The socks are marching in.

The socks are marching in.

The clear blue sky has cottony white clouds scudding all over its surface. The first gusts of the North Wind have begun stirring up trees and bushes, still green with the monsoon water bonanza. The foxes are looking furry and fluffy, and the kites have taken to gliding on air currents at lower levels.

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The first signs of the cold season flirt around my shoulders and  my feet begin their campaign to stay warm.

It is time to start preparing for the festive, frosty and freezing season. This year, the socks are marching in.

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I have a fantastic foursome to churn out socks for my online shop ( more on that in my next post). Prema knits socks while grazing her nimble set of nineteen goats. Nima  and Gudiya pack their kids to school, do a quick tidying routine and then settle down for 5 hours of focused sock knitting. Jamila keeps a vigil at the bedside of her paralyzed mother, talks to her silent body and knits her anxiety and concern into the socks.

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Our socks are made in garter stitch, the best stitch to keep elasticity and firmness in balance. Garter stitch is my favorite…it has gained this favored status ever since I read that my idol, Elizabeth Zimmerman, swears by garter stitch. Nothing like some unquestioning devout fan-following habits to bring clarity into knitting!  Garter stitch is knit stitches on both sides of the fabric. For my fantastic foursome, it had to be changed to purl stitches on both sides—everyone here is far more comfortable with purl, a complete shift from the politically correct method of sticking to knit stitches, wherever possible.

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There is also the issue of right and left hand knitting. My earlier days in Umang were fraught with the challenge of trying to teach patterns to the lefty knitters. One of my earliest sessions ended with 4 sobbing women in 4 different corners, and one exhausted, sobbing me in the center…. I have found a way out of that conundrum now, and its easy peasy now, ever since I accepted the changed direction of knitting instead of trying to impose my right hand directions on their left hand dexterity.

Our socks are joined with some invisible grafting..another reason for pride to rear its head! A finished product is as good as its finishing touches, and learning good sewing skills was more about learning a rhyme and chanting it—from toe to top. The knitters can repeat the “samne seedha pheko—peeche ulta rakho’ routine in their sleep, and it has paid rich dividends!

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We make our socks crazily colorful, comforting and worthy of covetous thoughts! A drawer full of color makes it easy to put purple and pink together for a special pair….other combinations rear their head and clamor to be knit and we oblige!

More about how you can order these socks in my next post…I will cajole you to gift them to students winging abroad to cold countries for their degrees,  direct you to give them to the senior members of your family ( the older one gets, the colder are the feet), and insist that you wear them yourself…after all, warm feet, warm hands and lots of chocolate to eat were the dreams which made Eliza Doolittle warble her way through “My Fair Lady”.

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