Monday, June 09, 2008

“Is that a sweater?”

My three girls just started back to swimming lessons today. These are half hour lessons twice a week, so naturally…I bring one of the socks in progress. This one is the Uptown Boot Socks from Interweave Press Favorite Socks, in Tofutsies, 50% superwash wool, 25% soysilk, 22.5% cotton and 2.5% chitin – yeah, like crab-shells. Weird!

Anyway. I’m charging along toward the 8” mark on this gently cabled sock, which is where the destructions tell me to start the heel. So I’m at That Point in the project, where it doesn’t look at all like a sock yet, unless you are a knitter in which case you look at it and say, “Oh, what a nice sock!”

And if you’re a Knitter you might even look at it from across a busy mall and say, “Oh look! That woman is knitting an Uptown Boot Sock from Favorite Socks and she’s using Tofutsies which has chitin in it!”

I have learned not to underestimate the powers of Knitters. I have encountered very few in the wild, but they are out there and lo…their powers of memory, observation and attention span are mighty.

So I’m sitting there with one eye on my offspring and the other on my sock when I become aware that someone is trying to catch my eye. I look up, and she immediately asks, “Are you knitting a sweater?!”

She asks this with keen interest. I smile and say, “No, it’s a sock!”

Her face falls.

“Oh. I thought it might be a sweater.”

“No, it’s a sock.” I held it up to demonstrate the cuff at the top thing. “It’s easier to stuff into my purse,” I added, by way of explanation. While I have been known to stuff a sweater-in-progress into my purse, it does tend to take up more room than is comfortable for daily running about.


She is clearly disappointed and returns to her busy life. I return to my sock. A few minutes later a child perhaps five years old pads past on damp little feet, heading for the heated pool. She does a double-take and backs up to stare at the sock with her face perilously close to the moving needles.

I stop knitting. Because, you know, five year old eyeballs, double-pointed needles…yeah. She lifts her eyes up to me and waits expectantly for an explanation of this Strange and Mysterious Artifact.

“I’m knitting a sock,” I tell her.

“Oh. It’s not a sweth-ther?” she asks me.

“No,” I assure her. “See? This part is the cuff, and then I’m going to put a heel right about here…”

“Oh. How does it go around? Why is it purple? Is that string? Do you need all those needles? How come you put that one in your hair? How do you do the lumps?”

Quickly satisfied, she padded onward to her warm wading pool to share the information with her cohorts. They stared at me from across the room, their little eyes peering at me from just barely above the edge of the pool. I waved the sock at them. They giggled and began splashing each other.

“Oh my goodness! Are you making a sweater?!” someone squealed next to me. I jumped.

“Uh. No. It’s a…it’s a sock,” I said. I held it up and squinted at it suspiciously. Was it possible that I had begun working on a sweater without realizing it? I wouldn’t put it past me. I’ve been more distracted than usual lately…

“Oh. Wow. Really? It looks like the sleeve of a sweater!”

“You’re right, it does,” I agreed. “I’ll do the heel soon and then it’ll look like a proper sock. Only without a foot.”

{blank stare}

“Ooooooh. Wait. You…how do you do…how do you…?”

I described the Mystic Practice known as {wild Gypsy music} heel turning {/wild Gypsy music}.

To which she replied…and I quote… “Whoa.”

Yeah. Whoa.

I wrangled the Denizens home and made dinner and am getting back to work.

But I’m worried.

Because frankly, the sock?

It does look an awful lot like a sweater sleeve.



Amy Lane said...

LMAO Yes!!! I tried to explain a 'vanilla sock' to a colleague.
"What are you knitting?"

"A plain ol' vanilla sock."

"As opposed to a chocolate sock, with nuts?"

"No, as opposed to this sock with a complicated rib pattern and eyelets." (I demonstrate with a sample from my project bag. His eyes bulge.)

"So that's a vanilla sock because it's plain?" (Clearly doubtful.)

"Yeah--it's easy--you know, stoplight knitting..."

And THEN he started to talk to me about trivialities such as driving. They really don't get it, do they?

Celestial said...

Oh you poor thing.

I'm convinced the majority of the non-knitting population has no clue someone can knit socks. They would probably gape at you if you mentioned you were knitting a table runner. Why knit something you can buy super cheap, like socks? They just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

True tales of knitters in the wild. I was at the dermotologists office a couple of months ago and the woman (older) asked me "sock or mitten?" I was soooo impressed. I responded (not intending to sound like Dr. Seuss) there's a woman who knows her knittin'. Nice lady, had to give up the sticks because of arthritis.

Look on the bright side. I routinely (dermo's office being the major exception) get asked "Oh, what are you crocheting?"...when I'm not crocheting.

Barb Outside Boston said...

Non-knitters just don't get how magic knitting is--it can turn a sweater sleeve into a sock!

Threeundertwo said...

So funny. Reminds me of how people see me embroidering and say "oooh, needlepoint!"

Anonymous said...

It's only the arm of a sweater if (a) it fits your arm (b) you really love knitting it (c) you really love the way the yarn feels on your arm skin, and you feel that your leg skin might not be appropriately appreciative, and finally (d)you want to look at it, and require that others look at it more than is easily accomplished when the finished product is a sock. I forgot (e) the yarn is not discontinued and/or you have enough for a sweater/shrug/tubular scarf item.

Anonymous said...

I always knit my socks two at a time, toe-up, on circs. One time when my current pair of socks were just past the toes, a woman came up, peered at my knitting, and said, "What a tiny little bra!"

Now I always think of toes as the "bra stage."

ellipsisknits said...

As opposed to me, who, when *actually* knitting the arm of a sweater had people persistently ask me if it was a scarf.

Yarnhog said...

At least they recognized knitting. I once sat next to a man who was quite sure I was crocheting, and would not be dissuaded, no matter how much I tried to explain.

Leoal said...

I was knitting a plain vanilla sock from Paton's Kroy and I liked the cuff so much I decided I WOULD make a sweater out of it one day. For my very large husband.

Sometimes I question my sanity.

MadMad said...

Oh, you're so funny! I always say "just a sock." As if a sock is less significant than a sweater. I don't know why. Oh well. You should submit this to Yarnival - it's great!

Senora Fuerte said...

I brought a hat to knit at my dance studio. The kids were intrigued and asked a lot of questions.

The next week I brought a shawl, rather big and nearing completion. "I like your hat," they said knowledgeably.

The next week I was working on a scarf. "I like your hat, you're making a lot of progress." Thank you, 7 year old, yes I am making a lot of progress... considering this hat is about 5 feet long and skinny and a totally different color than the hat you saw last time.

Only one little girl was clever enough to ask me, "Do you have lots of projects going at once?" Yes. Yes I do.

Senora Fuerte said...

Ooh, and then there's the slightly older girl who said, "I crochet, too."

I'm not sure you do, actually...