Guest Blog post by Erika Zambello

Our friend Erika contacted us with a gorgeous story she wrote about her time making sock (out of our Covet yarn) for her sister. We love to hear peoples knitting and crochet stories. Enjoy Erika's beautiful words. 

I set the skeins of baby alpaca on my kitchen table, one in light blue, one in cream. The strands felt soft to the touch, perfect for the long socks I had planned. The cuff would be yellow, as would the toes, a perfect lining between the skin and tall, knee-high boots. Only, in Northwest Florida I wouldn’t need such warm coverings: the socks would go to my sister.

Mary and I are two years apart, but now live with over 1500 miles between us. She tells me how the snow continues to fall in Maine, I describe the beaches but the brisk winter winds. With only a handful of visits each year, she and I sustain our adult friendship through daily chats online, but also through craft itself.

I cast on 72 stitches of the cream alpaca yarn, deciding on a simple, two-needle pattern. I did the cuff in an easy two knit, two purl rib, then began the long stockinette that would extend down to the heel. My sister is a good deal taller than me, so I used my own calf for measurement before mentally adding a few inches. As I snuggled into my couch, counting the stitches, on the wall over my shoulder hung a perfect wood cutout of the state of Maine, stained and shiny. I planned to send my sister a pair of hand-knit stockings to thank her for the sign and others that now decorated my home, the first gift in our months-long exchange.

I don’t remember Mary and I being particularly crafty growing up. I always loved to knit, but mostly stayed with rectangular shapes, dabbling in sketching before realizing once and for all that I wasn’t all that good. Mary found herself more interested in interior design, painting her bedroom a green and red combo I wouldn’t have dreamed of in a million years. As adults, we have turned to craft as a needed outlet in the face of busy worlds and busy lives, lulled into relaxation through the gentle clicking of needles, the detail work of a wood stencil.

Knitting an item for someone else can be a stressful undertaking. What if they don’t like it? What if it doesn’t fit? What if I chose the wrong color? I had no such qualms about the baby alpaca. It was quite possibly the softest yarn I’d ever used, and I began to doubt that I would be able to part with the stockings in time to send them off for her birthday. A halo of fuzz stood out from the finished work, promising a warmth that she could use in Maine’s long winters. They knit up fast – mostly because I quickly became obsessed with them, eschewing my other projects in order to sew up each seam. I did beat back my inner demons and sent the socks along, and she wears them constantly.

A few weeks ago, Mary joined my family for a well-deserved warm weather vacation at my coastal home in Florida, basking in 70+ degree temperatures before returning to the freezing north. As she lay down her suitcase and backpack, she held out a special box just for me. A stemless wine glass, complete with an etching of a ball of yarn and the phrase: “Wine and unwind.” The newest link in our craft exchange!

So now it’s my turn, but I admit I’m distracted. I had just enough of the baby alpaca to cast on a pair of knee-length socks for myself, in the same blue and cream that my sister wears. Once finished, not only will our crafts move across time and space, but the socks themselves will be a symbol of the strong, supportive relationship we’ve built together as adults. As I knit, I think of what she’s doing in Maine, whether she’s shoveling snow from her driveway, or if she has designed a new wall hanging for her business at ReclaiMEd Sign Co. Perhaps when she wears the socks I made, her mind travels to Florida as well.

Of course, it’s still my turn in the craft exchange. Once my socks are successfully on my feet, I will begin a multi-colored hat to send along to Mary. 

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To follow Erika’s knitting adventure and alpaca sock progress, check her out on Instagram at @knittingzdaily.


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