The seasons of the year could easily be plotted by the condition of the tree. January and February bare except for the shiny brown sticky buds. March and April watching the delicate green leaves bursting from the buds followed in May by its beautiful towering candelabras of blossom.
Through June and July the flowers turn into prickly green fruit swelling though September and October to reveal glossy brown conkers to collect and share with friends. November and December see the leaves disappearing from the tree and the cycle beginning all over again. This tree has completed this cycle every year of my life growing broader and taller, losing branches here and there but continuing to cast its protective shade over my childhood home.
I've long wanted to design something that was inspired by this important tree. When Natalie from the Yarn Yard said that she wanted to name a yarn for me I knew straight away that I wanted a bright, juicy green that reminds me of the leaves of the horse chestnut tree newly burst from their buds. I think she did rather a good job. The yarn is Toddy which is a blend of merino for softness and nylon for strength.
Every year I have created a sock design for Natalie to launch at the annual Woolfest in Cumbria which starts this Friday. This year is no exception although I know I have cut it fine as I only cast off the second of these socks on the bus an hour ago . These represent my humble attempt to pay tribute to my favourite tree in sock form. The Horse Chestnut Socks.
In a new departure they are knit from the toe up. The central panel represents the columns of blossom as they turn and produce their spiky fruit.
This is flanked by the diagonals of the deeply ribbed leaves which wrap themselves further around the leg as they travel up past the ankle.
I resisted the temptation to dangle a couple of conkers from the top as although I want them to pay tribute to my beautiful green companion I want them to be handsome socks in their own right, suggestive rather than derivative. I hope you like them.
Natalie will be displaying the socks on her stand at Woolfest and will be taking down the email addresses of people who would like to receive a copy of the pattern which will be available soon after we get back home again. It will also be available to people who aren't able to make it to Woolfest.Watch our blogs for details.
I will be travelling to Cumbria tomorrow and will be at Woolfest on both days. You will probably find me somewhere between the Yarn Yard, Kindred Knitters and P/Hop stands. Do come and say hello and watch the P/hop menu board where alongside the ever growing selection of patterns available for a donation to Medicins Sans Frontier we may just be launching a new venture.....Skill Snacks!
Now what knitting shall I pack....