Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Color

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.

Fair Isle Swatch

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.

Mahogany Sock Yarn

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?

Sock Yarns

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.

Color Sock in Progress

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.

Hat, Side

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.

Bavarian Twisted Stitch Hat

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.)

80 comments:

Linda said...

Although I love the vest swatch the socks are heart stopping beautiful. I think you are very inspirational. Unintentionally inspirational. But inspirational none the less.

Susie said...

Gorgeous colors! I can't wait to see the fo.

duraknit said...

I did wonder where you'd borrowed that deliciously grumpy baby. I'm afraid she might have stolen the show. . .

--Elizabeth D

Saz said...

LOVED your bonnet article in knitty!!! that baby, oh my goodness ;D

your knits are so lovely, i envy your talent. ah, maybe someday... ;)

jenny said...

I also have to admit, I do love the hood--but it took me a little while to be able to look at it, because the expressions on that baby's face are hilarious and adorable. They looked great together!

Sweet Camden Lass said...

I do like the sock. Do you think a colourblind Welshman with a penchant for blue might like it?
(this might be the vast quantity of gin I've just consumed speaking...)

(I have a word verification of 'untri' which seems defeatist in the extreme).

~x~

Sweet Camden Lass said...

p.s. I am not sure I know anyone for the hood... and I really am too tipsy for the keyboard!

Andrew said...

The sock pattern is gorgeous, but that's not what brought me here. I came hoping, swear to god, that there would be somewhere I could leave a comment saying how much I love the photos that go with the new Knitty column. I laugh like a total mental case every time I look at them. So fabulous.

Pat said...

Either that child is incapable of recognizing true genius or it has seen into your true soul.
Have seen Chicago in winter and orange is definitely a necessity.

Jasmin said...

Mmmmm... color. I have to say, I love that Tiffany blue with that rich brown. I'm seeing a similar yarn acquisition in my immediate future. :)

SJ said...

I do love the look of that sock. Any chance you'll be sharing the chart in the future?

The photos of the baby in the Knitty pattern were priceless.

Liz said...

Nice vest swatch. I'd wonder about a splash of lime green, maybe, if you're going for something slightly brighter?

The socks look fantastic...

And oh, that baby. I came over here from Knitty to see if there was a back-story! The grumpiness with the sugared-almond-colour tinting is just perfect...

KGLO said...

ooooo....color combining is still a mystery to me (it seems simple enough, I just can't do it). I'm always impressed when people can pull off stuff like that.

hokgardner said...

The baby hat and baby are to die for.

Here's a story I've meant to send for a while.

My mother gave me one of your "I learned to knit in prison" shirts, and I usually just wear it around the house. One day, without thinking about it, I wore it out on errands, which included a stop at the liquor store (to buy wine as a gift, honest). When I was at the counter paying, the man ringing up my sale looked at my shirt and elbowed the woman working next to him and said, "You need one of those shirts!" It took me a minute to realize what he was talking about. And by then I was a bit afraid to ask if the woman had been in prison or if she was a knitter. I laughed and fled the scene.

Juli said...

hi, just discovered your blog today after looking at your baby hood on knitty; curious about the 1000 knitter project; read that as of july 2008 you were getting close; is there a post that talks about the 1000th knitter; will enjoy reading your blog; take care

barb said...

OMG
your socks are going to be awesome!

Fiona said...

Thanks for a wonderful afternoon yesterday- I had THE best time!!
I love the upstairs downstairs pattern. Race you to come up with a House of Elliot one!!

Alwen said...

I just came from Knitty to say that you are a brave man to A)use a real baby model (OMG dies of teh cute!) and B)to work from Cornelia Mee! She is unforgiving.

What's next, the Shetland shawl from Jane Gaugain? ;D

Aitara said...

those socks are STUNNING. pattern someday maybe? pretty please?

Dawn said...

I'll join the queue begging for the sock chart...please, please say you are taking meticulous notes! I've got Meg's Mahogany too...and some of her blues that might stand in nicely for the LL. :)

meezermeowmy said...

That baby on Knitty clearly had hoped to be part of the 1,000, and was bitterly disappointed.

The hood, on the other hand, modeled beautifully. Bravo!

Patti said...

that blue and brown sock is particularly lovely. Me? I'm a HUGE fan of plain vanilla socks, they are my valium at the end of the day. No thinking, just knitting.

mwknitter said...

I had already noticed the Wool Gatherer & decided to get it because of the hats (I'm ashamed to say I let my subscription lapse) & then just now noticed the baby hood in Knitty. That is just about the sweetest baby garment I've ever seen!

anne marie in philly said...

LERVE the sock pattern!

the baby reminds me of curly howard of "the three stooges", esp. the final picture. "I'm a victim of soicumstance!" she might be heard to say...

turtlegirl76 said...

Oh God. That sock. THAT SOCK! Gorgeous.

quinn said...

Those images are priceless!

The first one, I saw the caption:

Knitting for Winston Churchill

But when I realized it was a series...oh my gosh, I was laughing so hard! (I only hope the parents are finding it equally sweet.)

Now I'm going back to look at the knitting :)

Christina May said...

I love the detailed design on the knit hats, it catches the light just right to show off it's exquisite complexity.

Cathy-Cate said...

I believe that baby IS Cornelia Mee.

Reincarnated.

Trudy said...

Oh, my goodness what a sweet cranky antique baby! Where did you ever find such a wonderful face?

Anonymous said...

The brown mix and blue is absolutely smashing!!!

Marcy said...

Ah, that blue and brown is fantastic! I'm inspired.

Gwen said...

The baby and hood remind me of Maurice Sendak. I'd have to go investigating in the bookshelf to tell you exactly why, and I'm a few miles away.

Gail said...

The baby hood was the first thing I checked in the new Knitty. I love your blending of historical patterns and modern attitude.

janna said...

The sock pattern is gorgeous! And I love the grouchy baby! ;-)

CatBookMom said...

The vest swatch - love the colors and stitch pattern! - and the socks are both lovely. Great work!

That is the crankiest baby I think I've ever seen modeling anything. Now if you'd Photoshopped it with Abigail's face, you'd have more people knitting it. Lovely design, though, perfect for a special occasion.

taelixev said...

delurking...love the colors with the first swatch.

kmkat said...

I was wondering what you had done to make that baby so cranky. Clearly that child is not a knitter. A knitting baby, even a five-day-old one, would have been beaming to have been chosen to model your pattern.

Anonymous said...

I am smitten with the baby! I like the bonnet, but love the baby! :)

junior_goddess said...

Hmmm-traffic cone orange and tube of chapstick should fit right in to a midwest winter.

Anonymous said...

Simple answer: because knitting socks is, like, TOTALLY different from meditation.

Upstairs downstairs design is a win!

Tracy in Qatar

(may change my name to my word verification, trilli)

Helen said...

That swatch is lovely. I'm planning a Fair Isle vest myself, so I feel your pain. I now have eleventy different colours to play with...this is not making it easier. I've not even swatched yet, a Norwegian sweater distracted me. The sock? All kinds of lovely. We definitely demand a chart. I can see that on a sweater.

KnitWit said...

I love that color combo on your socks! I hope you write up a pattern. =)

Also, that is one angry behbeh. ;-)

Kelly said...

Oh my Franklin! That sock colour pattern is stunning! When I saw the two balls together I thought to myself "um, hmm... no. definately no." (When I think it's always in lowercase.) But you've married them together beautifully and I'm just amazed! Love it!

Anonymous said...

Love the sock look forward to an equally zingy vest! Jacqueline x

Lizabeth said...

Publish that sock pattern! Please!

Tara said...

Daaaaayum, that's a nice sock!

Christy D. said...

I am very impressed by your eye for color. I love that swatch for the fair-isle vest, and those sock yarns are stunning together. I don't think I could ever think up either combination on my own.

I also thought your bonnet in Knitty was really nice. I love your description too, especially the part about protecting their heads from being whacked on the barn door or the butter churn :) That poor baby looked like it had somewhere else it wanted to be, though :)

Amy said...

Ack! The baby was hilarious. I loved the hood. Are you sure you didn't knock the baby around before taking the pictures? Oh, wait, the hood does have a bit of padding in it, doesn't it...

The new color-work on the sock is very nice! Nice chart, nice colors together, I really like it. Great job!

Gerrie said...

Maybe that baby knew it would look better in pure white as opposed to ivory? I like crabby-looking kids.

Like the vest swatch, really. I'm sure it will be a different great thing with orange.

The sock-that is cool. I am not ready to spend time fair-isling a sock. just me.

Seanna Lea said...

I was wondering how you managed to get a baby that grumpy, but I figured the extra grump was under the influence of the hood.

katilo said...

*LOL* I didn't know that was your pattern! I did actually open up the link to the baby hood but when I saw the picture my first thought was, "OMG what did they do that child???!!!"

Anonymous said...

...adored working with you...that baby looked as if she was in the eight ring of hell wearing that bonnet. not that the bonnet is not cute.

Evelyn said...

I love your article in knitty. I have no newborns about the place, nor am I anticipating any in the next 10 years or so, and I'm not all that crazy about the "baby hood" anyhow. But I love the article. And I **love** the angry baby! Such a riot. I almost thought you photoshopped the child into the pictures. Really quite entertaining all around. Keep up the good work!

rogue1 said...

Won't your employers bitch smack you if you show up in an Illini vest?

rogue1 said...

Franklin, in about 15 years--that baby is going to come looking for you.

tricotchick said...

Yeah, I like the Upstairs, Downstairs socks. I wondered what you were going to do with two such seemingly opposing colored yarns when I saw the first photo, but I was totally AMAZED by the pattern and how well the colors worked together. Well done, as always. You are so creative Franklin!

puffthemagicrabbit said...

When you decide to fool around with color, you don't mess around- that sock is jaw-dropping gorgeous!

ceestar42 said...

I was wondering about the wee model..I loved the fact that you used the pictures of her frowning. Too cute for words!

Anonymous said...

That's pretty much what a new baby looks like ... not grumpy, just trying to deal with all the light, it was dark where she came from. Completely adorable.

Lovely socks! Didn't like the two balls in juxtaposition, but totally bowled over by the sock! Let that be a lesson to me.

John said...

Your sock swatch is breathtaking. Can't wait to see that finished.

Syd said...

The colors in the sock (and amazing design) are stunning! That blue pops!

chellebelle said...

Oh! I want to make the socks.. I love the pattern, but I can find one of those myself.. I may need to dye that blue though! beautiful color combo! I read your article first from Knitty.. I love your way of presenting anything funny guy!

KallieKY said...

Love. Those. Socks.

The colors sing.

I'm on the other side of the lake and we don't even get the occasional blue sky because of the lake effect permacloud. Thanks for the colorfull post.

Anonymous said...

That brown & blue combo is stunning. Please publish the pattern, I can see that in vest too.

annon said...

Forget your knitting, ( of which I am quite fond...) I am more impressed with: "I appreciate suggestions, but I almost never take anybody's word for anything...."
- you are my doubleganger. you are my hero. You have just validated my behavior to my friends as 'semi'(?) within the acceptable range. In spite of being from NY, I tell them, "I'm from Missouri, show me".
Merci.

Marjorie said...

Dear Franklin -- You (gasp!) RIPPED OUT that swatch? That gor-gee-oose swatch wif all my favorite colors, oh dearie how COULD you? :) From the Sock-Shaped State, ==Marjorie

Elizabeth said...

Just, wow. Love the sock in progress. And I think you're on the right track to add a little bright to the vest. Just bought and read your book, btw! My non-knitting husband even read it and I could hear him giggling from the next room. Might you do a whole Dolores book sometime? I'd buy two! Or more!

ella at the river said...

love the upstairs downstairs inspired pattern and color combination you selected. Just love it.

Eileen said...

Love the baby, the socks and all.

*snork* She was hilarious. Definate resemblance to Winnie.

Please post the sock pattern. Those colors...I love putting those color families together. (Of course, if I knit it I'll have to be contrary and change the yarns and the colors.)

Anonymous said...

I love the vest swatch. I had no idea the colours you picked could look that bright. And now you will brighten it up some more. Good on you!

Love the baby. I think she is channelling various Victorian ladies, perhaps Victoria herself!

Leah (redlec)

Courtney the Knitting Goddess said...

OMG, Franklin -- the color combination on that sock, done in that pattern, is some of the best colourwork I've seen in a long time.

Sandra in Vancouver said...

I'm making your Victorian bonnet to lay aside for the next newborn I hear about. The model is just as memorable as E.Z.'s "dumb baby" memorialized in that other pattern.

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