Tuesday, February 06, 2007

blinding inspiration

If you squint and turn your head 22 degrees to the left, it kind of looks like a wearable shade of purple. Right? RIGHT? (Please, just humor me.)

bright closeup

That's a sneak peek of the socks I'm currently working on. It's a shade of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in a colorway I believe is entitled "crazy stripes." ah-yup

The yarn was a gift, and I'm very grateful to have it, but still a bit undecided on the colors. I think I'm leaning toward liking the effect I'm getting with the chevron and rib pattern I chose from Sensational Knitted Socks, but time will tell. Alex wanted to know if I was really keeping the socks for myself. Sorry, dear. You'll have to live with looking at crazily striped feet every now and again. (More on what the socks remind me of later, when they're done. Can't use up all my material in one post.)

To counteract the frantic neon stripes, take a peek at this:

yarn from Anne

It turns out that one of my co-workers is also in the business of dyeing gorgeous yarns, for folks knitting traditional Scandinavian stockings. She found out that I knit, and generously gave me some samples. Wool is on the right, and silk on the left.

This stuff is incredibly thin. I haven't measured wraps per inch yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm dealing with cobweb, here. I don't think I'll be knitting stockings out of this. (Even my patience has its limits, and while I'm sure I'd eventually finish them, I'm not yet convinced that it's a project I want to take on.) However, I'm thinking that that silk could make a gorgeous lace shawl or scarf. And Anne doesn't just dye this yarn. She dyes it using natural dyes, some (or all?) of which are grown in her apparently quite expansive garden. So this isn't just pretty yarn; It's yarn with a local connection, which could be dyed by someone I actually know. This is yarn I could get excited about. I wonder if she has the materials to do a nice, deep red for me.

Of course, this is all fantasy at the moment. We haven't really discussed the details of this transaction all that much. There is the potential to barter some knit goods for yarn, as she doesn't knit. Or perhaps I'll just save up, and commission a scarf or shawl's worth of dyed silk this autumn. Pretty much all I know about natural dyes is from a couple of episodes of Cast On, but those have gotten me really excited about the colors. And there's also that whole "sense of place" thing, which was a theme on Cast On a series or two ago, and which has really stuck with me since. I tried to write a sense of place knitting essay, realized that I didn't have a close enough connection to my current hometown, and have been very mindful of such things ever since. Maybe I'll even try to design some lace patterns inspired by Keene, New Hampshire, and New England, for this locally dyed yarn.

I've been feeling kind of blah about knitting lately, and even though I'm sure I won't get to knitting anything but sample swatches with Anne's yarn for months, just thinking about the potential for crafty and personal growth is bringing back my artistic inspiration.

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Blogger Christy said...

If you're gonna have bright colors....the feet are the place to do it. Why not?
I plan to learn natural dyeing this summer. We'll see if it actually happens.

2/06/2007 8:18 PM  
Blogger LaurieM said...

I think you could do something lovely with just the white. The quality of the yarn looks to be very good.

2/06/2007 9:39 PM  
Blogger Elinor said...

You know, I think bright socks are thoroughly appropriate in the dead of winter. I like the color combo too!

2/07/2007 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about your elusive knitting mojo these days. If the prospect of naturally hand-dyed silk lace can't bring it back, I don't know what could! Maybe knitting socks you're not crazy about is not helping your knitting blahs? Maybe you need to put them aside for a project you really love, at least until you get your knitting energy back on track.

2/07/2007 8:42 AM  
Blogger Kris B said...

I have a tendency to like bright colored socks and I like the color you have for your socks. Hmmm, maybe if you start playing around with some natural dyes you can overdye the socks and get a color that you really like :).

2/07/2007 1:12 PM  
Blogger Beth S. said...

There's always overdyeing if the socks turn out to be a little too loud for you. ;-)

The pure white yarn is lovely, too. I look at that and I see "lace", not stockings (unless they were lacy stockings?)

2/07/2007 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous, wearable shade of purple!

It's a fun color. I like it.

2/08/2007 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your idea about knitting and a sense of place -- and I love your place! Although not a native, I lived in Amherst, NH for 20 years before moving west to Colorado. Many happy memories of the Monadnock region. Thinking of incorporating place into one's knitting brings up all sorts of ideas about color, texture, style -I'm inspired! Thanks.

2/09/2007 2:15 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I know I've told you before, but this is another reason you must read THE CHEERLEADER and HENRIETTA SNOW by Ruth Doan MacDougall. !!! CHEERLEADER is the best (and the first), but HS has the most sense-of-New-Hampshire-place in it. Ruth graduated from Keene State. I'm sure they have the books in the library there... Please! Humor me!

2/09/2007 3:06 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I felt the same way once about some brightly colored Lorna's Laces yarn in the Childsplay colorway. I find myself wearing those socks on gloomy days so maybe these will be YOUR cheering-up socks! :-)

2/09/2007 3:47 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Geart color!!
I was working Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock right now!!

Anyway...You could help me with this one~~

See my blog more info!!


2/10/2007 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I miss Keene! And Peterborough too - that whole area. I grew up in the white mountains, went to Keene State, and then spent the next few years in Peterborough before transplanting to NC. How cool to find someone so close who does natural dyeing! Somehow it doesn't surprise me with the amazing amount of talented people in the area. Anf she grows her own stuff? I'm swooning! I'm so intrigued by that whole process :) If you like her work, please let us know - when I'm up north to see family maybe I could look her up ;)

2/16/2007 5:26 AM  

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