Saturday, September 29, 2012

FO: Husband Socks

I finally made a pair of socks for my husband.  He is pretty traditional when it comes to socks - black cotton for work and white athletic for around the house.  I got him two pair of SmartWool socks for the holidays last year and he loved them; I sensed my opportunity to get him into a pair of hand knit socks was close.

Earlier this year I picked up a sale-priced sock yarn sampler from Knit Picks.  I love the colors that came in this now-discontinued pack (it was called 'Earth') and the socks I have knit with their yarn over the years have held up really well.  My husband chose the dark brown wool/nylon and I set out looking for a plain sock pattern.  Something with just enough character (for his taste, but for me to enjoy knitting too).  They turned out smidge big, maybe a quarter-inch all around, but in my experience Knit Picks wool/nylon sock yarn will shrink a bit after washing and drying.

I happened upon the Globe Trotter sock pattern on ravelry.  I really like the pattern - I think the seed stitch rib makes for a sophisticated yet casual looking sock.  The designer also has a matching 'Around the World' sock pattern.  Wouldn't it be fun to knit up a pair of each for an engagement/wedding/anniversary gift for an adventuresome couple?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

WI Sheep and Wool Festival

I was lucky to get a day away this past weekend to attend the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.  I attended the festival last year and enjoyed myself.  A lot.  So this year I expanded on my festival experience by taking a class taught by the very talented Mo Brown (owner of The Cat and the Crow yarn shop in Mount Horeb, WI).

This was another dying class.  And while the basic process was the same as the other class I took in the summer, the techniques we used were very, very different.  This was specifically a sock yarn dying class, and we went from undyed, superwash wool, machine knit sock blanks to skeins of hand dyed yarn.

Some contrasts to the other class include: using syringes instead of brushes to apply the dye, using a microwave instead of steam heat to set the dye, and working with a knit fabric instead of loopy skeins of wool.

I am really happy with the two skeins I brought home - one is an experiment in gradation, going from dark purple to light and back to a dark red-purple again.

The other is (hopefully) full of long color repeats of blue, green, gray, black and orange.

I found the class very inspriational, and was quite taken by the approaches of the other students.  A few treated their sock blanks as canvasses, painting elaborate pictures on them.  What is amazing is that work become hidden once the yarn is wound, and then knit up into a project.  But the artists' intent remains: a secret wish, or hidden message, if you will.  Like a whisper, those 'paintings' were utttered and then will disappear into the wind.

I didn't make any elaborate paintings, but I did find myself fantasizing about hidden messages in a hand knit project.  Don't you think a yarn blank could (literally) be printed with messages about love, peace and joy and knit up into something beautiful?  What about including messages of social justice or protest?  Civil disobedeince as public art!  Craftivism!

I did some browsing after the class, but came home with only one kit - the Pippa and Poppy dresses by the talented ladies at Ewetopia.  They are absolutly adorable!  I've cast on for a first dress, with hopes of completing three more (one for each of my girls) by next spring.  

p.s.  I'm also in love with Ariana and Roaslind and might have to splurge in the new year.