Bad Currency


I don’t sell hand knit socks because I believe that they are bad currency. It’s a belief I hold based on logic and superstition. Logically- hand knit socks are a labor of love and almost always undervalued. Even affordable sock yarn is somewhat pricey and if you’re after quality or sustainable practices or recognizable sheep breeds the cost of materials alone will double the price of a pair of store bought wool socks. And that’s before a single stitch has been made. The main ingredient of sock knitting is not yarn, it’s time. I mostly knit socks in the in-between. In line at the post office, briefly seated on the train, watching my computer update, on hold. They just seem to get done and with a time commitment comprised of so many fits and starts I never really bother to add up all of that stolen productivity. But I’ll tell you- it’s a lot. Thousands of stitches, hundreds of minutes.

Let’s say a single sock for a size six foot takes three or four movies, or roughly six hours (we watch short movies!). That’s 12 hours a pair (add half an hour per sock for every additional size you go up) and $180 at a $15/hr minimum wage. I’m guessing at all of this math, but give or take your knitting speed and interpretation of a living wage, it’s just not practical. After all- socks are the piece of fabric that absorbs all of your foot sweat AND the entirety of your body weight and grinds both into either the ground or the footbed of your shoe. I don’t know if anything can make spending $180 on socks a worthwhile investment.

Now superstitiously- every time I have endeavored to knit socks for money or trade it has been cursed. The yarn, usually enough, runs out before the second toe. The recipient falls ill or dies of old age in the waiting. Socks knit up and handed off to size and on time are unreciprocated, sometimes so massively that friendships and confidence are shattered. Fully cursed.

So, no, you can’t pay me to knit you socks. But if you have small feet and I love you very much I might do it for free.

Proust Questionnare

When I was a teenager in the early 2000’s my number one reason for having email or the internet were those chain email question things. Tens of hundreds of them. Send ‘em to your crush, send ‘em to your cool aunt, fill out a super long one and then get shy and send it to drafts, print them out and put them in a binder ya freak!

So, for old times sake:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Moments with Tavi, free of worry, full of laughter. Bonus if I am eating well prepared meat and drinking something bitter. Double bonus if the sun is shining and the windows are open. Triple bonus if there is knitting within reach.

What is your greatest fear?

Getting hurt or sick to an extent that I cannot heal myself.

Which living person do you most admire?

It’s a tie between AnneMarie MacDonald and Tavi, Aisling, Lucy, Britlynn, Tine and Mathyou.

What is your favorite journey?

Driving on a highway in Michigan, somewhere, anywhere, particularly north.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Thanks, I made it!

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

Tavi. And then a threeway tie between knitting, quilting, and drawing.

Which talent would you most like to have?

A musical talent.

What is your current state of mind?

Calm but caffeinated.

Where would you like to live?

I really like where I live right now.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I wanna say freckles, but it’s probably actually repeating the same story 47 times.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

I am pretty partial to Tank Girl- on paper and in screen.

What are your favorite names?

Alma, Imogene, and Wendel.

What is it that you most dislike?

Vomit and unfounded rudeness.

What is your motto?

I don’t have one, I just do stuff.


Some small parts of life have become difficult lately and therefore not-so-small and instead rather large and all consuming. Trite as it sounds, when I feel this way I find the best cure is to do something for someone else. And luckily we are in the phase of life where there are always babies and heartbreaks and bare walls and empty bellies. Double luck: the skills I have honed all lend themselves to these situations perfectly.

This may look like a garage, but I know that it is a hangout for two old men who play chess together with the doors open and grow tomatoes in front of that fence.

This may look like a garage, but I know that it is a hangout for two old men who play chess together with the doors open and grow tomatoes in front of that fence.

Roof leak on its fourth return? Cast on a baby sweater.

Spider mites in the fig? Write a love note.

Laid emotionally flat by a stranger’s road rage? Say yes, without hesitation, to something, someone.

Anything having to do with health insurance and the marketplace ever? Carry the neighbor’s groceries up to the third floor with her. Roast a chicken for the ones you love. Check in, hold space, repeat.

I don’t have any logic to back this up, it’s just a recipe for small happinesses.

A note on Pollyanna: the version I think of is this one, where Pollyanna very much resembles my mom as a little kid. But, plot twist, the copy we had was recorded off the TV by one grandparent or another and cut off abruptly with P. in the hospital in a bad mood and unable to walk. That unintentional editing resulted in a very different moral than the original, but I must have picked up on it somewhere else.