It’s too freaking hot to wear socks. At least where I live. I’m sure all you gentle readers in Alaska and Iceland would disagree….but in Iowa, the summers are just too hot to warrant socks. Sure, I could bypass convention and comfort and wear them anyway, but then I would not only look stupid with them on, but would acquire a farmer’s tan (A farmer’s tan is when you have obvious and awkward tan lines.) from the ankle down. Not a good idea. Summer is wonderful for knitting socks and this leads to a dilemma. Do you keep knitting socks during the summer and stockpile for cold weather – ignoring the building resentment of not being able to wear a fresh hand knit? Or do you take up knitting tank-tops and other summer friendly apparel which you can immediately put on, once it’s cast-off, despite the increase in overall project size. (I.E. – you will have a lap blanket of a knitting project for anything larger than a pair of socks or gloves….) I don’t know the answer. Perhaps you do…. or maybe it’s one of the deep mysteries of the universe. At any rate, I’m knitting socks. I have been knitting socks all year long and will probably continue to knit them. They’re easy, I can ad lib patterns on the fly and they’re wonderful for that intoxicating and addictive feeling of instant gratification.
The latest and greatest pair to fly off my needles are some nice Swirl Socks in Scarlett O’Hara, gradient dyed on a sock blank. I originally intended these babies to have five large bands of color, but I made the bands too large. Usually I only use 2/3 of a 4 ounce skein of yarn, and hence these really only have 2 1/2 color repeats in them. Lesson learned – shorter bands for more color change. Another bummer, the first color change occurred while I was working the short row heel. The heel looks awesome, slowly fading from light green into the darker, but at the ankle there is a sharp color break as the light ends and the dark takes over. I’m not sure there’s really any way to plan around that without doing an inserted heel. But farther up on the ankle, the color shift from green to blue is subtle and fun and lovely.
I want to wear them, but I’m resisting. It’s a good thing that my new summer Birkenstocks have a toe post that prevents me from wearing them with socks, or I’d look like a total nerd running around in socks and sandals in the 90 degree heat and 85% humidity.
I liked the first pair of Swirl Socks so well, that I’m now knitting a second pair from another dyed blank. This time, it’s diagonally painted stripes in the Mariner colorway on Marianne Dashwood yarn. Marianne is a 100% super-wash merino, sport weight yarn with lots of spring. I love knitting with her. She wears pretty darn well, too….although I do recommend a sweater shaver every 3-4 washings. (Or just turn these babies inside out when you wash and forget the sweater shaver.) The color mixing is coming along really well at this point….although I must confess I’m only a couple inches into the socks. I’ll keep you posted.
There are a couple adjustments that I need to make to this colorway to compensate for the differences between dyeing blanks and a skein of yarn. The contrast between the celedon and the drab is not as sharp as I’d like it to be, and I might need to increase the color concentration to achieve the very saturated tones more easily attained when dyeing skeins. Now, if I could just find someone to knit me up some yarn blanks at a reasonable price!
Lastly, I’ve been working on new colors for the fall. More specifically, semi-solid colorways that match current multi-color colorways in the Yarn Love collection. I’m starting with the most ordered colors and branching out from there. Here’s a sneak peek at three of the skeins. From top to bottom these will match Valentine, Mariner and Awakening Earth. What do you think?