Finishing things: books and socks

Creativity is coursing through me lately. And not just the drive to start projects, but to finish them.

I recently finished the first draft of my memoir. That still seems pretty amazing to me. I found the end of my story (at least of that chapter).  I typed the last words.

Writing a book length piece always seemed too overwhelming to consider. How could I possibly wade into something so lengthy and complex? But I did, because not telling the story became the choice I couldn’t continue to live with.

I’ve also finished several pairs of socks. And I’m very proud of those, too.

Duncan's homemade socks
Duncan’s socks, knit from yarn he chose at least a couple of years ago.

Starting to knit a fresh new pair of socks seems like a splendid idea. I’ll whip these up in no time, I think. I’ve taught myself to knit both socks, at the same time, from the toe. That way they’re both done at once — no more knitting one sock to completion and then having to go back and knit the other one, hoping I remember exactly how many stitches and rows I used for the foot. (Yes, I could write it down, but I don’t knit that way. I also don’t follow recipes when I cook. I appear to be a living by the seat of my pants kinda lady.)

Imi's wool socks
Imi’s socks, knit from Merino wool she chose in France in Summer 2013. These took forever to knit and that pattern almost did me in.

Knitting the toe is exciting. Everything is fresh and new. Like a new book idea. Then knowing I get to turn the heel soon keeps me going through the length of the foot. But, after that, knitting the cuff of the sock seems to go on forever. Will it ever end? When? How long do I have to keep knitting these, anyway?

I like to knit my socks with 2 balls of yarn – one for each sock – and use up the entire ball of yarn. That’s how long the sock ends up being, however long the yarn holds out for. (It’s also why I like to knit from the toe, so that I don’t have to guess about how much yarn I’ll need for the foot and stress about running out before I finish the toe. Yes, I also keep driving the car when the empty gas tank light comes on — but it stresses me out — I know there’s some gas left, but I can’t  tell how much gas is truly left.)

Tree of Life socks detail.

And yet, like writing a book, I just keep on going until I get to the end of the ball of yarn. I knit until the yarn runs out. Or almost runs out — I like to justify keeping a little bit in reserve in case I need to darn holes in those socks. But really it’s because I can’t stand to knit one more row. (I do darn the holes in my socks, though.)

Over the last 2 months, I’ve finished 3 pairs of socks – a pair each for Duncan and Berry (because once I knit some for Duncan, I had to knit socks for Berry) and my sister-almost-in-law, Imi.

Some were easier than others. I let Adam choose the pattern for Imi’s socks. He chose one called the Tree of Life from the book whose name escapes me that taught me to knit 2 toe-up socks at once. While lovely, this pattern was incredibly complex and required more concentration than I often have while watching TV while the kids are in bed. Berry’s pattern I made up, based on a pattern called Tsunami I found in Knitted Socks East and West. Duncan’s: straight up plain socks. He has massive feet. There is probably some correlation there with writing. Some tales are more complex than others? I’m still not sure about mine.

More socks
Tsunami socks, knit in a cotton/acrylic blend purchased in a little knit shop in France.

I’ve also finished writing a book. Did I mention that?

Fortunately socks, unlike books, don’t require editing, so their owners are all happily wearing them right now. (Possibly right this very moment that you’re reading this.)

My memoir, however, needs editing. Which is what I’m in the midst of doing right now. Fifty-eight chapters written. Nine chapters edited. I’ll get to the end of the yarn eventually. I won’t even hold any back, just in case.