Lovely and Amazing
Can you believe this?
It's probably pretty obvious that I'm not generally a luxury fiber sort of knitter. I'm more interested in knitting as an exercise in craftsmanship - the long tradition of using skill and wit and technique to magick up something beautiful from prosaic materials, from sticks and hair and dye. I like decent-quality yarns, sure, but they tend to be the unfancy, unseductive workhorses - basic wool, basic cotton, things that when combined in the right way with color or texture or shape have to work to transcend their ordinariness. Fancy needles, gadgets, super-premium yarn - I don't covet them too much (a good thing, in light of my perpetually empty wallet), and I know they're not always necessary to make nice things.
But this Frost Flowers Shawl-destined silk, from a custom dyer, finally has me understanding why people choose materials that are beautiful to begin with. I've never knitted with 100% silk before - it is richly heavy across the fingers, cool and dry to the touch, subtly lustrous and endlessly interesting just to look at and touch and listen to (the peculiar dry crunch it makes when the ball is squeezed - it makes me feel rich, just to hear it). 3,500 yards - unbelievable.
The color is poorly represented here; a better photographer than I am would be needed, I think, to bring out all the nuances. It's exactly what I'd hoped it would be - vivid and clear with an undertone of cool blue twilight, like the blush on an almost too ripe cherry, or a glass of wine held to the light. The luster of the silk makes the color shift from wine to crimson as it moves and as the observer moves around it - a large shawl made of this might appear to breathe as it flutters in the breeze or as the draped wearer walks by.
The dyer of this extraordinary yarn (her shop is launching soon, but I've promised not to reveal who she is till then) took a vauge expression of color from me - I was describing things, moods, seasons more than I was a color - and somehow translated it perfectly into tone and depth and mood and season and every other thing. This is very fine stuff, in the way that things used to be fine - tactile and heavy and beautiful, steeped in the skill of the maker.
One Almost Argyle sock is done. The pattern is...well...
underwhelming on the foot, no? It makes a very interesting, even pleasing pattern of lines and crosses and zigzags on the foot, but it doesn't really give the impression of argyle when it's stretched out. I think I still like it for what it is (all those little 1x1 twisted stitches are basically 1x1 rib, which makes it fit spectacularly - better than any other handknit sock I've made), but I'm just a wee little bit disappointed.
To get my argyle fix, I'm working now on a two-color sock, covered with a very simple mini-argyle diced pattern.
Ahh, that's better.
I'm so glad at the response this has gotten - I didn't know there were so many locals! I'm thinking we'll try for the first one the Monday after next (2/20) - time and place details to come!