Rich and Strange

Either everything old is new again, or everything new is old again. This is a new tsock, but it isn’t by any means a new idea for me; if you’ve been around these parts long enough it will look strangely familiar to you from the saga of the Rube Goldbergian Contraption, the unwinding of the coral laceweight yarn, and the plans I made for it. Which plans have yet to see fruition in that form. (There was a further hint here.)

At any rate, as so often happens… a few months ago I was letting the old mind wander, and it harked back to this color and this idea and it wandered straight off into a couple of its favorite by-ways:

  1. Can knitting do that?
  2. Could it make a tsock?

…and when it came back from them it had one word between its teeth, one answer to both, and the answer was… YES.

And so I sent Jennifer a sample of the yarn. And she sent her mind off into one of its mysterious byways, and it came back with this:

Coral Yarn

… and from that moment there was no doubt in my mind as to how we were going to kick off the 2010 Tseason of Tsocks.

I’m not giving up on doing the shawl someday. But for now, for right now, it’s a Tsock - Tsock #1, 2010.

I give you “Full Fathom Five.”

Full Fathom Five

          Full fathom five thy father lies;
          Of his bones are coral made;
          Those are pearls that were his eyes;
          Nothing of him that doth fade,
          But doth suffer a sea-change
          Into something rich and strange.
          Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
          Hark! Now I hear them – Ding-dong, bell.

(Funny thing about this. Ariel’s song from “The Tempest” has been familiar to me for just about as long as I can remember; but it wasn’t until I was actually typing it up for the pattern, the other day, that I noticed that “of his bones are coral made” is… well… grammatically, syntactically… it’s just WRONG. Not unlike “And damn’d be him who first cries hold, enough!” Must be nice to be Shakespeare and to be able to get away with that sort of thing.

Incidentally, in case you were wondering - it appears that this verse is in fact the origin of the phrase “sea change.”

But I digress.)

The tsock, as it turns out, foreshadows the shawl pretty effectively - that is, I was able to squeeze in all the desired elements, or at any rate suggestions of same. But I trust it has taken them and made them its own - sock gauge being a whole different idiom, after all.

Full Fathom Five

Closer look? But of course.

Following the path of the knitting upward from a toe-tip cast-on, the foundation for the reef is a pile of shells.

Full Fathom Five Toe

Scallop shells, that is.

Full Fathom Five Toe

Above that rises the branching coral, constructed of lace, along very loosely fractal-ish lines. (Because of the way this wraps around the foot, it was all but impossible to photograph it and show the whole panel, so I have frankly mocked it up here - two halves, pasted together through the miracle of PhotoShop. Like an exploded globe, don’t you know.)

Full Fathom Five Coral Panel

This rises up to cover the instep, and the ease adjustments for the heel are built into the lace patterning.

Will anyone be surprised that the scallop shell reappears as an optional element on the back of the heel? I thought not.

Full Fathom Five Scallop Shell

Rooted on either side of the heel, two wisps of eel-grass:

Full Fathom Five Eel Grass

Then there is more eel grass drifting through the insertions of the three perpendicular edgings that constitute the ankle.

Full Fathom Five Ankle

Five fathoms really isn’t all that deep; a fathom is six feet, so Ferdinand’s father, supposedly, is only 30 feet under - 30 feet of clear water, in the calm after the storm, through which all these things are visible in layer upon layer. First more shells, of a nautilus-ish sort, stirred by ripples of current, and encrusted with some of those “pearls that were his eyes”…

Full Fathom Five Edgings

… then a school of tropical fish, each carrying another pearl of its own (this is scaled down from a lovely old traditional stitch pattern called “The Queen’s Edging,” which has always reminded me of leetle tropical fishies)…

Full Fathom Five Edgings

… and then a cross-current - more little waves, flowing in the other direction, and playfully tossing more little spiral shells about.

Full Fathom Five Edgings

So there she is; - “such stuff as dreams are made on.”

Full Fathom Five

The last files were uploaded yesterday; printing is complete. Tomorrow they pack her up to ship her out.

Happy new year, club members… and stand by to commence mailbox stalkage!

18 Responses to “Rich and Strange”

  1. Sandi Says:

    Wow!! Stunning Can’t wait!

  2. BarbOutsideBoston Says:

    I have always LOVED those coral/pearl swatches–that they have become my first Tsock Club tsock? sigh…..
    You are brilliant!

  3. Tinkingbell Says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous - and from one of my favourite plays (although for Caliban was always sold a pup I thought!)

    I can’t wait for it to reach Tasmania!

  4. Rachel Says:

    the color — OMG the color! truly luscious and I canNOT wait. Mailbox stalkage has begun

  5. MountainAsh Says:


  6. itgirl Says:


  7. Gretch Says:

    I became enamored of that little whisp of Shakespeare in high school - and it turned into full, adult love when in college there was an SSAA version we sang, or maybe it just started out SSAA, anyway - the point is that it is a piece of my heart, gruesome or not, and now I shall have tsocks full fathom five. so satisfying in one life. Grazie.

  8. Gretch Says:

    p.s. before we get to hasty on bashing Bill’s grammar, maybe coral is one of those singular group nouns that British English uses plural verbs with, (Parliament are discussing) vs. the US English way of singularizing it (The Senate is discussing). Just trying to take another tack…whatever - still going over those coral tsocks…

  9. chalyn Says:

    you are my hero.

    as always, i’m in awe. it is beautiful. and inspired by one of my very favorite plays. i can’t wait.

  10. Brewergnome Says:

    A lovely sea fan you have there!

  11. Tan Says:

    “Of his bones are coral made” is probably correct in the British sense where the Royal Navy are plural. Coral are a community.

    Glad I re-upped at the last minute–would have been very sad to miss this Tsock and have to wait a year. Even if I am behind on the knitting.

  12. Kate Says:

    I wantz now!

  13. Melissa Says:

    Oooh, purty! I’m with the “coral are plural” crowd, but I realized something while rereading the poem here. I had always misinterpreted it to mean “HIS bones are made of coral,” not “his bones BECAME a coral reef.” Weird.

    If you haven’t read Patricia McKillip’s novel “Something Rich and Strange,” I recommend it.

    The timing of this tsock kit gives me a Conundrum. I am soon (tonight!) to finish my Turandot pair, courtesy of the COPIOUS amount of Bamboo-Ewe Jennifer sent in response to my “Help, I ran out!” e-mail. Thus, I could start another tsock kit (in the Conservation of Projects “one off, one on” vein). However, I still have York & Lancaster and Imbas on the needles, each pair 25-35 percent done, I have a zillion other projects in progress, AND I need to start packing my apartment up to move to the BRAND NEW TOWNHOUSE I just bought! Oh, the anguish. So many tsocks, so much else to do. Le sigh.

  14. MountainAsh Says:

    What Tan said…

    Technically the coral is a colony of individual coral polyps (or corallites if they are dead). So coral is pleural if you are talking about one coral colony but you can also have 3 coral colonies and say I have 3 branching corals…

  15. Gretch Says:


  16. Laverne (warmi) Says:

    Hey, gorgeous stuff as usual.
    There is this thing going around called Kreativ Blogger award and I have nominated you. I don’t know who got this going-one of these “spread the love” kind of things. Anyway, this is how it works- you pick up your award and read the rules on my blog and then you pass it all on.


  17. Jenni Reiz (say it: Reece) Says:

    Glorious!!!! (saw your post on Fun Work Stories - CPaAg-Ravelry - I’m only on page 36X, still catching up!)

  18. Barbara Wood Says:

    Darrowby sweater will remind you that ripping is part of knitting; it will reteach patience, and why you love to knit. The pattern is all that you said. I would have liked, howecer, to have done the body half herringbone hem flat as it slanted way off center and made the collar band pick up difficult and not a smooth as I would have liked. Did not know how to compensate for this discrepancy, but fudged it anyway.

    Over all enjoyed putting the “puzzle” together as I like knitting in the round. I do all my knitting top down in the round because I hate seams in knitwear. And it gives me a chance to design as I go along. I was happy to stumble across your pattern as I had lost my original Elizabeth Zimmermann newsletter pattern. I plan to use your variation as my basic sweater pattern and am planning a linen version for summer — air condition protection. Meanwhile, back to berets, moebius scarves, and socks.

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