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Back from Mackinac Island!



As we flip the page to August, it is hard to believe that the summer is halfway over. Last week I traveled to Mackinac Island to give a workshop on two-color knitting and to deliver my first talk on The History of the Sweater. There could not be a more idyllic place to hold a workshop! The island is a step back in time and makes it hard to return to the pace on the other end of the ferry. One gentleman attending the lecture said that his reason for being there is that he could not find sweaters that suited him in the store, so he wanted to learn how to knit. As I said at the time, “Be still my heart!”


This morning I finished a pattern called Basic Socks. The name pretty much covers it, but the basics are the best thing to have in your toolbox. Two years ago, I was on the quest for the best basic molasses cookie recipe and after many trials and errors I found it! It is lovingly tucked away in my recipe box under the name, “Mrs. Porter’s Molasses Cookies”. I wish years back when I started knitting socks, I had this Basic Socks pattern. I tried to make it very user friendly so that the accomplishment of having knit a pair will have you taking out more yarn to knit another.


I was interviewed last fall by USA Today on the history of the Ugly Christmas Sweater, and after that I decided to dive deeper into the subject. There will be a new lecture on the The History of the Ugly Christmas Sweater that I will present in November. Once lectures are polished and ready to go, I make them available for classes or groups that are interested in learning more. Please refer to the contact page of the website to get in touch with me.


In northern Michigan we wait anxiously for winter to be over, but I admit once we reach August, I am ready for fall to arrive. Perhaps it is my nesting nature or working on new designs I am not sure. Being wildly allergic to poison ivy might be another explanation. So, I am content and feel like I pushed some good work forward in the last few months. As I said recently, this is a long-distance project, not a sprint. I will leave you with this. A poem that I have carried along with me over the years:


Ode to My Socks

Pablo Neruda




Maru Mori brought me

a pair

of socks

which she knitted herself

with her sheepherder’s hands,

two socks as soft

as rabbits.

I slipped my feet

into them

as though into

two

cases

knitted

with threads of

twilight

and goatskin.

Violent socks,

my feet were

two fish made

of wool,

two long sharks

sea-blue, shot

through

by one golden thread,

two immense blackbirds,

two cannons:

my feet

were honored

in this way

by

these

heavenly

socks.

They were

so handsome

for the first time

my feet seemed to me

unacceptable

like two decrepit

firemen, firemen

unworthy

of that woven

fire,

of those glowing

socks.

Nevertheless

I resisted

the sharp temptation

to save them somewhere

as schoolboys

keep

fireflies,

as learned men

collect

sacred texts,

I resisted

the mad impulse

to put them

into a golden

cage

and each day give them

birdseed

and pieces of pink melon.

Like explorers

in the jungle who hand

over the very rare

green deer

to the spit

and eat it

with remorse,

I stretched out

my feet

and pulled on

the magnificent

socks

and then my shoes.

The moral

of my ode is this:

beauty is twice

beauty

and what is good is doubly

good

when it is a matter of two socks

made of wool

in winter.



Gail

July 31, 2022


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