Monday, December 14, 2009

Turning a heel....

Do me a quick favor. If you are in a socially appropriate place, take off one of your shoes (granted, you are wearing socks) and look at your heel. You may not think about it, but making the heel of a sock come out so it conforms to your foot is no easy thing. I was blessed earlier this year when a mentor of mine (in life, priesthood and knitting) took me by the hand, literally, and taught me how to "turn a heel" during the knitting of a sock. It takes setting some stitches aside (putting up some issues in order to focus on ones that are linked to the goal at hand), and then walking through a set process that eventually narrows the heel of the sock into a cup...once done (well, and to a positive effect), you can then pick up the stitches you set aside, along with others arising from the spaces created by the construction of the heel flap.

Go ahead, take off that sock and look closely. Whether the sock is hand-made or machine-made, the turning of the heel is perhaps the most demanding and commensurately mindful act in the creation of that sock.

Over the course of several projects, the idea of "turning the heel" is no longer something dismissive for me. That was how I saw it before. Turning heel meant walking away from something, being done with it.

Now, I see it differently. Turning heel means, for me, turning into the challenges at hand. It means being willing to set down things that are NOT at the moment connected to the task at hand in order to bring a stronger focus to the act of creation. Turning the heel means as well being grateful for the craft that so many things in our lives demand...and yet these are things we just don't think about.

For instance....look at the drawer in your desk. It probably has dovetail joints. Think about the skill that goes into making a set of those cuts in wood to allow two board at right angles to be joined! Or, how about that doorknob at your office/room door? What goes on inside that construct that allows one rotation to then move a lever that then moves a bolt that then opens the latch?

So much of our lives have become centered on NOT being mindful of what it takes to MAKE things...I am learning that as I learn to make socks.

So, next time you are tempted to turn on your heel and walk away from a challenge...Pause. That heel took skill, effort and time to create. Perhaps you will consider that before you insist on continuing to wear it down?

S1, K1, S1*.....

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