Thursday, January 04, 2007

Socks, glorious socks

Well, I think they are. That's Piece of Beauty 'Mountain Fruit', in the Ribbed Lace pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. I think Kirsty's not only successfully dealt with the 'spicy' issue of pooling, she's produced a truly lovely patterned yarn that works beautifully for moderately lacy knitting. I also really like the way the Ribbed Lace is producing a remarkably stretchy fabric, as demonstrated by my left hand. Having written all that I realise just how poorly I must have felt earlier in the week when he and I couldn't do more than sit on the couch staring into the distance and waiting to feel better. The concentration required for a 24-row repeat was completely beyond me. Ah, the joys of 'flu or a 24-hour virus or whatever it was, our reward for being sociable on New Year's Eve. Never mind, it's over. I hope. Until the next time...

I do wonder whether our (in the general western civilisation sense) memories are less effective now than they could be. I'd be lost without my PDA and the little red book in which I note date, time and content of business telephone calls. But in the past people not only invented 24-row, multi-stitch knitting patterns (and far more complex weaving structures), they remembered them. Lots of them. OK, they probably kept samples to refer to, but I lay odds they remembered more than we do. Bards and others with trained memories could recite histories and genealogies for hours? on end. My memory is crammed so full of telephone numbers, card numbers, account numbers and the security codes, passwords and PINs I need to access 'stuff' that I can feel things dribbling out of the cracks. Perhaps this is another reason to have less stuff. We culled clothing before we put it back in the closet, so there's a stack of ancient t-shirts for rags and another of decent clothing for recycling. Stuff I've grown out of, mentally and physically. (Some I never grew into: shirts far, far too large, a legacy of my days of thinking I was fat. I'm working on that.) That felt good, really good, so we attacked the main storage cupboard. We threw out all the paint tins we'd kept for a decade or more (why did we do this? most colours are unavailable within a year or two, the paint dries out, our tastes change). The SLR cameras we haven't touched for 7 years, the air mattresses, the fabric that once concealed the ugly hand-me-down chairs that were our only furniture, any stuff worth having that I didn't even remember possessing* was offered on Freecycle. It's gone, with luck to people who actually need it. Not only do I feel lighter mentally, we can walk into the cupboard on the floor instead of clambering over stuff we didn't use. A good start to 2007.

Another measure of my viral misery was my inability to be more than moderately excited when this arrived, part of the 'yarn for needles' swap I've got going with my inlaws. Hand-painted yarns first fired my enthusiasm for sock-knitting – I was desperate to see what the colours DID – but I'm now developing a greater interest in the feel of the yarn itself, perhaps because I'm thinking about spinning. Cherry Tree Hill seems so tightly spun it almost bounces, although after its first machine wash it softened considerably. And lost more colour than I expected. I didn't like Lorna's Laces, it felt thin. Ungenerous. Mountain Colours, sorry, Colors 'Bearfoot' is thick, warm and glossy with mohair. Fleece Artist Merino is inoffensive in every regard, save that the 'Jester' bright reds faded to pinks after only two machine washes, and it's still shedding dye in every handwash with wool detergent. The STR yarn feels promising, soft and very, very woolly. Perhaps the 'Rooster Rock' will be his second pair of socks.

Guess what? More yarn. This was a sort of birthday present to myself: membership in Sundara's Sock Club. The first installment has arrived! The colour is off in that photo, but I assure you that it reminded me of all the beautiful dark hellebores that fail to survive in my garden. Only white with purple spots seem to like it here. Is that significant? I don't know, but I do like the fact that I have no inclination whatsoever to buy yarn. Everything I want to knit (there is a list) can be made from stash yarns, or by spinning the small stash of roving I haven't confessed to possessing :-)








* with one exception. I found a small stash of Phildar yarns and a Phildar baby knit pattern book. I don't do new years resolutions, but I am going to knit that yarn into baby clothing and find a local charity that wants it.

4 comments:

Joanne said...

We too have been fighting this crummy virus. Jeff's over it, I'm putting on a valiant fight against. Your photos of yarn and cleaning efforts really impress me. I did move around some piles, mind you, and that seemed to at least fix our wireless signal. Pitiful, I know.

Hey, just on the off chance that you remember Kiri--do you think that pattern repeat you did could be morphed into a stole sort of thing? I've got some handspun cashmere, habu and your seasilk gift, I'm wondering if I might create some sort of multi yarn lace stole. Hmmmm.

HPNY Knits said...

Happy new year! I like your new socks! great flowing pattern. I am with ya on the Lorna Lace. you'll enjoy Sundara's, it has the same richness as koigu. I never used STR, so I'll be curious to see how you like them.

Anonymous said...

I must widen my sock-yarn horizon. I am now quite envious of all your lovely yarn. What is your favourite so far?

I really like the patterns in the Sensational Socks book. I've just finished a pair and a half from it. I do like the Ribbed Lace you're knitting and the yarn looks delectable.

I'm with you on the memory thing and think it must be worth doing mental exercises so we don't just lose it all by the time we're applying for our bus passes.

sarah said...

My favourite so far is the Bearfoot, soft, glossy and beautiful deep colours. I like the thickness, too, but it's midwinter now... might not be so good when the weather's warmer. Hila, I'm glad you seconded me on the LL: so many bloggers seem to love the stuff! Joanne, you have mail!