In October of 2006 the Great Canadian Icon (GCI) was coming to town and I had front row seats…………At previous concerts I had noticed that audience members would place wrapped flowers on stage before the concert. I decided that I wanted to leave something a little more personal. We were after all soon to celebrate our 36th anniversary (see previous post). After much deliberation, I decided upon a pair of socks to keep the great one’s feet warm all winter. But just knitting a pair of socks wasn’t enough. I would spin the yarn and then knit the socks. And so it began, my great plan…….it was to take me all summer.
What started out as a simple pair of socks began to take on a life of it’s own. Friends were quite taken with the idea and began inundating me with suggestions on top of what I was thinking up myself. The socks should have musical notes, they should have the lyrics of my favourite song, they should have a map of Canada, a railroad, the Great Lakes….. My head started to hurt. The socks had to now represent his entire musical career. My head hurt more and I couldn’t make any decisions regarding The Socks. Finally I came to my senses and decided to go back to my original idea of a nice pair of plain comfy socks.
Next I had to find the perfect fiber in the perfect colorway. I visited Fiber shows and vendors in two countries. I selected bags of fiber and began spinning. And just as quickly I began rejecting batch after batch. Too bright, too dull, too girly, too blue….it went on and on, my quest to spin the perfect yarn. And I insisted on listening to the GCI’s songs as I spun. I sat outside most of that summer, spinning and singing and driving my neighbors mad. Finally it happened. I spun the yarn that I deemed to be worthy of the GCI’s feet. It was spun from Fleece Artist Roving in an earthy brown with orange and rusts. This I thought was as it should be. The fiber had come across this mighty land all the way to me on the west coast. And the colors were perfect…….I was ready to knit. But what size should I make?
I had a friend in Toronto who was a fellow fan, so I asked for his advice…..what size were the GCI’s feet? He didn’t know but he would find out! After much internet research we established what we thought was his shoe size. Men’s size 9. I set to work. Toe up socks, turkish cast on, short row heel and two by two rib. I was done. They were washed and blocked and fondled and fussed over.
I moved in September and in the process of packing I discovered the album that had started the affair. A gift from my father on my 16th birthday. When I laid the socks on the album to take a photo for posterity I was bowled over. The colors in the socks matched exactly the colors on the album. I had not seen this album cover in many many years, but somewhere in the depths of my knitter’s brain I had known what color the socks should be.
October finally came……and I fretted on how to display my handiwork. I finally cut sock blockers out of cardboard and then wrapped them in cellophane like a bouquet of flowers. After tying the ribbon I had a panicked thought. Who would wash these socks? I unwrapped the bouquet of socks and included a label with washing instructions. We attended the concert and just before it got under way I left my seat and tenderly placed my package on the edge of the stage. I waited and held my breath. A stagehand appeared and picked up the socks and carried them off stage. A few minutes later, there he was on stage, the GCI himself. The concert was fantastic, as always. He sang all my favourites and I was thrilled.
I decided against putting my name on the package. I didn’t want to send the wrong message. His music had given me so much over the years and I just wanted to say thank you in a small personal way anonymously. So I don’t really know if he ever saw the socks. I hope so. I hope that they fit and that he wore them. I like to close my eyes and picture him sitting in front of the fire singing a song for a winter’s night. And his size 9 feet are very very warm.
Oh, by the way, I had so much “rejected” sock yarn by the end of that summer that I had enough to knit myself a sweater.