Sock and Glove and Grace and Love

hank-blog

 

Meet Hank.  He’s the newest member of our household.  And like a mother who’s just brought her first baby home from the hospital, I can’t stop looking at the little guy.  After all, it’s a wee bit like birthing a baby…because I made him.

 

Okay, maybe those of you to whom this sort of thing comes easily are wondering what the big deal is.  After all, you make stuff that’s much harder and way yonder better all the time.  I know…I’ve seen and admired all that gorgeous stuff on your blogs. 

 

But, see, I’m not so talented in that way.  Wait…that’s an understatement.  It would be more accurate to say that I am utterly miserable and piteously wretched when it comes to arts and crafts.  If you were being kind, you might say that I am “domestically challenged.”  So I’ve developed an inordinate and irrational fear of  attempting any sort of handiwork.

 

I feel quite overwhelmed when I look at craft project books because they all look so intimidating and complex.  Pages and pages of instructions.  Arcane words and phrases. I even bought one of those Klutz books for kids—to learn to knit.  I thought maybe even I could handle instructions geared to kids.  But I’m afraid I never got past “casting on”.  (Or was that casting off?)

 

Anyway, before Christmas, I was looking at my Amazon Recommendations and saw a book with the straightforward and not-so-intimidating title of Sock and Glove by Miyako Kanamori.  I was enchanted by the very cute and compelling little critter on the front. So I bought it.  And true to its title, it turned out to be a book about making your own cute and compelling little critters—out of socks and gloves.

 

And here’s what I love about it:   First of all, the instructions are as straightforward and unintimidating as the title.  So, right away, I felt like maybe, just maybe, I could actually pull this off.  Plus, there was nothing fancy to buy.  I just used a pair of plain brown jersey work gloves.   (Because they were less than a buck. It might be easier, though, to use the knit gloves she recommends).   Also, I loved the way even the animals she made had imperfections, so that I didn’t feel like it would be a travesty if mine weren’t perfect.  And, as you can see, they’re not.  In fact—uneven stitches, ragged edges, hanging threads—they’re all there, plain as day.  But that’s okay—I have a few hanging threads and ragged edges myself. :-)

 

But after a while, Hank got lonely.  He was a little shy around the other stuffed…I mean, invertebrate…animals that have lived here since our children were small.  They were all storebought and finely stitched in China and Taiwan, with fancy plastic eyes and soft polyester fur. He was afraid they’d look down on him, with all his flaws and blemishes.  So, I decided to make him a friend.  A little sock friend. 

 

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Meet Homer, the sock monkey.  Yeah, I know Homer is an odd name for a monkey, but, for some reason, he reminded me of Homer Simpson.  Or, even worse, maybe a cross between Homer Simpson and Krusty the Clown.  Can you see it?  And yet, somehow, he’s really cute!  Homer and Hank became fast friends and love to hang out together.  Here they are looking at the pretty green tulip shoots starting to emerge out back.  They can’t wait for spring. 

hank-and-homer-together-blog

 

Now those of you for whom handiwork comes easy may think me silly, but after I finished Hank and Homer, I was so excited and happy that I almost cried.  Because I’ve failed so dismally at this kind of thing in the past and I didn’t think I could do it.  Because I, with my many imperfections and inadequacies and self-doubt, managed to overcome my fear of failure to make something I felt proud of, even if it wasn’t perfect. Because even with their many imperfections, Hank and Homer were utterly adorable and lovable.  And I thought about how even I, with all my flaws and blemishes, am adored and loved by our Heavenly Father and by all those who see me rightly.  Those that look past all those imperfections and see what is essential and true. 

 

Who would have thought I’d find grace in a little brown glove dog and a sock monkey who looks like Homer Simpson?  Grace is always there—in the most unexpected places.  Sometimes, we just have to make sure we recognize it in whatever form it takes.  Whatever ragged, frayed, uneven, and imperfect forms it takes. 

 

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25 Responses to “Sock and Glove and Grace and Love”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Beth, I absolutely love everything about this post: the little critters that you made (boy, I’d be proud too!), and what you said about one of my favorite topics: grace.

    BTW, I read Cynthia Rylant’s book in one huge, delighted gulp yesterday. Thank you for that, too.

  2. Margie Says:

    Aren’t you clever!!!!

  3. pticester Says:

    Great post! Your creations are adorable.

  4. wesleyjeanne Says:

    I adore, I mean absolutely adore…cannot stress enough how much I adore Hank and Homer! I am so proud of you!!!! I, too, am challenged in the domestic arts (I never got past casting on either), and since we have discussed our shared handi-caps (ha ha, a pun for you), I understand what a HUGE thing it is that these guys turned out so great. I’m proud of you for attempting it, even more than the fact that they are so freakin’ cute.
    Oh, and Homer totally looks like Homer J. (And, now that you mention it, Krusty, too)!!

    I love this post, too. You may not think of yourself as handy in the domestic arts, but you are an artist of words my friend. I so love the way you write.

    The whole thing just makes me feel happy. Happy for you, and happy about you, and just plain happy.

  5. Pat Says:

    Hank and Homer have the best smiles ever.

  6. Ariel Says:

    I am so proud of you! You finally acheived your sock critter aspirations! And you made not one, but two, no less! They’re wonderful, adorable, and absolutely perfect in my eyes. :) Like everyone else, I adore this post. And as Wesley said, this is just plain happy. This post made me smile a lot. I’m still smiling. I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and think of this and smile. :) You’re the only person I know who can successfully write about the divine as it appears in sock critters. I love the transition from a narrow scope to the widest one.

    I can’t wait to meet Homer and Hank!

  7. hayah.cc Says:

    wow very nice
    really i like this blog
    thanks

  8. Judy Says:

    I am sure Homer and Hank became great friends immediately. They are so cute and I bet they look adorable in your home. Like you, I am challenged when it comes to all kinds of crafts, sewing, etc.. I think my problem is not having the patience to sit still and work on something. I hope your new friends grace your home for many years and your self doubt diminishes a little more each time you look at them. Homer and Hank are perfect names for the little fellers.

  9. tanya Says:

    They are ADORABLE! So dang cute that I can’t stop smiling over them!

  10. chris Says:

    As someone who has done “arts and crafts” her whole life, I wish to congratulate you for having honored your additional artistic talents. Yes, we know of many artistic talents you practice every day, wife, mother, home maker, gardener, photographer, and many more. It’s always fun to expand your media.

    Navajo rug artists intentionally put a “mistake” in their work. We know perfection by it’s imperfections. Hank and Homer are delightful and perfect. Happy spring to all of you.

  11. eemilla Says:

    I too thought getting the kiddie learn to knit book would help, but alas I am still not capable. Hank and Homer look like they will bring many a smile, and yes I agree that Homer has the head of a certain cartoon beer drinking oaf with the huge smile (sans the irony) of Krusty.

  12. Jeff Says:

    Oh, my! Know that everyone who creates has lots and lots of self-doubts. When I got my courage up to go to my first wood sculpture class, it was quite an experience. About half-way through my first sculpture, I had to stop because it wasn’t going in the right direction. I then learned that, for me, sculpture is a process. There is no destination – just the journey. I wonder if that is not what has intimidated you in the past? You are so creative with words and photography that I think you might find you are creative in other media besides sock puppets, too!! Just dive in and do it and don’t pay attention to the instructions. There are more than a few paintings by artists as well-known as Jackson Pollack that are deteriorating badly because they were done with house paint and painted on cardboard – a conservator’s nightmare! Don’t listen to the “shoulds” – put yourself in gear and enjoy the journey. If it isn’t fun, then try something else!

  13. Benjamin Says:

    When I first saw these, I grinned, then giggled out of sheer joy and showed my roommate Tom (he thought they were adorable, too). I will never stop smiling over this one. I am proud of you too, and I thank God that he gave this to you. It gave you confidence and gave everyone joy. Thank you, Mommy. You amaze me.

  14. CountryDew Says:

    These are adorable! I’m right there with you on the dismay at being “uncrafty” – it was never a talent I could grab and get a handle on. My mother could always do stuff like that, but apparently I missed that gene.

    It is great that you were able to conquer your fears and move forward. Real growth! Bravo.

  15. ginger Says:

    I LOVE this post because it captures some feelings I have experienced in the last couple of years. The pure joy of creating something beautiful. It is all about grace and imperfection and loveliness. I am so terrible in the sewing dept that my kids go to their dad for buttons and patches that need to be sewn on. Therre is something deep and real in each of us that needs to create a piece of beauty. You did it! Great joy.

    Been awhile since I stopped by your blog. We are trash glommers/dumpster divers too. Love the fireback!

  16. Sara Says:

    They make me smile. Go you!

  17. wesleyjeanne Says:

    Aren’t your kids the sweetest? They always write such nice comments on your blog.

  18. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Wesley: I am indeed blessed. My kids make me so proud I could bust.

  19. Clara Melvin Says:

    WOW!!!! You did GOOD Beth. Hank and Homer are beautiful. They certainly made me smile. Who cares about the imperfections? That makes them unique. It’s all about creating something and the joy that can come from it! You GO, girl!!!!!!

  20. colleen Says:

    I love these! I bet you can get some good gloves and socks at the thrift shops. Do you know how much cotton toys cost these days? I know cause I bought Bryce a cotton teddy for Christmas as a protest to plastic.

  21. Betsy Says:

    Hi Beth, I’m visiting after see Judy from KY’s comment on my blog about Craggy Gardens. I looked at your road trips —and enjoyed reading all about your mother and her love of Craggy. Check out my blog if you have a chance. I talked about Craggy today.

    Love your ‘babies’–especially Homer and Hank. Cute-Cute-Cute.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

  22. Hank and Homer-Part 2: Hank and Homer’s Odyssey « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    [...] about Hank and Homer (who at one time were  gloves and socks) and how they came into being here, you probably thought you’d seen the last of them.  Well, I  can’t help [...]

  23. Hank and Homer-Part 3: A Visit from the Easter Bunny « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    [...] By blueridgebluecollargirl Okay, so I know it’s a bit soon for yet another Hank and Homer tale, but I just couldn’t resist!  [Note to the snarky dude on Twitter who mildly ridiculed [...]

  24. Hank and Homer Have a Snow Day « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    [...] (For those that are new to my blog (and are thinking “Why is a 52-year-old-woman playing with stuffed animals?”), you can find the story of Hank and Homer here.) [...]

  25. منتدى المرأة Says:

    I loved the first one the most , Thanks for the post

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