I don't think it would be fair to say that Chicago in winter is colorless. It's not. There is always the blue of the lake, and often the blue of the sky. But our cold-weather palette is certainly muted, and around this time of year it can start to feel like the world outside has gone all gray with buff highlights.
Maybe that's why suddenly everything on my work table is colorful. Make that multicolorful.
I finished swatching colors for my hypothetical Fair Isle vest.
Not bad at all. You could make a good vest out of that. But I've decided I want some zingy tones in there, so I'm going to order up a skein of orange and one of lapis lazuli (or whatever I can get that's close to lapis lazuli). And yes, I know a bunch of you said at first glance that I ought to do something of the kind, but I had to try it for myself. I appreciate suggestions, but I almost never take anybody's word for anything. That's just one of the many, many extremely annoying things about me. (For a full and annotated list, please contact my parents.)
Then there was this lovely sock yarn I'd had sitting around, waiting for me to get to it.
The colorway is Mahogany and it's from The March Hare. Meg's stuff comes from her own flock of Border Leicesters. The yarn is lovely to look at and blessedly soft, but until now I couldn't find a pattern that would do it justice.
First, I took a whack at Ariel Barton's Cable Net, which I've had my eye on since it was published. I worked the whole first chart before conceding that the yarn was too dark and just a little too variegated (though it's definitely a semi-solid) to show off the pattern. Rip.
Then, I thought maybe a plain sock would be best for the yarn, but quickly remembered why I don't knit plain socks. (Puzzlement: I have no trouble sitting motionless on a meditation cushion for an hour, but want to scream and throw things after six inches of unrelieved stockinette. Why?)
Then, I remembered a bright blue Shepherd's Sock from Lorna's Laces that's been vacationing in the stash cupboard for at least a year. What about a color-patterned sock?
Under the influence of two wallpapers from the first season of Upstairs, Downstairs, I spent two hours with my pad of graph paper and came up with this.
I feel encouraged enough to continue.
Pattern Alerts: Two Hats
Remember the Bavarian Twisted Stitch Hat I finished in January, using Meg Swansen's handout from Knitting Camp? If you don't, here it is again.
A bunch of folks asked about the pattern, which at the time hadn't been published except in the handout. But, happy chance, it was already being prepped for an appearance in the newest issue (Number 80) of Wool Gathering, the venerable and delicious newsletter from Schoolhouse Press. I love the new version.
And I would like to mention, in case you care to check it out, that there's a Victorian baby hood in the new Knitty that I worked up using an 1840s recipe. (The five-day-old model is not a member of the family. She was graciously loaned by her parents. As you can tell from the look on her face, she simply adored working with me.)