TALE OF THE TEENY SOCK

A while back I worked for Bay Networks, before they were on the receiving end ofthe Nortelengulf-and-devour experience. Like most companies, Bay did many things right, but others with less precision. One of the things they did right was to insist that all sales and marketing employees actually know and have experience with the products they sold. As a proposal drone, I was sent off to the same training sessions as the sales engineers. Training was dense-pack: thorough, totally useful, informative, and lasted an entireweek. A long week. An interminable week. Did I mention that it took five solid 8-to-5 days?

For four days I sat in adank conference room watching two things – theoh-so-serious instructor and (through the door-side window) the traffic in the elevator lobby in front of the training room. On the opposite wall of the lobby from the conference roomwas a sailfish, stuffed and mounted on a trophy plaque. It was a handsome blue devil, gape-mouthed and arching mid-leap in fishy defiance, but like all long dead and dustythings – it never moved.

Late in the afternoon onDay #4 I had an inspiration. I went home that night and knit up a teeny gray and redsock. I stuffed it with a piece ripped from my business card. The next morning I got to class early, and slipped the thing into the sailfish’s mouth. The little toe and heel poking out of the fish’s mawmade it look like a tinyperson was being swallowed alive. Day #5 was infinitely more interesting as I watched people doing a double take as they passed by and noticed my addition.

I left the sock in place for the entire three years I worked at Bay/Nortel. Finally the time came for us to part ways. I went back to the fish’s building to retrieve my sock. Some people tried to stop me, as the display had become a building mascot.I had them remove the sock and reveal the business card fragment inside. There was my name, and I took my knitting.

The blue one I knit upas aKnitList membership badge for the ’97 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.It was however too small for that purpose, and no onenoticed that I was wearing it until I pointed it out.

Both of these were knit from the reinforcing yarn that came with Special Blauband. They’re both fully-fashioned toe-ups, using exactly the same figure-8 cast on, short-rowed heel and ribbed cuffs I use to make all of my more wearable socks. I used flat toothpicks to make them, although now in retrospect I probably could have used blunt needles intended for tapestry or needlepoint. Gauge on the gray is something like 14 spi, although it’s tough toestimate accurately. It measures about 2 (5.1 cm) inches from toe to heel, and 2 inches (5.1 cm) from heel to cuff. Little Blue is about 1.5inches (3.8 cm) from toe to heel, and about 1.75inches (4.4 cm)from heel to cuff.

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