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Archive for December 29th, 2005

Hoarding – “Beauty is Twice Beauty…”

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

On Tuesday, when my helper was with me, she was winding yarn and I was making buttons for my upcoming hat kits. I found myself looking at the bits of clay in front of me, afraid to “use up” this or that color (I often custom-blend colors and it takes time to get something like it again).

Sock pair 98 by LynnHI realize that one of my largest character traits is that I’m afraid to run out of something. I’m forever hoarding things, afraid to use up the last bit. I keep all the bits of sockyarn left from handknitting socks. Never mind that when I darn socks, I really love darning them with yarn that doesn’t match the original fabric at all!

I keep foods until they dry out or go stale. I keep special teas for “special” until they have lost their potency. I remember the project I had in mind for every single skein of yarn in the house, and I feel disloyal if I want to change my mind and use that skein for some other newer idea.

I keep favorite clothing in my closet, long after it’s no longer favorite. I keep things that are worn out, not my style anymore, not my lifestyle anymore. Why do I have several suits, complete with structured jackets, in the closet? The last job I had requiring a skirt each day was in 1999, and even then I usually wore a skirt and sweater to that job rather than a jacket.

And when I admit that the turtleneck is worn out on the edges and must be removed from the closet, why is it that I can’t throw it away? I cut it into small squares as little rags, which I can use instead of paper towels occasionally. They are nice rags but I just find it impossible to throw things away if there is ANY life left in them at all.

I know I’m not crazy in the sense that it keeps me from functioning, but this “saving for later” thing is not good for me. I need to use up the yarn, the food, the tea… I need to give or throw clothes I don’t wear, or perhaps felt and sew old wool clothing.

So my first assignment to myself is to go back to that small pile of mixed colors of clay on the table, and use it all up. All of it! It’s really hard for me to do, but I’ve done hard tasks before that were less beneficial to me.

Now if I can only find time to make more buttons. Probably it will be on Saturday when my helper comes for one more session.

Interesting… I was just today thinking of this poem (it follows my writing here), and went looking for it on the Internet. Funny how he (Pablo Neruda) talks about his instinct to take a precious item (a gift of handknit socks) and treat it as if it can’t be used in the way it was designed to be used. What a perfect theme poem for the day!

Ode to My Socks
by Pablo Neruda (translated by Robert Bly)

Mara 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 if they were 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
in 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.


I don’t know why, but that moral always brings me to tears. Twice beauty, indeed. There may be nothing more beautiful, in my mind, than a gift of handknit socks!

Blessings to you all this holiday season. Happiness, prosperity, health, all things good to you…

Photo today is my sock pair 98, finished over a year ago, November 28 of 2004. That was the day before I left for Africa, and somehow I’ve never had a photo of them, never showed them here. They are constructed top down with rolled stockinette cuff and afterthought heel.

Funny, I found them in a bag maybe 6 months ago and started wearing them. They are made of Heirloom 8 ply yarn (DK weight) from Australia, are machine wash/dry, and have been worn about once a week for 6 months. I just took the photo today. Great yarn, huh?