Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eater of Stitchwork

It looks so harmless just sitting there, doesn't it?

Needing a knitting project to while away the idle hours on my Parisian flight, I turned to some expendable yarn. I once saw, in the KnitPicks catalog, a sock yarn called Dancing, each bright, summery colorway cutely named for a different type of dance. It was a cotton-wool blend, with a bit of elastic added. It was clearance-priced. There must have been a photo of a finished sock that showed it off nicely, as well. Some deep bargain-hunting instinct must have kicked in at that point. I think I ordered it in five different colorways.

Since then, I've been knitting all those socks in their relentlessly cheerful colorways for what seems like forever. I was finally down to the last colorway. Well, I needed something to keep me occupied on the trip, and I didn't want to take one of my serious projects. They're not that portable, and there's always the remote chance that I'll lose something important and not be able to replace it.

So the last of the Dancing it was to be. I packed it up. I'd flipped through some sock books, but nothing had jumped out at me. The short, sharp color changes of the yarn pose a challenge. Adding to the fun, the yarn is marled, with a contrasting white ply wrapped around the bright colors.With so much going on, the yarn would be well suited for a plain and simple sock, but I wanted something more entertaining to knit. I'd brought along some hasty notes of stitch patterns that I thought I'd like to play with and that I hoped wouldn't be completely obscured by such an assertive colorway. Sitting in the airport, I worked out a design and got going.

As it turned out, I stayed so busy that I didn't get all that much done on the trip, maybe half of the first sock. So I still had a lot yet to do when I got home. But I was determined to get them done. Not only would I be able to finally say "bon voyage" to the KnitPicks Dancing yarn, but the socks would forever be a reminder of my trip. I'd never forget where I did some of the knitting.

I showed sock number two in progress to a friend. She was at a loss for words at the pink and purple and green and yellow and orangeness of it all. Well, I can't say I blame her, really. But I wasn't making it as elegant haberdashery; it's destined to wear with blue jeans on sunny days.

I actually rather liked the sock design I'd come up with. It has lace and cables and meandering ribs and some straight lines in the back to tamp down all the commotion. Really, it's a bit of a wild melange like the colorway itself.

But how did all that fancy stitching work out? Mostly swallowed up, as one might have expected. When the light is right, the cables down the sides stand out pretty well, but the lace pattern on the front mostly just looks like chaos.

I had a more high-falutin' name in mind for the pattern, but I think that will have to wait. Maybe one of these days I'll knit it again with a yarn that's a better partner for it. Then it will seem right to give it a fancier name. Until then, I'll just call this version by pretty much what it looks like: Fruit Salad.

That's OK. By now I'm actually rather fond of these silly, frivolous socks.

Fruit Salad it is. It'll do.


Robin said...

Fruit Salad, indeed! What pretty Spring colors!!

Anonymous said...

They're so happy- Fruit Salad is perfect.