Sunday, November 29, 2009

Images of Ancient Greece

I lived in Athens, Greece during my early elementary school years and my mother (who had majored in art history) was fond of dragging my sister, brother and me to various art museums and ancient ruins. Given our tender years we didn't fully appreciate the experience at the time. However, the beauty of the classical images must have been absorbed at an unconscious level because I now find them to be quite compelling.

Flash forward to many, many years later when my husband and I traveled to Greece (Athens, Santorini, Crete) for our honeymoon and toured the Parthenon and the Temple of Knossos to name just a few sites.

So, when I saw these socks about a year ago on Ravelry, designed by Gryphon Perkins of the Sanguine Gryphon (,I was immediately struck by the elegance of translating a classic Greek vase design to a sock and I vowed to make them for my husband for our 9th wedding anniversary.

I was finally able to obtain the pattern a week ago and diligently knitted away on the first sock that incorporates that image of Theseus killing the Minotaur.

This side shows the Minotaur:

Here is a close-up of the Theseus side. I love the bird silhouette between his legs.

I was careful to get gauge and followed the pattern instructions slavishly. But, I am sad to report, the sock is not wearable. It is not possible to pull the sock on over the heel and ankle area -- a prerequisite for well-fitting socks. I think the issue is that I was so careful to weave in the floats so as not to be caught by an errant toe, that there is not enough flexibility and give in the stranded part of the sock. If it were only possible to put it on, I think it would fit okay but that's simply not possible. Here you can see it on a sock blocker (size medium).

Well, I guess it could be used as a Christmas stocking ...

Those of you who have followed my blog over the past year know by now that I don't give up easily. I have already started on the second sock which will have a number of improvements. First, I was fortunate to have purchased Wendy Johnson's sock book which includes several great toe-up cast-ons. I am delighted with the perfection of casting on in such a way so as to not have to sew up the toe. Yay! One great advance already. Second, I plan to shorten up the length of the foot, eliminate the slip stitch from the bottom of the heel area (my own misguided addition), and I plan to increase the number of stitches in the stranded leg area.

Finally, I just wanted to mention that this is not the first pair of socks I've made. Hardly! It's the SECOND pair. The first pair I made (also for my husband) a year ago were a perfect fit. Witness below. I guess it was beginner's luck and then I went and got all cocky about it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

May All Your Knits Be Both Beautiful and Interesting ...

When choosing a project to knit for myself I always experience a certain tension between a design that (I hope) will be flattering to wear but also interesting to knit.

It is often difficult to obtain both attributes in one project. My latest project, a Gedifra design (#1443 from Highlights 092), is an example of the former concern -- I am hoping for a flattering and attractive look.

However, endless rows of rib stitch is not the most fascinating thing in the world to knit. Here is the back -- all 25 inches of it.

The yarn is Samina which is a very unusual fiber. It is made of wool that is inserted into a nylon mesh sheath. It is soft to the touch and the knitted fabric holds its shape well, but it snags very easily. My hands are not as soft and smooth as they should be and my rough cuticles tend to catch on this yarn and snag it. I am hoping that these small snags will not be too noticeable in the finished garment.