Yesterday I was sitting in a hospital waiting room for quite some time, doing what you might expect, waiting.
As always, I had the travel sock in my handbag. Actually this isn't really what you might call a handbag, it is a good sized leather satchel that I bought a while ago now from Henry Tomkins. I think that if you had a good look in there, you might possibly find the kitchen sink. It's a good bag. I expect it to last for - oh, at least fifty years. That sort of bag.
Anyway, the travel sock was in there, in its little KnowKnits pouch. And, as always when I have the opportunity, I took it out and began working on it.
Opposite me there was an elderly lady in a wheelchair, sitting quietly, doing nothing at all. When she saw me take my knitting out of the bag, her face lit up. I smiled at her - as you do - and said, 'Yes, its a sock!' And she began to talk to me.
She told me that she hadn't seen anyone knitting socks for more than forty years, and that she had thought it was a lost art. She told me that she thought all the yarn shops closed years ago. She told me that she was 83.
She told me about the pullovers that she had made in the war years, she told me about unravelling things that her children had outgrown and re-using the yarn. She told me about a beautiful blue short sleeved pullover that she had knitted to her own design, using yarn she salvaged from an unflattering sweater that someone had given her.
She told me that she had never turned a heel, that her sister always used to do this for her. I told her that it wasn't difficult in the slightest, it just looked as if it was. She looked at the single finished travel sock, and admired the one on the needles. She was very interested in the yarn - Noro Kureyon Sock - and told me that she thought colour changing yarn was a wonderful idea - 'What fun!' She asked me - where could she buy yarn like that? So I told her.
And then the porter arrived to take her somewhere, and she was wheeled off, telling the porter how she was going to start knitting again.