Friday, May 11, 2012

Idée fixe

I have loved the edging from the Madder and Ivory Wedding Veil (1891), charted by Sharon Miller in Heirloom Knitting, for about as long as I've known it existed. I clumsily swatched it over and over, thinking about how to ease it around corners (it's tremendously wide), but never using all of it on any of my own projects.

I used the outer part of it in a shawl project in 2008 (from the Unst Stole, by Sharon Miller):

unst stole - edging

And I had various ideas and ideas for ideas since then, but no follow-through, just a little pile of swatches in a file folder.

A swatch!

When I got a call for submissions for an Interweave digital product last year, I decided that the edging's and my time had come at last, and that it would turn into knee socks. And so it did.

madder stockings

Yesterday Anne posted the preview gallery for LaceKnits, a new digital product from Interweave, which includes my stockings and lovely patterns from Carol Feller, Laura Nelkin, Heather Zoppetti, and Donna Druchunas. It's for the iPad, and available from the App Store. I see that the stockings are paired up with a historical essay by the incomparable Franklin Habit and an article on grafting in pattern by Joni Coniglio, so I'm feeling in very good company.

Knitting the sample was one of the most challenging projects I've ever undertaken, even though it was totally my own idea and I volunteered to do it. Once the design was commissioned it took me a few days to realize that it actually was possible for me to do. Knitting these patterns back and forth in fine, drapey 2-ply yarn is one thing, but knitting them in dense, springy yarn in the round turned out to be quite another. In my entire knitting life before producing these socks, I had never purled three together so many times as they required (and I still have the callus to show for it, months later). I emerged from the experience a stronger and more confident knitter—which felt like quite a trick, since I knit for dozens of hours a week and have done for years.

Madder stocking in progress

The yarn—A Verb for Keeping Warm's High Twist, in madder-dyed colourway "Transnational Fury"—was absolutely perfect for the project, and I am grateful to Anne for having found it for me. It's a very round and sproingy heavy laceweight yarn that produces a beautiful, dense garter stitch and smooth, squishy stockinette. I can also vouch for its sturdiness in knitting, having frogged and reworked several sections of the sample socks more than once to no ill effect. If you ever want to knit lace socks at 10+ stitches per inch (and maybe I do, now that I've done it once), it's exactly what you need.


Leanne said...

Beautiful socks, and it looks like a great book - I shall have to get one.

cauchy09 said...

wow wow wow. gorgeous red lace. congrats!

Jane said...

Those socks are beautifully intricate, and look like they really did take hours and hours. Congratulations on the design and on the lovely socks.

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