Saturday, May 29, 2010

train socks

After finishing up my business in Boston, I took the Acela train down to Washington, DC. What a civilized way to travel! Six and a half hours of peace and scenery. I watched the morning sun glitter on the Atlantic Ocean. I spotted a great blue heron standing among reeds, and a young eagle flying with a wriggling fish in its talons. And somewhere along the way, I pulled out a pair of socks to work on.

The socks are improvised toe-up socks with slipped stitches, short row heels, and two variations of ribbing at the cuff. Yarn is Fleece Artist Sea Wool in "Midnight." They're for my sister.

These were the infamous socks that I'd started on the trip to India. I worked on them everywhere, even while riding a camel, but I most associate them with our epic overnight train ride from Jaisalmer to Delhi. By that point, I'd finished one sock and was at the heel of the second. But I could not for the life of me get that damned heel right.

I was knitting in bad light, in motion, with a hungry stomach, a caffeine-withdrawal headache, and frayed nerves due to horrible and unpredictable train delays. I kept making mistakes that I wouldn't catch until hours later.

By the fourth time that I had to rip out the heel, I burst into tears and banished the socks to the bottom of my bag. It was, shall we say, not my best moment. It's taken months to work up the courage to pull them out again. But now you know why it was fitting to re-start them on a train trip and why I'm so relieved to have them finished.

Do you know what I realized as I was sewing in the ends? The parallel lines of ribbing at the top evoke train tracks for me. It's a subtle reminder of the journey made by these socks.

And keeping in the poetic train vein, have a listen to Feist + Ben Gibbard's haunting version of Train Song. My sister introduced me to it some months ago for us to sing together, and it's been running through my head as I wrote up this post.


Amybel said...

Nice socks! Are you going to write up a pattern for us??

the sister said...

oh i love them hanna! ahh, the metaphors. and the beautiful music. it's really a lovely package. and some fabulous footwear.

the sister again said...

oh, and, i was going to ask for some knee socks next. but i think you may be done knitting socks for me for good.

Turtle said...

poetic socks all around!

Kathy said...

Well you are amazing for finding that courage to finish the pair. Your train trip sounded nerve wracking. But your cool observation of the tracks at the sock tops is a neat reminder. Lucky sister. Im finishing a pair for my sister now too, but an easy simple pair.