These socks were made for walking

When I was new to this whole blogging thing, I remember how thrilled I was when someone I didn’t already know responded to one of my posts. In a blog post that has now disappeared without trace, I’d written something about Mary Magdalen – and M-H commented. I was thrilled, and soon after, as one does when one is eight years old, invited her to my 60th birthday party. She was pleased to be invited, but didn’t come. Instead she knitted me a pair of socks.

They are beautiful socks, and this is just part of their story.

Here they are on our couch, brand new:

Not only were they beautiful, they were comfortable and I tended to wear them a lot. Among other places, I wore them to New York. There, I had driven directly from the airport to a small workshop-type gathering in Brooklyn, where they played a useful social role. I was introduced to a young Korean woman, and we were being very formal with each other, me jetlagged and her very polite. I hitched my trousers as I sat down, and when she glimpsed my socks she burst into peals of laughter. The ice was broken.

I was wearing them when we visited the Taj Mahal, where tourists are required to remove their shoes. Here they are outside the Taj Mahal:

They were on my feet during the Caminho de Santiago in Portugal. Here they are in the gardens near the ancient bridge in Ponte de Lima:

They did good service for more than a decade, but inevitably they grew thin, and their heels gave way. I was reluctant to throw them away and they lay in my sock drawer, beautiful but unwearable, until in a time of Covid, the Emerging Artist’s darning skills came into play, and she spent an episode of Vera playing her needle:

And now, not perhaps as beautiful as when they came into existence, they’re back on the feet, and warm:

A new chapter begins …

9 responses to “These socks were made for walking

  1. Visible mending in the Japanese tradition. Lovely. I wondered whether you were following the trend of making face masks from socks. This is much preferable. Enjoy those lovely socks! And keep writing your blogs please.

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    • I did think of the Japanese tradition of mending pottery with gold, but didn’t know it extended to mending clothes. Thank you. And I wish I’d thought of building suspense into the story – would they end their days at the other end of the body?

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  2. Lovely: Having lived in Marrickville – been several times in Brooklyn – to the Taj Mahal (1973) and wandered in that garden near the bridge in Ponte de Lima and myself – rather as Richard Glover wrote recently on the Japanese wabi-sabi nature of old and worn but appreciated nonetheless – as J Quealy references – “visible” mending – another part of my journey through this life referenced! Brava to the Emerging Artist’s darning skills!

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  3. Yes really this good socks I see there were made with a good heart. .for working with ..

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  4. Thanks to the excellent darning I would say these socks will now ‘see you out’ (As my mother used to say.)

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  5. I knitted some socks for my father once. He was devoted to them, said they were the best socks he’d ever had.
    They’re tricky to make, you know. They involve ‘turning’ but I used my mother’s copy of Weldon’s Encyclopedia of Needlework which derives from ‘make and make do’ in WW2 Britain. That’s how I also know to be impressed by The Emerging Artist’s darning. I learned how to do that too when a favourite jumper of mine needed darning at the elbow because having spent so long knitting it, I couldn’t bear to part with it.
    I am a good feminist as you know, but the subject that was jettisoned in a curriculum that offered women more options, was sewing, and whole generations have grown up now not knowing any of these skills which has added to the problem of our throwaway economy.
    And another thing (while I’m on my soapbox): I have to go to the eye specialist today and I was going to walk there (it’s about 30 minutes on foot) but I have to ‘wait in the car’ instead of in the waiting room. Walking, these days, is so peculiar, that decision-makers making these rules don’t even think about it any more.

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    • I tried to learn to knit once and just couldn’t get the tension thing happening, so I’m in awe of any knitting , let alone sock-knitting. This pair and pair that another friend knitted for my 70th birthday are treasured possessions. Isn’t it fascinating how something one might think of as trivial turns out to be full of rich implications

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    • I also walk to the doctor so know what you mean. I hope your lockdown goes well

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