Monday, July 16, 2007

Ode to Kitchener

A finished object! Actually two, since there's a pair of them, but I'd finished the first one (what feels like) ages ago. I'm SO glad to get a project off the needles. As strange as it sounds, I truly prefer to only have about two projects going at a time: one small portable one, and one more complicated one for doing at home in the evening. The problem is that sometimes my small portable one is too complicated for doing easily in meetings, and then I start a third project, or something comes up that I just need to do right then, and...well, you can imagine. So, I have had the four projects going that I've confessed to (plus one or two others of which we shall not speak, and which may at some point return to their original, yarn-y, state), and now I've gotten one done! It's the Traveller's Stockings, from Knitting on the Road (which I very much like). Here they are, in all their I-took-this-picture-at-night-in-bad-light glory.
(that one's all bleached out; the color's much nicer)

In my opinion, the absolute best bit about finishing socks, the part that I look forward to the entire time I'm knitting them, even more than getting to wear hand-knitted socks (since I actually don't get to wear nearly as many hand-knitted socks as my kids do), is grafting them together at the end. I can honestly say that this is my one and only serious objection to toe-up socks: no grafting. I don't know what it is, but there is something absolutely magical about running a needle, knitwise, then purlwise, through a bunch of stitches, and coming out with a piece of fabric that looks as if it had always been whole. It's a leap of faith. I can honestly say that I can't entirely visualize how it works, but I know the steps to take, and I know that it comes out right every time. A small miracle, and who can't use more of those?

I realized, last night as I kitchenered away (and, btw, I can't find out, even on wikipedia, who this amazing Kitchener is, but don't you think we should have a special day for her, or him, whichever it is?), I realized that it is precisely those small miracles that I take such pleasure in. The ones where, step by step, small piece by small piece, something very big and amazing and so much more than the sum of its parts is created. I think that raising children is like this. You get up at night when they have earaches, and you bathe them (endlessly), and you cook for and eventually with them, and you talk to them, and you listen, and you take amazing amounts of pleasure in their company, and you threaten to sell them on eBay, and you come to realize that there's this person standing in front of you who is the sum of all of that plus some indefinable something that is ineffable. And so very wonderful and real. Cooking is like that on a smaller scale, and gardening (at which I suck, but still), and of course, knitting.

Marriages are also, I think, like that. Yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary, and as of this past April, DH and I had been together 18 years. That's half of my life. And our older daughter was born nine years ago, so that's half of our life together (she was impressed by all of these halves, so I thought I'd throw that in there). And we've had our rough times, and we've had our amazing times, and we've had all of those times in between where you're just doing what needs to be done, sometimes together, sometimes apart, sometimes just in one another's presence. And all of that together makes up this thing that we call a "marriage". And I think that it's something to be proud of, and a little bit in awe of. I mean, here I am, in this relationship with a person with whom I have been through the most exhilarating moments of my life, as well as some of the absolute worst. And mostly, we don't really think about that fact when we're together; we just do what we do. In fact, after 18 years, I know that a lot of the time, we look at each other without necessarily seeing -- not in any blind or bad way, but because there's a knowledge there that doesn't look for the ways that our faces or forms have changed over that time. And then I really look at him sometimes, and dang! He really does look different at 40 than he did at 22 (don't we all, baby!). And I feel very glad that I know what he looked like at 22 and at 40, and I wonder what he'll look like at 60 and 80.

I'm blathering, but there it is. Kitchener and marriage. One small bit at a time, making a seamless whole.


Fiberjoy said...

Sweet-your dovetailing of kitchner, child-raising, and marriage. Great observation.

Congratulations! Here's to beholding his face at 80. :-)

verylisa said...

I heard that Kitchener stitch was invented in response to a plea from Lord Kitchener during World War 1. Lots of people knitted socks for soldiers, and the seams at the toes were not very comfortable. Apparently some soldiers ended up with bleeding toes and Kitchener wanted a better way to finish socks. Hence someone invented Kitchener stitch. (I doubt it was Lord Kitchener himself.) Have no idea whether this story is true, but it sounds interesting anyway.

Stell said...

you are right - it is all seamless and woven in small stages.
and yes - who is K?
is verlisa right? could it be so easy?
i googled kitchener and there is a lord kitchner, and here has discussion on it

Lindsay said...

Yay for Yarnival . . . so glad I found your blog and this very touching entry :)

Congrats on the socks & the hunk!