Sometime earlier this summer I got to thinking about a book of knitting motifs that I have, "Enchanted Knitting". I was intrigued by the images of grinning or dancing skeletons. The book explained how the Mexican use of skeletons in their Day of the Dead served a different purpose. It was not a gruesome custom but rather a day to remember family or friends that have passed on.
At the time I thought the idea intriguing and entertained a notion to make a pair of black and white socks with a dancing skeleton on the side or perhaps a skeleton wearing a flowered hat, maybe try ribbon embroidery for the flowers on the hat. I thought I would have my own day of the dead celebration, but I wouldn't say anything to anyone about it because 1) I may not finish them by Nov 1 and 2) I didn't want to try to explain to everyone what I was doing and why I thought I wanted to do this. I'm not Mexican and really know little about this tradition, but I found the use of skeletal imagery in this manner interesting and thought I would give it a go.
I don't think I could have been more stunned when the next Wednesday at our usually knitting group, Connie asked me if I had seen that Amy and Kristi had started a Day of the Dead KAL. I guess somethings are just meant to be.
I chose to knit the Huron Socks by Nancy Bush from her book, "Knitting On the Road", in memorial of my father-in-law, Ray. The socks are designed after the feather patterning of the Common Loon, Minnesota's state bird. When I see the Loon, I think of Ray because he liked the Loon and collected items with Loons on it, mostly mugs but other things too.
I think of Ray when the weather gets hot. Ray liked the weather hot and humid. On those days when the weather was so unbearably hot and most everyone is seeking the comfort and relief of the cool shade or air conditioning, Ray would sit out on the deck in the sunshine and soak up the sun like a Kimodo Dragon. He would invite you to sit out on the deck with him and seemed bewildered by our lack of enthusiasm at the idea.
It will be three years in January that Ray died after a fall that caused a deep brain bleed that we believe occurred due to a series of small strokes that affected his ability to mediate his impulses to get up and move.
As fate would have it, I did knit a pair of black and white socks for the KAL, but I didn't finish them by Nov.1 (I finished them on Nov.6th) and they didn't have any dancing skeletons or grinning skeletons wearing flowered hats. (Although when I think about it now, a skeleton wearing a flowered hat would have been appropriate. Ray was a steam fitter (Welder) and had a collection of brightly colored, some with flowers on that he wore under his welding mask to protect his head and neck.)
I am pleased with how they turned out, I pretty much followed the pattern, except I altered the pattern to include the red loon eyes. I knit them both, at the same time, on one long circular needle using the magic loop method. The socks fit well and I will remember Ray when I wear them this winter.
This has been a really good experience and I would like to thank Amy and Kristi for hosting the KAL. (I'm sorry for posting so late, blogger didn't love me last night.)