Flying Tiger

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!

20 Responses to “Flying Tiger”

  1. Cathy-Cate Says:

    The Tail is just perfect. Well, and the flames, top and bottom, too. Can’t wait to see Ptolemy in my mailbox.

    (And at Madrona, I was just contemplating a pawprint lace figure; I’m curious if my solution is the same as yours! It’s pretty darn close, I think, without seeing your chart and without knitting mine. But I hadn’t gotten to it yet, since the project it’s destined for is for a June birthday, and the yarn is in transit in any case.)

  2. Jesh Says:

    pseudo-entrelac! you crazy, crazy woman. that is delightful.

  3. Marina Stern Says:

    I can hardly wait.

  4. Marcy Says:

    NAO! YaaaY!

  5. PY Says:

    I think I’m going to look in the BW book I got from the library and see if I can find a little asterisk-type pattern to put right below the tail…

  6. Sarah Says:

    Spectacular!! I love the whole idea and execution.

  7. Karen Says:

    Wotta TALE!

    Very, very nice, TsTs — and well worth the burbling-about-the-subconscious period. Also admire the peachy-grey yarn and hope the YF has made extra.

    Cheers, Karen

  8. Marti J Says:

    One of my favorite poems interpreted in a sock (excuse me, a Tsock!). Great design and imagination mingle here. You rock!

  9. Programmer at Arms Says:

    The first thing I asked myself when I saw it was, “how in the heck did she do the transition between flame and cat?” Pseudo-entrelac, of course. Brilliant!

  10. Pat Says:

    Superb! Can’t wait!

  11. amy Says:


  12. kmkat Says:

    This might be my favorite of all your socks — I cannot resist a cat theme. Pseudo entrelac, flames, the tail… hard to say which element appeals most. )Thank you for not inserting the cat-butt motif somewhere ;-) )

  13. RedScot Says:

    Another beautiful sock! The tail at the back is the cherry on the… well, you know what I mean!

  14. kutous Says:

    This shall be my very first Tsock and I’m so anxious to see it “in person”! Thank you for the opportunity to knit such a piece of art!

  15. onafixedincome Says:

    *Sigh* Technical incompetence is soooo boring–can I just get the tabby yarn?? :) Maybe someday I’ll be skilled enough to KNIT one of these glorious socks…. *sigh, sigh, sigh*

    Ptolemy, you’re just as gorgeous in yarn as you are handsome in reality!

  16. Carolyn Says:

    The face, the tail, the paw-prints…brilliant!

  17. Marina Stern Says:

    The package came yesterday, and I’ve begun to read the directions. It looks like it’s going to be great fun.

    I might even learn something.

    The Mystic Poo of Smart turban came out dopey-looking, though, so I won’t be sending that.

  18. East Coast Swing, the Next Dance « Moominmama’s Memoirs Says:

    […] Flock Sock Club. I also got a preview of the first sock for this year’s club, the magnificent Fearful Symmetry, which is burning brightly on the far […]

  19. obsidiankitten Says:

    What fantabulous tsocks! lovelovelove them. beautiful work.

  20. Steph Says:

    I am a new knitter, and I am so awed and inspired and, well, YAY for your creativity and artistry and craftmanship!! I can’t wait until I can tackle something like this ;oD

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