Thursday, November 15, 2007

Socklets in Seattle

I've been quiet but busy this past week. The Gentleman's Fancy Socks have made some discernible progress. At least, the first of them has.

The Fancy sock this week accompanied me on a quick vacation to the beautiful Northwest. Yes, it was socklets in Seattle.... and Portland, too. As so many knitters know, of course, socks are great projects to travel with. They don't take up too much space, the needles don't encroach too much on neighboring airplane passengers, and there are billions and billions (it seems) of tiny little stitches to make. So there's no danger of running out of knitting to do! And the thought of having no knitting project at all to travel with? Well, that just doesn't bear thinking of. I missed my spinning wheel enough as it was.

When I boarded the plane for the West coast, first-Fancy looked about like this. But as the week wore on, it grew. It grew on airplanes, ferryboats, rental cars. It grew on a van tour. It grew in front of waterfalls. In several yarn shops, it nodded politely to distant relatives, blushing young sock-yarn schoolmisses not yet out of the skein.

Today, when we returned home at journey's end, first-Fancy looked about like this. Oddly skinny, but that's the stitch pattern talking. It's basically a cleverly staggered 2x2 rib pattern aaaaaall the way down. It's very, very stretchy. And a good thing, too, or it would take rather a strange foot to fit it. Were it unyielding, then, like Cinderella's prince, I would have to range the land looking for the owner of that singular foot. But, luckily, it stretches indeed, so I'm quite hopeful that it will actually fit its intended recipient.

I must say, this is the kind of project that makes me heave a deep sigh of relief for being a Continental-style knitter. At first I wasn't, and in those early days I remember clearly that I did not relish the ribbing. I remember how woefully having to take that extra step of bringing the yarn forward or backward every stitch or two dragged down my pace. But since long ago making the switch, I don't mind the ribbing at all. It feels as if, to go in the direction of knit or purl, I'm simply leaning into a turn like a motorcyclist. Vrroom, vroom.

It's a wonder, though, that first-Fancy grew any to speak of at all, with entrancing sights such as this to watch instead. Leading up to the trip, many of the people to whom I mentioned it didn't seem to see the allure of visiting Seattle in a cold and rainy month. But just look at it -- it's magical! And, honestly, it's not as if it would have been warm and tropical here at home if we had only stayed.

It really was lovely. And not just in its own right, but also as inspiration for future projects. Seattle got me picturing a palette of soft blues and grays, with a strong dark color now and again to give it a little body. The area around Portland had me envisioning lots of mossy and lichen-y greens, with here and there a little yellow or chartreuse just to startle it a bit.

Maybe first-Fancy needs a jolt of puckery lemon? Hmmm. OK, let's not get carried away.

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