My year, as told by socks

“I love to paint and draw, but as soon as you frame a piece of paper and stick it on the wall it loses some of its connections to the mundane and to the everyday. But if it becomes socks or mittens, it continues to circulate there! The inspiration starts sneaking into your laundry basket, onto your radiator, into your sock drawer, and it’s right there on your hands or your feet when you look down. I love that. For me, wanting to keep that rich cycle going of inspiration, daily life, inspiration, daily life, is at the very heart of my urge to MAKE THINGS.”

Felicity Ford, excerpt from an excellent conversation in between her and SpillyJane.

My son has been passionate with lego for a few years now. When I say passionate, I really mean obsessed. Lego has become his main medium to express himself. He gets inspired by the world around him a lot. He makes lego models of everything that he finds interesting, scary or gets his attention.

I know, artists do that. They often paint their surroundings and what (or where) inspires them.

What about knitting? In the same interview, Felix Ford describes how she knits about all the little things she loves in her everyday life, may they be digital recorders, plants, a church, a road, an old deco building about to be demolished in Reading…

She is doing in knitting what my son does with Lego: Exploring her environment and her feelings towards it through making something inspired by it…

When I look back on my humble paintings, what if they were all ideas jotted down in a sketchbook, to be used to make my own interpretation of them, to re inject them into my every day life…

For instance I painted this flamingo on Saturday, and I let out a gasp today when I discovered these flamingo mittens designed by SpillyJane in this post, on Kate Davies website. I bought the pattern straight away, to me it feels like a natural continuity to knit them, as a follow up to my painting.

In this pair of socks I just finished, I improvised some colour stranded knitting. This colour work reflects the land marks and key moments in my world this year…

image

…The blue of the sea and the golden sand of the Cornish Beaches, and that poem that deeply moved me, earlier on this year:

ANY CORNISH BEACH

Let’s go walking,

you and I,

to any Cornish beach

gleaming wetly,

race barefoot

on unmarked sand,

jump pools,

throw stones,

build a castle

where we stand,

not caring if the tide comes in.

-David James.

Thom Sand

We discovered The Cook Book during our shorter stay in Cornwall, in March. As I mentioned here before, The Cook Book is a very lovely (dog) friendly café that serves great home-made food and also sells second hand books. I really enjoyed chatting with David James (who wrote the poem above), who co-runs the place with his wife, Philippa.

The CookBook

The Cook Book has a lot of meanings for us. We discovered it after my husband bought this book for our son, which is about Cape Cornwall, St Just and the Cook Book’s dog, Aggie. We had to go and meet her, so we took my sister in law there for lunch. We met Aggie, it was glorious! Thom was so excited to meet the dog from his favourite bedtime story book!

We had to go back to Sussex as my husband was having knee surgery a few days later. I texted him that poem while he was coming back from the anaesthesia. It was getting late, I couldn’t get through to his ward on the phone. He wasn’t where he was supposed to be. He was supposed to come out the same day, we were supposed to pick him up. But no news. After a lot of attempts the hospital staff finally found where he was. He was still in observation, as he didn’t come around as fast and as well as he should have done.

We made a point of going back to the Cook Book a few times, during our next Cornish stay, which was longer, Mid May- Mid June.

I can also see my mum’s visit in May, as the main colour is a ball from the stash of yarn she brought me back then…

MumLondon

The day she left, I accompanied her back to Liverpool Street station, where she was catching her train to the airport to fly back to France…

We got to London way too early and had plenty of time for a coffee near Liverpool Street before she got on her train…

CafeLondon

At the coffee shop, She insisted on giving me the money to go and see the Sonia Delaunay’s retrospective at the Tate Modern, as she knew I really wanted to see it …

We parted near the platform. I cried as I watched her train disappearing around a bend. I stood there for a moment. I felt that I had to take a photo, for pictures are materialised memories, aren’t they?

Liverpoolstreetplatform

A way to hold on a bit tighter to a moment…

EiffelTower1

that has just gone…

EiffelTower2

I made my way to London Bridge and to the river side, to see the Sonia Delaunay’s retrospective at the Tate Modern.

SoniaDelaunay1

In this humble pair of socks, I can see my interpretation of some of Sonia Delaunay’s paintings and textiles, and it really got me to reflect on creativity in domesticity…

soniadelaunay

A picture of Sonia Delaunay with a chest she decorated for her son…

All of these influences, all these moments of my life contained in a pair of hand knitted socks.

When I look back on any of my knitting projects, I remember where I was, what was happening around me and in my life while I was knitting it, and as I always add my own touch to any pattern I may try to follow, I can clearly recognise moments or details from my own environment.

Now what really excites me is the idea of deepening my connection with my environment, and with the present moment, as I translate objects or places from my day to day life into knitting garments. Knitting my vision of a chocolate bar wrapper, or my vision of a landscape that moved me. How I perceive a bird song, a rainy day, or the beautiful colours of a kingfisher… it’s such a wonderful way to actually see the beauty around us, and practice mindfulness as we watch carefully every detail of it to be able to knit it into something we are going to wear and transport with us…

As Felix Ford puts it herself:

I could achieve the same sense of deep observation through drawing, but drawing and painting do not have the same provocative and exciting connections with clothing, social history and land-use that the medium of hand-knitting possesses. Knitting has associations with economies of dress; the history of labour (usually women’s labour); and the politics of land use. Hand-knits are a site of meaning, and I am incredibly drawn to the richness of that site as a place to play and explore as a maker.

I also love that knitting is useful.

If like me you are curious to know more about this, check out KNITSONIK and Felix Ford book:

the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook.

Check out her blog, and listen to this song she wrote to introduce her work… My wolf dog Nettle (yes, the yarn monster) was howling and whining as I was playing it and she absolutely LOVED the sheep at the end…

10 thoughts on “My year, as told by socks

  1. Et je reconnais la laine “rose vieux-rose, bois de santal” c’est la laine que j’avais utilisée pour éssayer de te tricoter un pull losque tu avais
    2 ans, mais … tu as grandi trop vite , où bien j’ai tricoté trop lentement, et j’ai arreté l’ouvrage, car il ne t’allait déjà plus ! maintenant c’est une chaussette :D

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