Wednesday, March 11, 2009

After Long Silence

I have been quiet for a dreadful long time. Not much has been wrong - just that tiny bit of domestic uproar sufficient to eat up one's spare time. With my margin of leisure pretty much take up for the last several weeks, it was give up the knitting, dinner, laundry - or the blog. Guess what lost?

But now - adequately fed and endowed with enough underwear for a week - I can happily report that I have mastered socks! In fact, one of the main things I have been doing in my copious free time (ha!) has been committing socks to muscle memory - knitting sock after sock after sock, so as not to lose the knack of turning the heel.

It's been wonderful. I now understand why some of my knitting friends always have a pair of socks on the needles, and seem slightly obsessed with them. These things are fun! The whole process of turning the heel is a vast magic trick; it's the best exercise on topography I have ever seen - and the exhilaration of turning a flat plane into a concavity is amazing. There's no special stitch, or tool, or magic fabric or anything: if you follow the math and the pattern, the entire shape of the thing changes before your eyes! In your very hands! This is a creative miracle.

Of course, millions of knitters before me have discovered this. For lots and lots of them, the idea that this very necessary task of making footwear could be fun is ... well, kind of insane. Certainly the enthusiasm of an amateur. But I say: nope. This is a domestic sorcery right up there with baking and brewing - bread and beer being arguably the most magical stuff to come out of anyone's kitchen. This is raw mathematics, the notation of the music of the spheres, the shape of the Universe itself in miniature - because Einstein describes gravity pulling the fabric of the Universe into just the sort of pockets we knit to make the heel of a sock.

I know Dr. Einstein played the violin. That takes clever hands. I wonder what he knew about knitting socks?