May 9th, 2011

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

The Beowulf Sock Saga...


Walking on Beowulf. Collapse )

Story so far: a little while back I happened upon somebody’s link to a pattern for theknitting up of “Beowulf socks” – socks with the text from Beowulf knit into the sock itself. I have to tell you, this tickled my geeky side so instantly and so utterly that I immediately reposted the thing with a plaintive “WANT!!!” attached to it.

Oh yes, I wanted, I wanted really badly. This is the ULTIMATE wordnerd sock.

The problem was that, looking over my arguably multifarious talents, sock-knitting was not one of their number. I might want all I want but I was incapable of fulfilling the desire because I would have had no idea where to begin.

Enter the generous and talented Brenda Clough who emailed me and said, well, she could do these for me if I wanted.

I fell over myself saying yes please.

We messaged back and forth a little concerning yarns and what have you, and then she began the project, blogging about its beginnings and its unique problems along the way – because these are NOT mated socks, they are not identical, and while one of them starts out with the hallowed Anglo Saxon “HWAET!” (did you know Tolkien used to open his lectures at Oxford with a bellowed “Hwaet!” – and that the students, being untutored as yet in the niceties of Old Saxon, misheard him as yelling “QUIET!!!”) the text carries on down that calf and that foot, ends at the toe, and then gets picked up where it left off at the top edge of sock #2.

She posted pictures of socks-in-progress – and when they were finally done, they arrived in my post box the morning I was leaving for Norwescon – hubby was tearing open the packaging even as we set out for the convention. So I had the socks for Norwescon, and on the second day of the con I wore them proudly in public. People ASKED about them and I would thrust out a proud foot (hah. More Tollkien. I was a Proudfoot…) and showed off the Saxon screed on my gams.

Oh, it was all I wanted it to be, and more.

I brought them home and am wearing them as I type this. They are warm and pleasant and OH so damned special.

I am walking on Beowulf. Hwaet. There can’t be many who can have said THAT in their lifetime.

Brenda, you are a scholar and a craftsperson and a gentlewoman – and you have my undying gratitude for bringing this project to life. Words in my mind and immortal ancient words at my heels – what else does a true writer need to be happy?…