Friday, 10 April 2009

The company of remarkable women

This week I've been thinking about what a lucky person I am. Not only do I have the opportunity to be creative with my hands using beautiful materials, it also brings me into contact with so many fascinating and talented women.

For example, this last weekend was the monthly spinning session at IKnit and whilst the only spinners were Hannah and I, over the afternoon we drew around us Heidi, an aeronautical engineer who needed help turning the heel on her sock, Louise, a well travelled and adventurous Californian who was living in Italy selling coffee and Elsebeth, a Swedish woman who ran a professional networking service who produced the neatest and most beautiful little traditional Swedish baby bonnets as well as several other delightful women until, with the help of a few bottles of cider from the bar we felt like we had known each other for years. We reflected on how important just being in the company of other women, doing something creative was as a counter balance to the lives that we led.
I even got a little spinning done. Here is some merino, silk and cashmere dyed by Limegreenjelly that I am in the process of navajo plying.
And here is some oatmeal Blue Faced Leicester and silk over dyed by the lovely and talented Marianne of Picperfic's Fluff-n-Stuff.

Of course, a shout out has also got to go out to the talented men in the community. Ian at IST Crafts for this beautiful banded ebony spindle which is a joy to use and to Gerard and Craig at Iknit for hosting our fabulous afternoon.

It was a busy weekend. On Sunday I met up with Joy from Knitting Goddess Yarns, another talented fibre artist for a coffee and a catch up before strolling down to Loop to meet someone who to a sock knitting enthusiast needs no introduction.
Cookie A was there to launch her new sock knitting book.
Which she kindly autographed for me.

I met all the socks from the book in person. Then I announced rather foolishly that the socks were so lovely that I was going to knit all of them.

I dashed home and started rummaging in my stash for the very best solid and semi solid yarns that I have squirrelled away for an opportunity such as this.
First up is some 100% Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn by Knitwitch.

To try Kai-Mei, which looks like one of the simpler socks in the collection, just to warm up...

Here is my progress so far. The rather tedious stretch of 3 x 3 rib was,I thought, perfect public transport knitting apart from the fact that ribbing has a tendency to pull in the circumference of the piece making it look more like a cosy for another piece of the anatomy...

I was glad to get onto the interesting part of the sock where the patterned band starts at the gusset pick up and swirls across the foot by changing where the gusset decreases are placed. Ingenious and very Cat Bordhi. The stitch pattern is one of those oddities that I always seek out at the back of stitch dictionaries which may have a few too many holes for some but that I thoroughly enjoy.

Next up is some Louet Gems which is one of those high twist 100% merinos that gives really good stitch definition.

I wasn't feeling ready for one of the really complicated twisted stitch patterns yet so I went for Rick
Rick has a relatively simple stitch pattern which is reversed on the foot and then mirrored in the second sock.

I think the choice of yarn is making the pattern stand out quite well.
Finally, I thought that I would be choosing from the high end of my stash to do justice to these patterns but I found this yarn that I bought on a trip to Munich a few years ago.
It's a standard Regia yarn but I love the subtlety of the variegation which reminds me of the colours inside a seashell. I thought it would be good for this pattern, Wanida.

But as you can see, I haven't done very much yet.

It does look a bit suspiciously like I am going to cast on all the socks in the book - all at the same time, doesn't it? Sometimes knitting really does bring out the child in me and I drop my current project and go dashing off after the next bright shiny thing. I know that working on these socks will really build my skills as most of them are more complex than any I normally tackle or take a design direction that I wouldn't have thought of. I also took a picture of these and may have a pattern for one of them as something more to aspire to.
But all is not lost. Hand spun lovers may be wondering how I could possibly throw my hand spun vest in progress aside to do this. Be assured I have been working on it and now only have the neck and arm bands to finish.
I'm off to the Isle of Wight now to meet up with my family and the Isle of Wight knitters so I'm packing the sock yarn. I also understand that I will be doing a knitting nancy tutorial and making easter chicks out of pompoms with small people.
Happy days!


RooKnits said...

Have a wonderful easter weekend Jane. I plunged straight in with Kristi and now I'm regretting it!

Rose Red said...

How lucky to see all the Cookie socks in person! And you've started 3 socks already! wow! I got the book yesterday, and I probably would start with the same 3 patterns.

I agree too about the company of clever and crafty women - it is so inspiring, and fun.

Jenny said...

No wonder you are all fired up to start all those projects. I'm inspired just reading your blog, the power of crafters. Have a lovely Easter on the IoW.

Suse-the-slow-knitta said...

sounds like a good time was had by all.
Cookie A's designs are fabulous- must save up for that book!

Mrs J said...

I have until April 30th 9according to Amazon) to expand my stash! You have provided an inspiring start!

Lin said...

Don't Cookies socks look fabulous!
You are going to have some very beautifully adorned feet!

knittingtastic said...

Have a very lovely Easter weekend Jane - I look forward to your tales from the Isle of Wight :)

Esther said...

what a great selection of yarns and a great choice of sock sto knit too!

littlelixie said...

Wow, amazing sock action. Am having trouble getting a copy of the book :(

picperfic said...

I am trying to resist buying yet another book but your pictures ain't doing me no good! Lovely spinning too, I thought you had a wheel?

TutleyMutley said...

I've got the book on order. I understand your distractibility completely - I am, after all, a shiny sister and distractable diva: ooooo shiny! But, how many socks at once?!

Anni said...

Gorgeous socks and yarn. got the book on order.