When Good Evenings Turn Sour, Laughter is the Best Therapy

Photo copyright 2015 Tiffany Walsh. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright 2015 Tiffany Walsh. All rights reserved.

Picture the scene: me, in my pajamas, with wet hair held in a messy bun by a hair fork and glasses perched on my nose, sitting despondently on the floor amongst a pile of yarn and half-finished hand knit socks in the living room. I am wishing that I had more wine, and all the while, a movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion is playing in the background and I have absolutely no idea what is happening in the story.

How did this happen?

We need to rewind a bit, and examine how the day unfolded. Our Sunday started out well, with my children, Henry and Anne, both turning in good performances at Mass. I would give Anne an A, Henry a B – . His grade was reduced due to repeated instances of Deliberately Annoying Touching of Sister, causing her to squawk, and then blowing on her hair while exclaiming: “that’s not touching!”

We got back to the house, had lunch, napped Anne, relaxed, and did some chores around the house. All was well.

Then the evening came along. Henry and my husband Mike left for a baseball game. Anne and I settled in for some cartoon time, and then Mommy was planning for a Jane Austen night with wine and knitting post-bedtime. Sounds like a rock solid plan, yes? I very rarely get the house and television to myself, and I wanted to make the most of it.

As I was blowing Anne a kiss in her crib and closing her door for the night, the phone rang. It was Mike.

“Henry is sick. We’re coming home.”

Oh dear.

By the time I finished a quick shower, they were pulling in the driveway. Henry came limping in with a stomachache, and I fussed over him for a bit. We got him settled in bed, and I went downstairs still determined to get my Jane Austen night started.

Mike poured me a glass of wine and put my movie in for me (isn’t he wonderful?) but retired to bed to recuperate and read. I happily settled in with my knitting and my wine for the planned “alone time.”

I was finishing up a sock for Henry as I watched. I have not read Persuasion, but I was confident that I would be able to follow the story. And I probably would have, had I actually been able to concentrate. Quickly, however, I developed a yarn crisis: Sock #1 was finished, and it was perfect. It is, however, a sock, and so you do need TWO of them, yet my yarn supply was clearly over halfway extinguished.

After I uttered a long suffering sigh, I began an internal debate as to whether I should place an order for more of this specific sock yarn, and then I got distracted by a yarn sale…

Ten minutes later I realized that the movie plot was getting away from me. I refilled my wine glass and resolved to do better. I still did not have an immediate solution for Henry’s socks, but no matter. For the rest of the movie, I figured that I could work on the argyle sock for myself that I have been slaving over for at least two months. I procured said sock.

When is a good time to try on a complicated sock-in-progress, I ask you? Good and gentle reader, I assure you that the time is decidedly NOT when you:

(a) are watching a movie that you are already having a difficult time following,

(b) are enjoying a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and

(c)  are already feeling quite vulnerable from misjudging size and tension in a project that is still in plain view.

Do any of these things occur to me in the heat of the moment? No they definitely do NOT. I am well past the heel on this cuff-down argyle sock, and so I pushed the sock to the cable of my long circular needle and slid my (allegedly dainty) foot through.

Well, I should say that I TRIED to slide my foot through. Argyle patterning means that a knitter is stranding multiple colors, and stranding means that you wind up with a very inflexible fabric. I knew this, of course, but I am a loose knitter so I did not think I would have any problems.

I was wrong.

It was not even close. My heel did not in any way approach the heel of the sock. And by this, I mean that I took my foot out, took a deep breath, and then violently shoved it back in, while at the same time yanking on the back of the sock, determined that it would fit properly, sort of like Cinderella’s wicked stepsister if she had on flannel cat pajamas, a librarian up-do, and wire-rimmed glasses.

That turned out pretty much like you would expect.

I resisted performing an act of violence against the hapless sock, but I did moan and groan about it enough that I completely lost my place in the movie. This is why you should never drink and knit.

I sourly got out the skeins of wool that I wanted to use to make Anne a seasonal cardigan and was determining what colors to use when Mike came down to check on me. This is when he found me in the state mentioned at the start of this post.

And so ends a Sad Sock Saga. It happens in the life of all knitters, and it never gets easier, but you have to learn to accept it and deal with it:

R.I.P. Argyle Sock. I am not ripping you back because the thought of unraveling three quarters of a sock worth of tightly stranded yarn makes me want to gouge my own eyeballs out. I am not finishing you, and then (even worse!) KNITTING A SECOND ONE OF YOU so that I can find another purpose for you other than being my sock, because well…I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Argyle Sock, but I just don’t love you enough. You only cost six dollars in yarn, and I would rather have my sanity and waste your yarn than deal with the alternative. I have moved on to Anne’s Fall Cardigan and I am a lot happier. I hope that you can forgive me and stop hating me from your perch inside the bag stuffed deep in my closet. I know that it hurts right now, but I am confident that we are both going to move past this. I may even try argyle again in the future. Say, ten years from now.


Crafters, please join me. Fall is certainly our busy season! Have you ever had a project that went terribly awry? Were you (ultimately!) able to laugh about it? How about just a terrible evening that bore no resemblance to what you had originally planned? Please let me hear from you!

Copyright 2015 Tiffany Walsh
Photo copyright 2015 Tiffany Walsh. All rights reserved.


About Author

Tiffany is a wife and mother to two precious children, a native Western New Yorker, and an academic librarian. She is a cradle Catholic who rekindled her childhood faith as a graduate student in New York City via her love of books and discovery of daily Mass. She enjoys using humor in her writing, and blogs about faith, books, and everything in-between over at lifeofacatholiclibrarian.com.

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