, we’re reduced to waiting and guessing. In a very logic move, the universe continues to throw lemons at us and we have both of our cars have problems at the same time. An urgent need to knit some socks begins to shake me, and I give in for another comfy pair, in my favourite colours please.

As I work on the tiny stitches, I realise to what extend I like to create first a toe, than a foot, then increase for the gusset, turn the heel invented just for me by me, decrease for the leg, knit a good length of leg, do some 1/1 rib and then finish off with a great bind-off found on the Internet and tweaked a bit to accomodate my way of knitting. Each time I knit with 6-ply, I take notes and change some parts of the formula, as I’m looking for the perfect recipe for mindless sock knitting.

 

Each time the stress is overwhelming, I take the socks up and very quickly the soothing build up of neat little stitches works its magic. And now, that they are finished and I wear them and look at those beloved socks, I realise something very unexpected:

I’m a sock knitter.

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An Ode to Toilet Paper

My father died on February 24.

He had been admitted to hospital with breathing problems on Monday 13. His girlfriend waited for news, and when he hadn’t phoned her on Tuesday, she contacted the hospital on Wednesday morning. They told her that he couldn’t call her back because he had been put in an artificial coma. Breathing had become so difficult that they had to put him on artificial respiration.

Being at 1300km from where my father lives, I passed the next few days on the telephone, explaining more than once to an ever changing hospital crew that no, I couldn’t just come over to get the news personally, and even if they didn’t want to divulge information by phone, they just had to, because I’m his daughter.

I finally decided to get on a plane to see him, in case it would be the last time. I just jetted from February 19 to 21 to Germany, spoke to doctors, the nursing staff… and my father. He wasn’t concious, I’m not very gifted for speaking to someone I might never see again, but I was there, holding his hand and talking about some random things I wanted to be meaningful.

When I got back, phoning and waiting resumed, until I got the message that he died on the 24th.

On the 24th, in the evening, I was playing cards with my husband and children. At one moment, I felt cold. But it was not the goosebumps cold. It was like something was sucking all the warmth from my bones, something was drawn from me. I went upstairs to get a long comfy indoor coat, whose zipper I closed like you close the zipper of one of those plastic bags for the deceased. It was the moment my father had died.

His death fell just on the beginning of winter holidays in France, so my husband took the children to the mountain and I returned to Germany to organise the funeral and get all the paperwork done.

I’m the only child, and my parents have divorced a long time ago, but they lived not far away from one another. I stayed at my mother’s, she helped me emptying the appartment, and organised a coffee and cake after the funeral.

My father had no connection with church, so he didn’t want a mass or someone speaking at his grave. I had him incinerated, and a few persons came to his funeral. My family, and some neighbours. He didn’t want anyone, but I considered that those close enough to us to ask personnally when the moment of his last journey had come, should be able to attend. As I did not want to let him go without any words, it was me who spoke at his grave. I can positively say that this was one of the most difficult moments of my life, but also one where there was the simple evidence that it had to be done. I owed him this last good-bye.

Emptying his appartment was very challenging. I felt as if I violated his privacy. Luckily, he was a well organised man, just with a tick to have many things in multiple versions. Tenth of pairs of scissors, forty pairs of shoes, eight umbrellas, fifteen belts, twenty vests…

Taking each of these things away, was like reaffirming with each gesture that he wouldn’t come back, he didn’t need it anymore, he wouldn’t drink from that glass, he wouldn’t read that book, he didn’t need this pillow any more. The more common the object was, the more the feeling was overwhelming. When I came to the bathroom to put away his brush, soaps and towels, I had to reach for the toilet paper, which was stocked high on a cupboard. He had put it there, tall enough to do it easily, and he hadn’t had the slightest idea that he would never again reach for it, such a daily gesture, such a private moment, such an unimportant one, now an impossible one. It’s these unimportant objects, trivial pieces of life, which made all the grief crush heavily on me. Because most of the time, our life is made of small unimportant moments, strung on our chain of life.

I spent a lot of time sitting on the ground, alone, thinking of my children’s laughter when my father made them pop balloons on his cactus collection, playing games with them and remembered the great meals my father’s girlfriend prepared for us. This appartment is where I grew up, too, from 2 to 13 I lived there. I don’t have any nostalgy about that time, it is as if after the divorce the appartment was stripped of its meaning of home for me.

As the weather turned round to accomodate my mood, I sat there, in an almost empty living room, a thunderstorm dooming outside, and I tried to feel my father’s presence in between all these memories. I did feel his death, I didn’t find him there with me. So I weeped for some time, and resumed my tasks.

This and that

My children were on winter holiday and we all caught a stomach bug. Additionally, I had some dry paper work to finish.

I did nevertheless make a lot of progress on my quiltalong. As potato chips, I just had to continue to sew these coloured stripes together. What a pleasure. I noticed that I’m a “phase-worker”. I have my knitting-phase, then there is nothing else than jewellery, then the quilting takes over… this is not very practical for finishing, but it is handy for some great moments of total immersion. Nevertheless, I really tend to more regularity, in every category. Starting with more frequent blogging would be nice 😉

Just for eye pleasure:

Cruising along

I made some progress on my quiltalong-blocks.

Block 34 Paintboxquiltalong

I like this print a lot, the colours are very tender and work perfectly with the solid.

I was looking for an idea for a yoga blanket when I stumbled upon this quiltalong. The perfect occasion to get me going. Initially I only wanted to use fabric from my stash, but who was I kidding? I found some wonderful prints and solids at 50% off. Curiously, there were some colour combinations which instantly inspired me for other quilts. Not very long ago, I would have started the other designs right away, pretending to honour the inspiration. But now I tried something new (new to me, besides that nothing groundbreaking here). I took notes, detailed notes with plenty of sketches and annotations, and will get to them after finishing my current projects.

I never really wrote a journal, I don’t document my life. This is why I have problems to keep my blog up to date, to chronicle my creations. I’m simply not used to it. But I really want to be able to get back and check things after a week, a month or even a year. And I appreciate the occasion to learn from others. So I see this as a sort of sport, where I struggle to get my daily run, where the weight lifting is still awkward and where the cardio training is replaced by a cup of hot tea.

Journaling my inspirations rather than tackling them at once hence shall help me to show the procrastinator its way to oblivion.

Famous antepenultimate words 😉