Archive for the 'Fearful Symmetry' Category

Pygoric Progress

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Thursday night:

Vishuddha Chakra

Vishuddha Chakra

That’s up through Vishuddha Chakra, #5.

Last night:

Sahasrara Chakra

That’s all seven chakras now, including Ajna and Sahasrara.

Sahasrara Chakra

Ajna gets shortish shrift, both knitting-wise and photo-wise. I’ll try to get a better picture of it next time. In perfect hindsight, it probably could have used a little more vertical spacing, but I ain’t gonna mess with it now.

I’ve done 4 rows of garter stitch in addition to this, but other than that the main body of the piece is complete except for the deep beaded rib/frill edging.

The pinning-out is a little on the irregular side, you’ll notice - partly because it was hastily done, but also partly because I opened the armholes on Thursday night so we could have a fitting on Friday.

Armhole Open

The right armhole is already on the needles…

Armhole on Needles

… so I can get started on a sleeve as soon as I nail down a stitch pattern and an armscye shaping scheme.

Stitch candidates currently under consideration are my old swatching standby, English Mesh…

English Mesh
Imagine this upside down, as it would be in the sleeve.

… and Fleurette, which I also love…

Fleurette Swatch
This one is already inverted for your confusion viewing pleasure.

… but may decide not to use because it’s a little big at this gauge. Still playing. (Hard to compare accurately because this swatch is done in a different yarn - some 100% silk 2-ply that I made as a devil’s advocate sample.)

Before I get too deep into that, though, I gotta ply the rest of the yarn. Can’t knit sleeves without it.

Meanwhile, bead acquisition has been safely accomplished, and I’m weighing two candidates for color suitability. And last Friday’s fitting went on and off without a hitch, as did the surrounding event, a sort of unofficial pre-wedding hen party. I got a number of remarkably bad pictures of that. Then out came the Big Present from Lauren’s colleagues, and shortly after this shot…

Lauren Loves her All-Clad

…I had to switch over to video. When a girl starts giving sensual massages to a carton full of high-quality cookware, you want to have plenty of blackmail material.

Girl sure does love her some All-Clad. I wonder what it’d be worth to her to keep the evidence off YouTube….

 

Note to Tsock Flock Members

We’ve just learned that there was a printer error on some copies of the chart page for Starting Point A in the “Fearful Symmetry” pattern; some parts of the page, including the captions and keys and a portion of one chart, came out blank. For those of you not on Ravelry, I’m working now to update the announcement/errata pages on my site (eeek… sorry! I’m kinda behind on this), but meanwhile if you have the defective chart page you can download a correct PDF here. I’ll also be sending out an e-mail about this once I get the most recent update of the mailing list into my hot little hands; we apologize for the inconvenience.

Flying Tiger

Friday, February 27th, 2009

No more teasers. This is for real.

“Fearful Symmetry,” Tsock #1 for 2009, has shipped, and mail carrier stalking can officially commence.

I was exposed to, or rather immersed in, Blake at a very early age; I could spout this poem and a couple of the Songs of Innocence long before I had any idea what I was talking about. Almost as soon as I could talk at all, in fact. Apparently it stayed with me; this isn’t the first time that echoes of Fearful Symmetry have surfaced in my life, nor the first tigerish form they’ve taken.

It’s funny how an idea will take hold and keep changing shape over time. The tsock I ended up making is a longish way, via not exactly linear progression, from the tsock I first envisioned a couple of years ago, though it’s still true to those roots. It’s still based on my grey tiger cat Ptolemy; it still begins and ends with literal flames.

Fearful Symmetry

(Incidentally, it hasn’t escaped my attention that this is the second season in a row to start toe-up with a fiery stitch pattern in a fiery color. Is this going to be a tradition? Y’got me. Tune in a year from now to find out.)

As you saw the other day, the flames this time are our old friend the Flame Chevron, scaled down and tightened for snug sock fit.

Flame Chevron

They engulf most of the foot…

Fearful Symmetry

… and then when they reach the instep they end up being partially bound off in pattern, so you can work this Clever Transition in pseudo-entrelac…

Flame Transition

… until the Tiger, Tiger rises from the flames. (I’m apparently swimming somewhere between the literal and the surreal, here - channeling an inner Hieronymus Bosch I never knew I had, though I probably should have suspected it.)

What I love about this transition, and the reason I keep twisting my arm to pat myself on the back and call it Clever, is that the angled stitches create ease for the instep without a lot of extra increases or pseudo-gusseting. Well… that and the fact that I really like the way it looks.

You’ve already seen the Tiger’s face -

Fearful Symmetry

- which appears on the front of the sock. What’s on the back?

His tail.

Fearful Symmetry

Of course.

His pawprints…

Fearful Symmetry

… appear here, there, and everywhere - there’s some Knitter’s Choice in their placement relative to the path of the tail, which is also pretty much open to interpretation and characterization. Because you never know, with cats.

In another display of fearful symmetry, the flames reappear…

Fearful Symmetry

…at the upper edge of the ankle; this Tiger burns bright at both ends.

 
P.S. Hey, Marcy… NAO!

Imaginary Numbers

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

But first - before I delve into the mysteries of eleventy-tween and thirdo-grenfteenty - you might want to swing by Cassie’s blog and give her some last-minute birthday love. Go ahead - I’ll wait here. (Incidentally, that of course is who this was for, and she got it just in time for this nasty cold spell we’re having. Note to self: go hunt up FO pictures and post them soon.)

So anyway. I had hoped that tonight I would be doing the full reveal, and announcing the shipment, of “Fearful Symmetry.” But am I? For my sins - no. It won’t be long now, though. The pattern has been tested and the files are finished and uploaded - all except the re-compilation of the Techniques Book material, which I’ll finish tomorrow, effectively releasing me from the last of this spell of Pattern Purdah. And at Jen’s end? well, let me put it this way. Here’s what I have learned by experience about specifying hand-painted colorways: when we reach the stage where Jen calls me up and says, “OK, now listen up, you: the next Tsock you design had better be a polar bear in a blizzard,” you can be pretty sure that the worst is over and the home stretch in sight.

The chief hold-up at my end was, as so often happens, a numbers game. You know how they say you can’t see the forest for the trees? I seem to have had the opposite problem; the forest was beautifully and clearly visible, but individual trees kept sneaking out of position when I wasn’t looking. The sock worked. Everything about it worked. And it made sense on paper. But in one big crucial area the two didn’t actually… match. The knitting came out right. The directions reflected the chart; the chart, stitch for stitch, reflected everything I actually did. And yet the numbers refused to add up. I kept going back to Square One. I counted forward; I counted back. I counted up; I counted down. And every time I came to the same inevitable conclusion: there were stitches in the sock that were not present in the chart - and yet, and yet, and yet… nothing was actually missing from the chart!

Or… maybe it was the other way round. I swear, sometimes it seemed to be both at the same time.

I nailed it down at last, of course, and there was a fair amount of facepalm action after that, not to mention way too much continued puzzlement, because it turns out that there are some mental leaps I’m just not so good at making.

Here’s the culprit:

Multiple YO

That is the generic symbol I use for charting multiple YOs - sometimes I stretch it way out like that and sometimes not, depending on context, but it’s always basically the same code-sign, and how you read it is determined in the chart key.

Sometimes it’s perfectly innocuous. In fact, there is one such instance in this tsock:

Paw Line

That’s Row 1 of the Pawprint chart, and for clarity’s sake I’ve also put in Row 2, which doesn’t ordinarily appear on the chart. See what happens here? There’s a triple YO in the first row, and it’s counterbalanced by a k2tog on one side and a left-leaning double-decrease on the other, so three stitches are eliminated and three stitches are added, and the seven-stitch count comes out even. (Well… as even as an odd number can get.) Which you can tell clearly from the seven neutral stitches of R2. (Ooops - that middle stitch should actually be purled. I’m too tired to go back to the drawing now; pretend I didn’t forget. It’s correct in the pattern, I promise.)

But what happens when the stitch count doesn’t stay even?

That’s when you encounter the Catch-22 of charting.

The Holy Grail of the knitting chart is to achieve a graphical representation of the pattern that simultaneously conveys clear and accurate instructions AND actually looks like the finished design. The problem is that occasionally these goals are at cross-purposes. Take, for instance, the Tiger’s face.

Yeah, the Tiger does have a face, and said face is loosely based on an old traditional knitting pattern - Tiger Eye lace, as seen in one of my favorite go-to sources, BGW II. The original repeats vertically, stacking one tiger face on top of another. I only wanted one face, so I broke out an individual instance and made some alterations to its contours, giving it more height and a narrower nose and some shaping on the top of the head, but retaining its salient feature: an eye(let) composed of a quadruple YO.

Tiger Face

That quadruple YO blithely throws off the whole count. There are no counterbalancing decreases in the same row; instead the stitch count is gradually restored over the course of the next 8 rows, through the judicious use of double decreases. So on top of the quadruple eyelet are four new stitches that simply were not there before.

There is no one right way to chart that.

Here is my first chart of the original pattern stitch, as written (but with a couple of repeats added):

Tiger Eye Chart

The good news is that every stitch is present and accounted for. The bad news is that the addition of eight stitches in one spot throws the contours out of line. So this method of charting meets one of the goals: it communicates the instructions needed to work the pattern. But does it look like the knitted picture? Nuh-uh. FAIL. It looks way out of whack, and not just any old kind of out-of-whack either, but an out-of-whack-ness that negates the strongest visual feature of the pattern at that point, the double vertical lines at the edges. If you have great faith in the power of the symbol on the page, knitting from this chart will give you the correct sequence of stitches in the right places. But what you are knitting does not look much like what you are knitting from. That’s disconcerting for a lot of people, and it defeats part of the purpose of charting. It’s Not. Good. Enough.

Enter Approach #2:

Tiger Eye Chart

Believe it or not, this is almost the same chart. Not exactly, because at this point I was beginning to experiment with alterations - for instance, this version adds only two stitches per eye instead of four. But close enough.

So what’s going on here? Basically the same thing, except that I’ve used the X symbol for “no stitch” to pad out the places that were distorted in the previous chart, with the result that the contour of the chart is a lot more similar to the contour of the knitted pattern.

I hate it.

It’s a great example of X Abuse. “No stitch” can be a really handy little device, but there has got to be some sort of threshold for its use. I can’t tell you the exact formula for how many X’s are too many - but I can certainly tell you that in my opinion this chart violates it left, right and center. It sort of meets the second charting goal in that it does resemble the knitted shape, and it meets part of the first in that it does communicate the sequence of stitches. But is it clear? Sure, if by “clear” you mean “impenetrable as pea soup.”

Ugly. Bad. Confusing. Sloppy. And otherwise no good.

Here’s a fragment of another attempt, reflecting part of a different set of modifications to the pattern itself (the four YOs are restored but we’re down to a single instance instead of a stack):

Tiger Eye Chart

Urg. At least this does roughly follow the shape of the knitted pattern… but half of those stitches don’t exist! And those non-existent stitches shove the vertical lines way out of true with the jawline. A great big waste of space, if you ask me. (And you didn’t, but I’m telling you anyway.)

There is a solution, and it too is something I learned from Barbara Walker - she uses it in some of the embossed figures in her Charted Knitting Designs (I think this is now published as #3 in the Treasury series, or is it #4? I can never remember), and I’ve used it myself on a small scale in the grapes pattern for Vintage. It goes something like this:

Tiger Eye Chart

This works. It looks like the knitting (see the neat confluence of the vertical and diagonal lines?) AND it conveys the information, and it isn’t cluttered with nasty non-existent X stitches.

But… it still isn’t right. Because there should actually be TWO knit stitches on either side of the multiple YO. I’m sorry, I’ve just realized that in the course of many edits I destroyed part of the evidence of this stage of the proceedings, and I’m not sure I can reconstruct it exactly, so what you’re looking at now doesn’t perfectly reflect the dilemma as I experienced it. Suffice it to say that just when I thought I had finally arrived at the solution to the problem… that was when I began to doubt my ability to count higher than 10 even if I took off my socks. Because no matter what I did, at this point, I still had to distort the chart slightly for that one extra stitch, and then when I did so I just couldn’t make the number of stitches in the chart agree with the number of stitches in the sock.

It’s obvious, right? It’s screamingly, glaringly obvious? and the only dunce who couldn’t see it was the one staring right at it, counting and counting and re-counting, for all those hours? the one who kept being thrown off by the fact that for charting purposes a double decrease is the same width as a single decrease, even though it eats up more yarn real estate; the one who kept trying to figure out whether a quadruple increase is ONE stitch or FOUR stitches or neither or both; the one not listening when reason whispered, “Step AWAY from the chart and stop obsessing over it for a while.”

Or maybe it’s only obvious to me now that I’ve figured it out. I just don’t know any more.

Anyway, it’s here. This…

Tiger Eye Chart

… should actually be this:

Tiger Eye Chart

- and the reason it is right and necessary is that even after you shrink this…

Multiple YO

…down to this…

Multiple YO

you have to deal with the fact that even though you’re no longer showing all four stitches of the increase you have still ADDED ONE stitch to the overall displacement of the charted row. The “2″ in the increase row is the only way to show that without blowing the contour of the figure.

It’s a funny thing, but somehow it gets a whole lot easier to see which way you’re going when you finally stop chasing your own tail. (The Tiger has one of those, too.)

And when you realize that occasionally even Real numbers can be more imaginary than integer. I’m here to tell you, sometimes four really IS equal to triggo-threenty.

At least, for really really really high values of four.

The Shape of Things to Come

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

 

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

     FS Teaser

 

 
 
 
FS Teaser

 

Miniature Flame Chevron       
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

 

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

     FS Teaser

 

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

 

    
                                 FS Teaser

 

FS Teaser      When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

 

 
Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake

     Ptolemy


TsockFlock Club 2009.

You know you want to.

Memory Lane

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Most people do their year-in-review/year-to-come navel-gazing on or about January 1, don’t they. I suppose I do a little of that myself, what with that date being my official blogiversary and all. But for me the real change of seasons comes right now - as one TsockFlock Club year draws to a close and the next prepares to launch.

It’s been an amazing ride, this 2008 TsockFlock year. There was the late launch thanks to the Great (if by “great” you mean “scary-stupendous-boggling”) Yarn Drought of 2008; there was the big strategic game of catch-up - successful overall, to my relieved astonishment. Not that I didn’t think we could do it. But given all the circumstances, the massive changes we went through in the course of the year, I wasn’t 100% sure Jen and I would survive with our sanity intact. Heh. Yet here we are, all in one piece, with a year’s worth of Tsocky goodness under our belts, ready to up again and take another. (The sanity part? Let’s not go there.)

What a year. 2008 was the year in which Jen and family deflocked, sold the farm and moved to a new location and new business identity. 2008 was the year in which I became a spinner, or rather discovered that I was one. 2008 was the year in which we both hit critical mass on being a two-woman operation (and/or each hit critical mass on being a one-woman operation, as the case may be), the year in which our ranks were swelled by two, a host in themselves: Pixie for the Yarn Fairy, Tserf for the Tsarina. Oh happy day. How we ever functioned before that… I can dimly remember, but I’d rather not, thank you very much. 2008 was the year that saw us and our KALs nestled into our cozy niche on Ravelry, where we truly and riotously became a community and a family - again, I can dimly remember what life was like before that, but why would I want to?

Mostly, though, it’s been - if I do say so, and I do - one HELL of a fine year for Tsocks. Let’s review, shall we? Because… well, I’ve got my work cut out for me with the coming season, and right now I just kinda feel like basking a bit first, if I may. (And I may. I say so.)

Firebird Thumbnail      Our flagship Tsock for the tseason, still our emblem on Ravelry and elsewhere - Firebird. Or “The Boid,” as some of us came to know him affectionately.

Firebird Sock off Foot

Firebird Sock on Foot

Something of a baptism by fire(bird) for new club members, as he was worked on US #0 needles. The club rose nobly to the challenge, I might add, especially those bold souls who were new not only to the TsockFlock but to socks in general.

Something of a baptism by firebird for me, too, come to that - at any rate, during its development I found myself sporting a new and interesting kind of personal ornamentation.

Shaping the Bird Body

 

Frenchman's Creek Thumbnail      Frenchman’s Creek. How this one got as mysterious as it did, I’m not sure; somehow I got caught up in the fun of making people guess, and so our first big piece of Tstealth was born, culminating at last in a lightly-veiled reveal.

Both FC socks

I have to say I was proud to bring so many horses to the trough of Daphne duMaurier…

Bluebell Rib

… and delighted to see them drink willingly.

Mouette

Great literature it ain’t, perhaps, but Frenchman’s Creek holds a warm place in my heart and deserves better than obscurity.

Lace Cuff

Besides… it was a fun, over-the-top design to do -

Ruby Picot

- and that’s what really matters, right?

 

York & Lancaster Thumbnail      York & Lancaster - a salute to the Wars of the Roses. Would have been #4 but for yet another yarn-supply hiccup on the planned #3, so we rolled with the punches and swapped them, and I don’t think the season suffered for it.

York & Lancaster

From the Festive Intarsia roses…

Lancaster Rose

… to the crenellated cuff and textured background…

York & Lancaster

I loved every stitch of this baby, even if its reverse-flap heel did kick my butt at first.

Reverse Flap Heel

 

Frozen Margarita Thumbnail      Tsometimes you have to be a little Tsilly, and Frozen Margarita fit that bill. It was remarkable for being the result of a casual vote by the membership - originally I had other plans for the year’s thematically “lite” sock, but popular acclamation turned me in a whole ‘nother direction.

A long, tall cool one…

Margarita Sock

… with plenty of lime…

Lime Slice

… and lots of salt on the rim of the glass.

Salt-Crusted Cuff

Worm and cactus optional.

 

Golden West Thumbnail      You don’t often get a chance to be totally high-falutin’ and totally lowbrow at the same time, but Golden West gave me that opportunity.

On the one hand, you gotcher Italian opera. On the other, you gotcher cowboy boot.

Golden West Sock

Really, the perfect balance.

I made the boot as anatomically correct as I knew how, with a lizard-skin upper and pointy toe…

Pointy Toe

… a top-stitched textured top…

Top-Stitched Top

… functional bootstraps, drops of blood…

Bootstraps

… and of course a pair of aces.

 

Tsuspense Thumbnail      Meanwhile, back at the ranch… what IS that Tsuspense Project doing here throughout the year?

 

Chakras Thumbnail      Why, it’s evolving gradually into Tsock #6, AKA Seven Chakras, that’s what.

Seven Chakras Sock

I’ve been hatching this one ever since I started the whole Tsarina Tschtick, and glad I am to have brought it to fruition at last. From its root, Muladhara Chakra, beginning at the tip of the heel…

Muladhara Chakra

… to its crown, Sahasrara Chakra at the toe and cuff…

Sahasrara Chakra

it covered the physical and spiritual waterfront, while simultaneously driving knitters up a tsuspenseful wall.

Not many knitting projects can boast that, I fancy.

 
Stay tuned for a sneak preview of the 2009 TsockFlock season, coming tomorrow to a blog near you (ef the creek don’t rise between now and then).

TsockFlock members, this is your life!

Non-TsockFlock members… OK, I gotta ask, just WHAT are you waiting for? Come on. Join us.

TsockFlock Club 2009
Go ahead. Clicky. You KNOW you want to.

Chicken? Egg?

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Last week I was Goldilocks-in-Blogland. Got through Tuesday all right, but then Wednesday was kind of fraught with… fraughtness… and after that - let’s see. Thursday: too hot to blog. Friday: too cold to blog. Friday night: too wet to blog. Saturday and Sunday - uh-oh, scary. I know it was too something to blog, because, well, QED, I don’t seem to have posted anything, do I; but the fact is that - except for the perpetual swatching, of course - I’m not at all sure what went on during those two days. (It’s more than 15 minutes ago, after all.) At any rate, I can be pretty sure that the one thing it wasn’t was just right. What all that might imply about the just-rightness of right now, I don’t feel qualified to analyze. But here I am.

Anyway, I got a package in the mail today, containing the new and vastly improved blue bamboo for Turandot (the previous skein was lovely but it literally pales by comparison), along with another skein that I had forgotten about until I saw it. And when I did see it… things happened. Dominoes toppled, toppling other dominoes in turn. That kind of thing.

First things first, though. Here’s the blue.

Blue Bamboo in the skein

The difference in color is only the beginning of it.

Blue Bamboo comparison

As usual the pictures don’t begin to do it justice - wish I could just suck the yarn right into the computer and show you the texture and shine of it.

Blue Bamboo in the ball

I don’t know the technical details, but I think Jennifer used a different dye process this time - also this skein is from the new batch of yarn, and to my eye it has distinctly more sheen, may even be a tiny bit more tightly spun. Won’t be sure until I get farther along with knitting it and can compare it to the proto-prototype that I started the other day, but stitch for stitch it feels somehow lighter, crisper, finer. It’s a pleasure to knit.

Blue Bamboo in the ball

I’ve got about a zillion trillion swatches for this sock (not to mention that I’m an inch beyond the ankle on the trial-run sock, and don’t ask me what’s going to happen to that because I don’t know yet); not quite ready to show them yet, but should be soon. Actually, by the time I’m ready to show swatches I hope I’ll be ready to show most of the sock itself. Seems to me Aughtember is already a whole lot farther along than it has any business to be, and I need to get this baby off the needles yesterday. (Or last week, preferably.) Well, we have a toe. It’s a start.

Turandot Toe

(And no, that’s right, it isn’t a short-row toe. I’ve suddenly fallen head-over-heels in love with the Turkish cast-on. Doth not the appetite alter? Indeed. A discussion for another time….)

Now - have a look at this.

Sandstone

This is another skein of the bamboo, the early experimental stage of a variegated colorway we’re planning for the final club sock of the season. It is about a quadrillion times paler and more subtle than the real thing is going to be, but - I don’t know whether you can even see this in the pictures - the embryonic beginnings of all the right colors are there. The chief right colors being a pale tawny peach and a deep smoky grey, the shades of Ptolemy. All that is hinted at here, but you have to look pretty closely to see what’s going on.

Sandstone

Meanwhile, if you DON’T look too closely - you see something quite different. I sat here gazing at this pale gleaming skein, and it was perfectly obvious that there’s a whole ‘nother kind of sock in there. It’s actually The BoyTM who gave me the key to it this time. I showed him the yarn. “What does this say to you?” I asked him. “Sandstone,” he promptly replied. “Pyramids. Sphinxes.”

ZOT!

(lightning striking)

Sure as hell, that’s what it’s going to be, and like a reverse Athena it jumped almost fully-formed into my brain. I can just about picture the whole thing - an ambisextrous design (I need to do more of those), with simple textured geometric pyramids, and a little cartouche on the ankle, and some sphinx-y bits here and there. I can’t actually start on it until I get Turandot (and a couple of other mission-critical items) finished, but I couldn’t resist winding it off

Sandstone

and swatching up a quick toe.

Sandstone

Funny thing; the season started with Cleopatra and it’s going to end with Ptolemy - and now here is a whole different ptake on Ptolemy just handing itself to me on a bamboo platter. Egypt ‘R’ Us.

Sometimes the design comes from the yarn. Sometimes the yarn comes from the design. Sometimes they meet in the middle and sparks fly.

My first encounter with Jennifer was over a couple of skeins of black zephyr - I knew exactly what I wanted, and I don’t think I’d ever given a thought to the possibility of working with yarn hand-dyed to order. Not that it would have applied to The Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare in any case - no scope there for colorplay.

The Lord Chancellor's Nightmare

But then I got looking at Jennifer’s stuff, and I bought a couple of things that talked to me even though at first I wasn’t quite sure what they were saying (remember the wisteria?). And then one day she handed me a skein of water

Thalassa

and said, here, go design something. And I looked at it, and I fondled it, and sudddenly, overwhelmingly, I saw dolphins leaping.

Poseidon

Where’d they come from?

Right from the yarn.

Just like someday Egypt is going to come right from this sandstone yarn.

I don’t make this stuff up; I just channel it.

But the thing is, you never know where the idea is going to come from.

Cleopatra was triggered by a query on one of the knitting boards - somebody asked about Cleopatra socks, and that made fireworks go off in my head. I drew the sock first, and then Jennifer made the colors. (Of course the colors were way lovelier than I had drawn them, but that didn’t affect the actual design.) Oktoberfest - the inspiration was seasonal, of course - I asked for beer, and beer is what I got. Imbas came out of the clear blue, or rather the clear green - it could have been almost any color, anything that spoke of earth or forest or night. Turandot and The Nine Tailors were both triggered by casual remarks, and the designs are gradual evolutions - in each case I knew something about what I wanted to do, but seeing and swatching the yarns in the works kept sparking the progression to the next level. Kitri -! Kitri originally came about because Jennifer had an idea about something she wanted to do with texture and beading. The beading part involved Zephyr, so I looked at a Zephyr color card and was struck by the Cinnabar, and I started hearing Kitri’s fan variation in my head, and the flight of fancy took off from there. The texture thing didn’t end up happening, and the design took on a life of its own that called for a shade of its own, leaving the Cinnabar somewhere in its wake. But that’s how it started.

I have a sock planned for fall that was inspired - twice - by yarn. First by a color Jennifer just described to me over the phone - then again by a color she showed me in March and that I ended up claiming as my share of the Couch Full O’ Yarn. Same sock; two different versions in two different colors; all because I heard yarn talking, in fact at first because I heard it long distance. (Which may explain why the color I heard was actually quite different from the one Jennifer meant. Doesn’t matter now, because I’ve seen her make both, and I’ve knitted both.)

And of course… you saw what happened with the infamous coral.

Sometimes it spawns the yarn; sometimes it hatches from the yarn.

You just never know.