Saturday, 13 August 2011

Blue Period (shawls and socks)

I've been going through a Blue Period - buying a lot of things that are blue. It started with the wedding: Chris and I settled on a bluey tartan for his kilt so I had my dress detailed in blue and my bridesmaids picked navy for their dresses and lo, we were well and truly settled on blue for our "colours". Somehow this idea of matching colours spilled out into the rest of my life. I realized I'd lost weight* and needed to buy an almost entirely new (to me) wardrobe and anything that was a wedding-coordinated shade of blue got bonus points as something I could wear in the days leader up to and following the wedding. I also spent a fairly substantial amount of time looking for the perfect blue yarn with which to knit myself a wedding shawl. Chris even bought a blue coffee machine. It also helps that blue is one of the few colours for which I love almost every shade. I'd be hard-pressed to name a shade of blue I'd be just as happy to never see again, which is not something that can be said of green or red - though purple fairs better. It is perhaps, then, unsurprising that a lot of things in my life, right now, are blue.

A while back, in Judith Glue (a "tourist" shop that sells things made locally rather than China) I picked up an 100g cake of two-ply lambswool in a dark teal described as "ocean spray". That's everything I know about it. It's more of a sock weight than fingering but I have no idea how much yardage I'll get out of 100g! I kept picking it up to make something and then set it back down again, worried I wouldn't have enough yarn. It's not really something I want to snuggle against my skin, so no scarves, hats, or mittens. The best "knit until you run out of yarn" idea that I could think of was a top-down shawl and I finally settled on Evelyn C. Clark's popular Swallowtail Shawl. I made her "Flower Basket Shawl" for Miss Krissy and really enjoyed knitting it, so it seemed perfect. Also if almost 9000** other knitters have cast it on, it must be a great shawl, right?

The only real downside is that part of me would rather be knitting socks. I love shawls - I've knit 7 of them so far this year and this shawl will make 8. Three of those I gave away and one I plan to frog, but I'm still going to be four shawls richer this year. My first "real" project was the Tri-Aran-Angle Shawl from Knitty back in 2003 (but only blocked this May) and I have a couple pashminas that I wear regularly. Eventually a girl has to ask - do I need more shawls? Is there a shawl-niche I haven't filled? For a while this spring there was, when I had a small dark rose shawl and a small red shawl and the wedding shawl I couldn't wear yet and, unless I was wearing something that went well with red or rose, I couldn't drape on a shawl. So yes, I probably have room for a black shawl and maybe a few stoles/scarves, but I can't just sit around knitting shawls that I'll never or rarely wear. If nothing else, where will I store all these shawls?

But I can use an unlimited variation of socks. Socks in different colours, weights, patterns, lengths... I wear socks most ever day (more than one pair in the winter) and need a selection to rotate through. I can also knit socks for my husband who has, as of yet, expressed no desire for a lacy shawl. Socks are about the same investment as a small shawl - most sock and shawl patterns seem to call for one skein of sock-weight yarn. Socks should be the perfect answer to enjoyable, productive knitting. I am starting to buy sock yarn and patterns, to read about knitting socks and construction techniques and am completely hooked on socks.

The only problem, of course, is that I've yet to knit my first pair of socks. They'll be blue though.

* I'd known I was losing weight but it wasn't until I stopped wearing 3 or 4 layers under my jeans that it became, um, obvious that all my clothes were falling off.

** I occasionally hear people say they won't knit something if the pattern is really popular. I can understand not wanting to show up at a party and have everyone else sporting the same knitwear, but I tend to figure if that many people have previously knit it then all mistakes in the pattern have been sussed out and corrected. Also, I like having a wide selection of "yarn suggestions", looking at the pictures of other people's finished projects, and reading their notes. And, quite frankly, the odds of me running into another knitter who has knit the same thing as me and we're both wearing it, living here in urban-rural Scotland are remote.

No comments:

Post a Comment