Workshop Ecodyeing techniques at Wolop!

Yesterday I had a wonderful workshop at Wolop: three techniques of ecodyeing. I went home with a skein in a jaar, with numerous printed fabrics and with a printed shawl still in a bundle.

Outside the studio the plants are growing, this is “Stinking Goldy” (Stinkende Gouwe in Dutch and Greater Celandine or tetterwort, nipplewort or swallowwort in English), a plant which doesn’t stink in particular but has bright yellow sap that will stain your clothes (but not your wool). Gouda, the name of the city, has two canals called Gouwe 🙂
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
It gives beautiful prints when hammered:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
These are some hammered prints I made, from violets:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
I tried hammering plants before but I didn’t know what I was doing. Now I do. I’d love to do this more. Embellish shirts and skirts or use fabric for WIPbags. Anja Schik had some beautiful examples in her studio when she presented her book about Eco Dyes. Her example showed how the colours faded in time:

Lieneke was very liberating in her remark that you can always hammer a new flower on. And pre-mordanting makes a difference. As does fixating the print. All things she taught us.

The second technique we learned was about printing. These are some printing examples from Wolop:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeingworkshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

After explanation and examples we got to work ourselves. Lieneke had a multitude of various plants to chose from. The one in front is mine:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

Our “bundles” in the make:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
Eco-printing is all about bundles.

Lieneke showed us how various you can make use of bundles. How about taking little pieces of cloth with you on a hiking trip and taking some leafs and earth from a friendly space and making a bundle right then and there? Or what about making some on holiday?
India Flint, queen of eco-printing, even brings a small cooker with her on holiday, to steam the bundles in her holiday homes. But Lieneke says: why not bring your bundle home in a ziplock and cure it there?
So many possibilities! A lovely experience to have the world open up like this.
This is the bundle that I took home:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
and I’m supposed to leave it alone for a few days. Weeks if I can muster. I’m not that patient! This looks so promising.

Thirdly here is some solar dyeing in progress. The ball on top is dyed with red onion skins:
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
All natural plant materials: onion skin, madder, dandelion flowers, more onion skins and woad.
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
The dandelion is my favourite. It’s an experiment but it seems to be going well. And the yarn has sparkles!
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing
We made a vessel of our own. Lieneke taught us how you can determine whether a plant shows promise for dyeing. It was a really good workshop!

Just when we thought we were done we got a fourth, extra technique. It was a special bundle that we have to bury in the garden and leave there for months. Months!

It was a really good workshop. I recommend it. There will be a second one in June, in Gouda, in the second studio Lieneke uses. June 17th, 45 euros all in.

workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

You may skip this last bit, it’s about my health:
I was meant to do this workshop last year but something went wrong on the trainride to Gouda. The train broke down and we stranded in the middle of the country on a very hot day (May 28 2016). I dehydrated while trying to make it to Gouda in time, by bus. Dehydration is a danger when dealing with adrenal problems. A danger I’m prone to, I learned that day. Luckily my parents live near one of the busstops and I avoided an adrenal crisis by ringing their doorbell, heaving and shaking and crying uncontrollable, unable to speak.

Luckily my mother is not easily spooked, she put me on a day bed and brought me salted tea. Later on my husband came by car to get me and take me home. No workshop for me and it has stung for many months. Stupid health. Stupid trains!!

But now I’ve done the workshop and it was wonderful! I learned so many things! And grew so confident by seeing the examples and seeing how Lieneke does things and approaches eco dyeing.

I did get reminders that my health is not optimum. I had trouble concentrating and needed to eat Wolop’s chocolate chip cookies all the time. It is weird, not being in full control of your mind. It got a bit better when I took more and more of Hydrocortisone (which scares me because it depletes the bones of Calcium).

Still. It’s not easy not being well. It is weird, first and foremost. I suspect it gets weirder with age.

It forces me to often take stock of all the things I want to do and then choose the most important to do firstly. Because there’s not enough vitality and time to do all the things. (The stock taking itself takes energy too so got to keep that in mind too. And then there’s the need to stop doing the fun thing halfway through because there’s vitality and time needed to clean up too.)

Man. Living ain’t easy. And it’s weird. But the workshop was lovely!
workshop Ecoprinting Wolop Gouda wol ecodyeing

Weird Wool Wednesday: weird socks and things

One Mad sock finished:

With this I am eligible to become “a cheerleader” and receive all the patterns from the competition. If I manage to finish both socks I’ll become an official contender. That’s my goal.

It’s a weird sock… it twists around the foot. Not a comfortable fabric to walk on.

But it’s fun to knit. Online we share progress and woes of wrong stitches and wrong increases and it’s marvelous to see how the different yarns knit up! I could make you a collage but I’m not sure I should share other people’s photo’s. Here’s the link to the ravelry page with all the socks, you may want to have a look for yourself.

Finishing one sock and being part of the Dutch chatter really eggs me on to start the second sock. I want to partake in the competition!

The chatter in the Dutch sock group is such fun. One of the moderators is also an official Sock Madness moderator and gets tons of questions in both the official Sock Madness group and the Dutch group. They have shifts there, to answer questions. One in the States, one in Europe, one in Australasia. No matter when a sock-knitter gets the heebiejeebies, there’s always a moderator to look at her sock and answer.

The Dutch moderator’s shift finished yesterday evening and she said she would finally do some knitting. But she couldn’t show us because it was secret knitting! (they have to test out the Madness patterns in order to give good answers).

That inspired me to draw this for her:

Here ravatar is often the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and her name is Haastje-Repje which is Dutch for “hurry hurry!”.

The rabbit is a pun because “haast-je” means “hurry-you” but “haasje” means “little hare”. Us Dutchies put “-je” behind any word to make it small or adorable. We can even make millions small and adorable: “miljoentje”.

When her shift ended and she said she finally got to knit some for herself, I just saw Haastjerepje at home, knitting on secret projects and  still us knitters keeping on asking questions and approval.

She laughed 🙂 and then she used it as her ravatar! Yay!

More mad sock knitting:

This is a “Magic ball”. It’s the skein of plant dyed sock yarn, from Wolop. Indigo! I already started knitting socks with it but then I won a swap and she reskeined the ball and hid all kinds of presents in it. As I knit the presents will become available. Talk about motivation to knit!

No SSS here. Second Sock Syndrome.

No SCS either, second cardi syndrome. I just cast on for another one. I’ve got about 6 on the needles now (7? 8?) of which 4 are active.

And now for something completely different: a Zorro update! Pip the kitten has settled down and is now an absolute happy cat:

Zorro cat update
He lives in Amsterdam and he’s a big brother now. He has become even more relaxed. And he doesn’t scramble for his food anymore. I didn’t know that was possible!
So happy 🙂

The last bit of news is that my house is at the dentist:
Orly Endevoets voegherstel Den Bosch
Men are drilling away all day, replacing the bits of mortar between the bricks. I’ve fled to the cabin for a few day because I couldn’t stand the noise anymore. Lillepoes is with me. We’ve been here two nights and right now we’re packing up to move back. I’ve been told today is the last day of noise.
Lillepoes has been very happy, to have me here to herself 🙂
We’ve done a lot of cat-on-lap and knitting-on-cat.

First of December: celebrating Wolop and its Advent Calendar

December the first!
Day one of the Wolop Advent Calendar. AND I went and visited Wolop because today it is one year that the company is in business.

I wore my city outfit. With this fantastic vintage bag.
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It had knitting in it. And felted clogs. People on the train must have chuckled.
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I got several compliments while walking through the old city of Gouda though 🙂

But first: the Wolop Advent Box! This is how it looked this morning:

I’ve added some basic colours in the same yarn baseL white, blue, dark brown, grey and the left over of my light purple sock blanket. This way I can combine whatever colour I get into a piece of stranded knitting with enough contrast.

First colour of my Advent Calendar: PINK!
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Happy Birthday Wolop!
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Afterwards I had a little wander around. The whole city of Gouda was decorated for Saint Nicholas. It was a delight to look at the lights and the old buildings. I also did a little shopping:
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Preparing for Advent

This year I’m going to enjoy the month of December in the city. By now my health is well enough that I can make an effort and keep my home tidy and pleasant on a daily (ok, ok, weekly) basis.
advent
This December I’m really going to keep it up and enjoy my home life.

I want to mark every day. With yarn. Enter the Wolop Advent Calendar!
It is a mystery box with 24 miniskeins of soft, fingering yarn in unknown colours.
Wolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwolWolop Adventsbox Adventskalender 2016 breiwol
The colours are a surprise! Every day is a secret. I don’t do well with surprises at all but I’ve decided to enjoy this. I want to knit with a new skein every day although I won’t know what colour I’ll get.

So I’ve been looking for ideas to use yarn every day, regardless of the colours you get:
tinekepin1
These are just a few ideas from the many on this pinterest board, all gathered by Tineke from Atelier The Green Sheep.
I made a bundle on Ravelry with pattern ideas.

This week Wolop started her own group on Ravelry and it too has a bundle with patterns for the adventsbox.

I’m looking for a daily thing to knit, crochet, weave.
Specifically things to weave intrigue me. I love this shawl by Dreamersplace!

Absolutely love it. There are accent wefts, in the colour of the warp. And she divides mini skeins so she can use that colour again a second time.

This cloth was woven last year, using the Opal Advents box (which had 20 gram skeins):

How about making a little square each day on potholder looms?

Here too, I’d reserve parts of the daily skein and use it on a later day, to bring coherence in the end product.
A project like this would really show off the colours Wolop chose… which I don’t know… which is driving me bonkers… because I really like to be in control when it comes to colours! 😀

Making a little finished item each day is also very nice. I looked for items that only take 10 grams (40 m) of fingering yarn:

These patterns can be found in the Wolop Adventsbundle, I put them there.
But I don’t think I need 24 little cats or elephants. I’m too hung up on usefulness. It’s ingrained into me. I’m culturally and historically burdened! Calvinism! “Thou shalt be useful.” Calvinism everywhere! Without a playful tiger paws from Hobbe….

…oooh….

I only now see what Bill Watterson did. That clever man!

“Calvin and Hobbes follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger. The pair is named after John Calvin, a 16th-century French Reformation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English political philosopher.” wikipedia

Love it. I already admire him for his art work (that brush virtuosity!) and compositions. Now this. Clever man.

Ah. Well. Not trying to fight my ingrained tendencies I’ve also been looking at combining unknown colours and usefulness.

Which logically leads to stranded knitting:


That last one is Lorix5’s Favourite Things shawl.

The pattern is ‘My Favourite Things’ Infinity Scarf by Jill McGee and it is free. It basically says: “cast on 72 stitches, choose a motif each day that makes you happy, continue knitting until reaching desired length, kitchener together.”

Yes please!

This enhances what I want for December: live and mark each day individually. Each day I’ll open one of the mystery packs from the Wolop Advent Calendar, see what colour it is, get inspired towards a certain subject or motive and knit that. Perhaps even make a little drawing to accompany the occasion. Salute mr. Waterson 😉

I won’t fret about colours not being to my taste. This shawl will not be about my colour palette, it will be about the experience of December 2016. Marking each day and, hopefully, being a testament to a month in which I again leap forward in health and mental robustness. Or have a fun month regardless.

I can save a bit of the colour du jour to use it later, as an accent or to bring more coherence into the shawl. I’ll also can knit a bit of “bland” stockinette stitch and go back to it later and duplicate stitch onto it with a colour that is released later in the calendar.

I’ll cast on 211 stitches (or something). The 72 mentioned above is for bulky yarn.

And I’ll have a few basic colours standby from the start so I can knit stranded from day one. I have a bit of white, grey and blue so I’ll have enough options to knit in desired contrasts.

Yes, really looking forward to December and I’m already preparing the house.
The first few days are about this guy:
advent
Sinterklaas, which we celebrate on the 5th.

Around the 16th of December I’ll assist at Winterwol fair again, with Wolop, in the very north of the country.

21st is the shortest day which marks the start of the lengthening of the day.

24th is Christmas, which for me is the start of the “12 days of x-mas” which is the “time outside time”. From 24 until 6th of January (or perhaps 12th) I’ll be spinning. Together with Frau Holle, or Hulda, the pre-celtic goddess of nature, farming, spinning and cats. I mentioned this winter = spinning = weird time a few years ago. I’m glad to give it some attention in my life again.

But that’s all for later. Today I’m putting together the DIY Advent star:
advent

It’s an antique design, by religious group the Hernhutters. Just carton and split pins (cotter pins). The Hernhutters are do-gooders from 18th century Germany, they are also known as Moravians. I have no affiliation with them but grew up near their settlement in the Netherlands and their goodwill towards people permeated the whole town.advent adventsster hernhutters

Finished: Sock Blank Socks

I don’t know why one foot is longer than the other. I tried them on both for fit, during knitting, and they both fit.


They used 85 grams of yarn, on needle 2,25 mm.
With the remainder I’m knitting cuffs. They look terrible before soaking and blocking.

This will all even out.

UPDATE

Oh, I know why the feet are different. One sock was knit toe up, the other cuff down. I’m not good at toe up, always guessing where the heel should go.

Cuff down I understand better:

progress on the sock blank sock

I’m working on the cuff of the first sock. This one is toe up. The second one will be cuff down.

I decided to spruce things up a bit and added cables on the cuff:

They are a bit of free style in the rhythm they have turning. The amount of cables in one row I determined thusly:

total stitch count at ankle = 58 stitches. (a sock blank makes me knit very loosely. This is knitted on needles 2mm! And I do have scrawny ankles, that’t true.)
I want cables 3 over 3 with 2 p stitches in between. And I want the cables to be in pairs. That means each one pattern repeat is (6+1)*2 = 14 stitches wide.

4*14 = 56 stitches. A nice approximation of my total stitch count of 58.
I’ll go for 4 pairs. 8 cables in total.

Now. Cables draw in knitted fabric. For ever cable you need to add one stitch to the total stitch count. So a cable 1 over 1 is 2 stitches needs 1 stitch added to a stockinette stitch fabric to keep the same width.
I learned this from Moonwise, the sock designer, in 2012. (Dutch post on Ravelry.)

For every 3 over 3 cable I need to add 3 stitches.
I’ve got 4 pairs, 8 cables in total. I need to add 8*3 stitches. 24 stitches.
24 stitches plus 56 is 80 stitches. 80 stitches needs to be the total stitch count.
I already have 58 so I need to increase 22 stitches.

So I did in the round before starting the cable stitches. Total stitch count now 80.
I set up the rhytmn of the cables: [k6, p1]
It didn’t end neatly at the end of the round, also it seemed I only made 79 stitches. So in the first couple of rows I started to decrease a stitch. I was only 2 stitches off anyway.

I then saw I preferred 2 p stitches in between my cable sections. So I added those, right before the first cables were turned. 9 stitches added (the last one I took from the end of row ones I tried to decrease).

Then I turned the cables. And found out I didn’t have 4 pairs but that I had 6 pairs of cables and one half pair. Also, even though I increased one p stitch in between every cable I still only had 78 stitches.

This is the marvel of knitting. Stitches appear, stitches disappear.
Also I don’t know what I’m doing. Clearly I approached the math all wrong. Don’t ever ask me to build a house for you. It will end up “a surprise riddled with design features”:

Frank Gehry, Antti Lovag, Michael Jantzen and an unknown pirate-treehouse aficionado don’t know how to set up for a cable section either. Truth be told, I’d love to build you a house like this.

It is one of my secret hobbies to design-doodle houses. Ever since I studied Architecture in Delft, the city where Vermeer is from. I design them in my head or on scraps of paper. My inspirations are Frank Loyd Wright; Dutch city houses during the Golden Age; houses in the book Casa Mexicana; antique Japanese farm houses; Aldo van Eyck and Petterson’s house as illustrated by Nordqvist.

It’s all about light, about connecting to a room beyond where you are, connecting outside inside. About vertical rhythm and about moving through rooms as you use the house. And about natural materials that are true to their nature. Not wood made to look like stone. No plastic made to look like wood.

Ahum. Where was I? Yes. Cables. Wonky progress.

I’m not worried. I have 3×3 cables with 2 p stitches in between which is a good ratio. I’m turning half of the cables whenever I feel like it and it looks nice and the sock fits and I’m happily knitting away. Progress is good.

To make sure I don’t use up more than half my sock blank for the first sock I’ve got a little friend marking the half way point:

It’s attached with a “crab hook” and that’s why this kind of stitch marker is sometimes called a “progress keeper”. Very well named, little squirrel.

UPDATE: counted my stitches for the eleventh time. I have 88 stitches. Math is magic.

Spun a Sockyarn in One Weekend!

Finish Photo! Ran out of yarn right on the 7 o’clock finish line:

Here are my finished skeins: the sockyarn, my meager turtle silk and some random stuff I found lingering on my bobbin.

This was this morning, around half past five:

Yawn…. Let’s do this!

At half past six I was well on my way. I had tea, I was spinning in my pjama’s and was watching Along The Lanes knitter’s podcast. My life choices were still audibly questioned:

On 5 minutes to 7 my first strand ran out. The rest will be 2ply.

I marked the transition with a bit of pink thread. When knitting I’ll change needle size here. Or start a lace pattern or something. Now I had 5 minutes left until the deadline and I started peddling like mad. 2ply does take more twist than a 3 ply.

Earlier on I had marked another transition, it was when I ran out of Wensleydale and used a second strand of Hollands Sheep instead in the 3 ply:

There was Holland Sheep on the Wensleydale bobbin because on Sunday I had tried to transfer the Hollands Sheep entirely to another bobbin because I needed its original bobbin for the plying. I only have three bobbins that fit this wheel, you see.

So the vintage Louet S70 was brought downstairs and I started transferring the Hollands Sheep to it. But I hadn’t put in enough twist I guess because it kept breaking. It made for a very frustrating hour on Sunday Afternoon! Until I decided to transfer the Wensleydale instead. I just continued on the same bobbin and left the Holland Sheep as is:

The lack of twist in the Holland Sheep came back to bite me again in the end because after 7 o’clock I thought I’d chain-ply the rest of the single and use up all the singles I’d made. It wouldn’t play. Breakage. Frustration:

So at 7:02 I called it quits.

End result:

Here’s a picture of Sunday when I plied what little silk I had spun:

I put it right on top of one of my sock yarn singles since they are spun in the other direction than the silk singles. Before plying I took off the silk and counted its metres.

And I also plied some green single that was lingering on my bobbin into chainply.

Overall I made 275 m of sockyarn and have spun 1128 competition metres in total. A little more actually because I have not counted the few metres left of Hollands Sheep. But who cares. Pimmie, the organizing spinner, has spun over 6000 metres and made over 2000 metres of yarn this weekend! And she has 3 children! Including twins!

She used the long draw technique which yields a lot of metres fast. It’s the ultimate woolen spinning technique and my favourite, together with the ultimate worsted which requires smooth, well prepared fibres suchs as Mulberry silk. Long Draw also requires well prepared fibres: hand carded rolags. Pimmie spend a lot of time making those, prior to the competition:

Ohoooo, when I see this I want to card rolags by the box full too!

Longdraw is such a fun way of spinning. It gives bouncy, light, warm yarn. My Sprig pullover is spun longdraw (even though I used batts instead of rolags, shh, don’t tell). It was Longdraw on a vintage Louet wheel even!

I’m sure I’ll spin Longdraw again soon. In the mean time I’m looking forward to knit some socks with this:

A weekend of spinning

Fellow Dutch spinner Pimmie won Spinzilla last year:

Yeah, she has a Ashford Country Spinner too. Her happy picture makes me want to bring mine downstairs and throw wool at it. 🙂

This year Pimmie got it in her head to set up a national on-line event to share the joy of spinning (link to Dutch Ravelry Group for the event). We do so at Tour de Fleece and at the national spinners’ day in oktober and she felt there’s room for more! Each weekend some Dutch spinners are trying to spin as much as possible. This weekend it’s my turn!

A little hick up occurred at the starting time last Friday at 7 o’clock at night:

It’s important to relax. Let’s call this mental preparation.

Later on I’m at the wheel, all relaxed and glowy from the bath:

I’m spinning a sockyarnmix from Wolop, bought at Midwinterwol. It’s a mix of three breeds and you spin each as a single. Then you ply them into a three-ply.

The breeds in this beauty are Wensleydale, Lincoln and Hollands Schaap:

I was sure I’d spin one breed per evening. But I fell asleep having barely touched the first one…

Next morning, Saturday, started with encouragements from the local vandals:

“Spin”!

(This is the first time graffiti appears in our historic neighbourhood.  There are tags all over the place and people are a bit gutted by it. It’s such a defacing. Luckily none of our walls were sprayed.)

Today I took a trip and I brought the reed dyed bombyx silk and my little turtle spindle:

I got back home in the early evening and reconnected with my wheel. This is a t-shirt I bought at Mermaidy in Utrecht:

It’s made of bamboo and organic cotton, it’s produced in Turkey and bought under Fair Trade agreements. It is printed in Amsterdam and part of the sales go to support the Amsterdam cat shelter the Poezeboot. That’s a no-kill centre on a canal boat:
cat boatpic by Terretta

It’s a great shirt, very soft, in great purple and with silver print of a cat stretching for a heart or spinning fibres. Cats and spinning go so well together.

Now it’s Saturday night and time for bed. I spun the first breed, the Hollands Sheep. 30 grams of the sock yarn is done, about 360 m single I think.

Tomorrow I’ll spin one or perhaps two of the other breeds. Spinning in my head goes so much faster than the spinning in my hands.

Finished: grey handspun Flinders vest

So much gets done when you don’t take your crochet with you to the cabin.
I also finished Grey Flinders Vest while I was there:

Top-down vest pattern with raglan at the shoulders:

Before I started the ribbed hem I added a few shortrows at the front because it was considerable higher than the back. Three pairs in total, that’s six extra rows.

pattern: Flinders Sweater Vest by Linda from clickertyclick

yarn: 170 grams of handspun Wolop hollands grijs on needles 4 mm. Ribbing on 3,5 mm. DK weight, 411 m used.

It’s really nice! Now that we’re back in the city I want to make dress shirts asap to wear under it. Like the ones I’ve been planning since last Noveber. But first I have to sew a pair of trousers. Linen Summer trousers. For Summer 2016.

Ofcourse this happened:

The Charm of a Sock Blank

A sock blank is a piece of (machine) knit sock yarn which is then hand dyed by an artisan. The resulting piece can be knitted into socks, straight out of the blank.

This is a sock blank:

I dyed it myself yesterday, in a workshop at Wolop.nl.

It is a single thread blank of a soft Merino/Nylon mix and it measures 25 x 125 cm. You start knitting at one end, frogging the blank as you knit. When you have one sock finished you’re somewhere in the middle of the blank, right where mine has spots. So my toe (or cuff) will have some dark stripes and spots.

The second sock will then begin with the spots and end with the evenly coloured bit of the blank.
I may have to knit one sock cuff down and the other toe up to get two matching socks.

A sock blank is a special kind of sock yarn stash, it’s a bit of a present to yourself really. The stash “enhancement” itself is an item to be admired:

Mine is just a dabble but professional ones are dyed by the artisan, the artist, and takes hours. They are pieces of art. Here are some examples:

wolop-sock-blank-groen
Wolop and Strickgewand 


Yarn Over New York and Rosie’s Moments


MariegoldJen and AndreSueKnits

A sock blank a one of a kind piece of knit art and you will “destroy” it as you use it. I love to appreciate it for a while before do that. Just looking at the artist’s handywork for a while, studying her play with colours, her techniques of applying colour and dye. She really put a lot of work in this!

The socks themselves end up very differently from the blank, they are a whole new item, often stripey and pooling. This project by Jamiemacn shows this:

 Sock Blank created by AndreSueKnits.

It has the same atmosphere colourwise as the blank but otherwise it’s a very different. No echo of the kitten’s sentiments nor the giggles the artist shared with knitters when she offered this blank for sale. They are probably still in the socks when Jamiemacn wears them though.

As you can see she knits the sock straight from the blank. The yarn is all crinkly but that’s ok, it will smooth when the socks are blocked. I imagine keeping the tension right is a bit of a nuisance with crinkled yarn. But making the magic happen from the sock blank into socks, enjoying the colours, makes up for that.

Yes I think the sock blank itself is something to be savoured and enjoyed while you use it.
Enjoy it even before you use it! Have it laying around to admire. After all, it is the promise of some quality “me-time” and it’s a quality item in which a fellow human being put a  lot of work and effort:

Ohh, this is so perfect for my colour palette, I couldn’t have executed it better if I had planned it!
The truth is I didn’t plan this colour. It was meant to be greyish blue which was the colour the dye bath had but then some dye magic happened (because I was using left over dye? because I only applied very little dye?) and it became greyish purple. To which Lieneke of Wolop then mixed up the perfect dark purple to paint the stars with. These will be perfect winter socks for me!

Right now I’m displaying the blank in my own home. With me as its target audience.
I’m sure you agree that this Sock Blank portrays the inner beauty and tranquility of me as a knitter:

Ahh, a perfect internet life picture. Instagram worthy.

The internet, where we are all beautiful, collected and fabulous!

While you know how it is in the real life:

In the real life we learn to operate our blinders and focus on what’s pleasing. Such as sock blanks.