Thursday, December 5, 2013

Knitting Hands

My mother knits. Though she now knits nothing but striped socks, the whole family has garments left from when she still knitted jumpers, lace shawls, baby layettes, panne-lappen, dish cloths, you name it she would have a go.

She has knitted so much in her life that her hands seem to have shaped themselves for knitting. She casts on and off, and handles the needles (knitting pins, some people call them) the traditional Dutch way.

Knitting Hands Knitting Socks
After she had a brain operation six years ago, it took her some weeks to retrieve the pattern of socks from her memory. Since that time her family calculates she has knitted nearly a thousand pairs.

She is slowing down now, but still producing about three pairs a fortnight. She has always knitted for family. And for overseas guests of the family. Christmas and birthdays. There are plenty of us. And for the various money raising stalls run by the facility where she lives.

Then she added knitting socks for a Domestic Violence Support Group, a whole class of Indigenous children, orphans in Mongolia, and great grand children when they started to come along.

The socks are always striped. Stripes help with the counting. Her eyes are as old as her hands.

The socks are made of an acrylic yarn, ideally with 10% nylon. Though such yarn is more difficult to get now. We don't use much wool yarn here, high humidity means a high moth count. And besides, she'll tell you, acrylic doesn't wear into holes so quickly. There is after all not much sock-mending going on these days.

The colours are also an important part. I bet there a couple of hundred colour combinations out in the world. And always using just two yarns. Often a variegated yarn with a contrasting plain colour.

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