There are those projects that are completed and never have a story or a memory attached to them — maybe they were done while watching mindless movies or the occasional PBS documentary. But, then there are others that, well, will be perpetually associated with certain events.
My current sock project is definitely one of those.
I would love to say that it only had to do with a mishap in the crockpot — a dyeing job gone bad. But, unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, and there is so much more to this story than just merely a blending of colors, wool and a little heat…
It began about 3 weeks ago when I decided to finally get around to dyeing a hank of Knitpicks bare fingering superwash to make into socks. I had never dyed such a large amount of commercial wool in my crockpot, and grossly underestimated the amount of dye (food dye) I would need. As I placed my wool in the dye bath, the color took to the wool super quickly and I realized that there were going to be huge splotches of white. Originally the color I was aiming at was a deep burgundy, a beautiful wine color that I could use to make a modified version of the Rainy Day Socks on Magknits. But, alas, my wool was now a mess – some of it was purple and other parts were a shade of barely lavendery-gray. So, forsaking my original idea, I dumped a packet of Pink Lemonade and later Black Cherry Kool-aid in the dye bath. The colors were slightly better, and I figured I would wait to see how they turned out.
While the skein was drying I was a little worried. Sure there were a lot of variations in the yarn, but some of the colors were far from what I had originally intended. As luck would have it, though, once I started to knit with it, the various colors became warm and wonderful striations – my yarn turned out okay and I was saved from having to over-dye it.
At first the colors reminded me of Valentine’s Day, a holiday I (until about a year ago) detested and abhorred. As I started knitting my socks, romantic (or sentimental, depending on how you look at it) thoughts would enter my mind and I would think about my boyfriend and how lucky I was. I never thought that these socks would truly be linked to him, however, until last Friday.
In the middle of the day, my boyfriend called to say that he had unbearable pain, which turned out to be kidney stones. Somehow I knew that we would have to wait for a while in the ER, so the last thing I grabbed while going out the door were my socks. Of course, what we both thought would be a couple of hours in the Dr.’s office, turned into a 15-hour ordeal. First we went to Urgent Care (spent 2 hours there). Then we were sent to another hospital for a CT scan (not the hospital right across the street, but in downtown LA during rush hour on a Friday). We were seen by the initial nurse within an hour, and I thought, “Oh, this might not be so bad.” Well, 4 hours later we finally made it inside the ER. Another hour or so went by until we saw the Dr. Then 3 more hours until the CT scan…
My socks were a point of interest for many of the nurses when we first got into the ER. They were fascinated by the fact that I was knitting, and I (mistakenly) thought that it would help us get taken care of within a reasonable amount of time. The head nurse on duty chatted with me amicably at first, but then, as the night wore on, was extremely surly. When Doug had a really high fever and I went to her to ask her to do something, she never even glanced at me, but simply pointed to a blue storage bin and said, “There are blankets there.” Far be it for me to ask for a cup to put Doug’s contact lenses in – it was deemed a major ordeal. Granted there were hardly any nurses on duty and only 1 doctor for over 30 patients at a time, but whose fault was that? I only made my requests after we had been there for 7 hours…
All the while, my poor boyfriend was in excruciating pain. I felt entirely helpless and frustrated (but was trying to keep my cool). All I have to say is….
Thank God for my socks!
My socks kept me sane. They gave me a point of focus when everything seemed so unsure. They helped me stay strong even though I felt tired, uncertain and angry. They helped me stay awake. Just the feel of the soft wool through my fingers was soothing and calming enough to keep me going, because it wasn’t until 5 AM the next morning that my boyfriend was finally admitted to the hospital.
So, what I initially I thought I would dub my V-Day-colored-socks with varying shades of reds and burgundies, have now become the hospital socks. They’ll hold fond memories simply because of the stamina and comfort they were able to provide me during one long rough night, so that I, in turn, could try to give comfort to a loved one.