America’s Sweetheart

This is it – the final sock for the 2007 Flock Sock Club. As usual it’s been off the needles for quite a while; as usual I’ve been sitting on it superstitiously, not wanting to blog it until it was almost ready to take wing. (See earlier post re: OMG-it’s-already-January!) Which took even longer than I was expecting because of… um… unforeseen circumstances that might have something to do with leaves or amoebas….

If you were still expecting this sock to be “Fearful Symmetry” – well, it isn’t. That plan fell by the wayside during “The Nine Tailors,” because when we finally nailed down the base color for that sock and realized how grey it was… and then confronted the fact that the base color for “Fearful Symmetry” was also going to be grey… it just didn’t seem like a good idea to do two grey designs back to back. No matter how different the greys (one cold and granite-like, the other softly ashy and underlaid with pale peach). No matter how different the designs (and they are dramatically different, diametrically different).

So “Fearful Symmetry” has been shifted to late 2008, and in its place we have… we have… well, see, it started out with this skein of bamboo Jen showed me at Rhinebeck, in a soft peachy-pinky color that had us both thinking light bubbly giddy thoughts about pink champagne. When we made the decision about “Fearful Symmetry” a couple of weeks later, the pinkish bubbles rose to the surface again and struck us both as the obvious, the natural solution. So Jen sent me a skein, and I got me some beads, and I started swatching, and swatching, and swatching, and somehow… the champagne thing just wasn’t happening. And then I backed off and took a good look at the yarn, and suddenly I realized that it was a lot more pinky and less peachy than I remembered, and that my Rhinebeck-fuddled memory of it was clashing with the reality on my needles. So I started shifting gears.

I can’t easily describe the progression that led to where the sock ended up. It owes some of its shape and drape to an unfinished sketch I made over a year ago, based on Cunégonde’s aria “Glitter and Be Gay” from Bernstein’s “Candide” – a short dainty girly sock in pale pink, with swags of diamond necklaces. But somehow this one wanted to be more modern, more overtly robust, than that. Next thing I knew I was up to my ears in the history of Elsie de Wolfe and the gazillion incarnations of, and recipes for, the Pink Lady (a story for another time, and a good one). By the time I found my footing on the other side, what I had was a sweet little flapper, in fishnet stockings, with a bugle-beaded skirt daringly grazing her knees. And the pink pink pink pink of the whole thing was nagging at something elusive in the back of my mind, something that I knew was central to the idea, something that I just couldn’t quite grasp. Like when you meet someone on the street and you recognize the face but you can’t put a name to it. Then a night or two later you suddenly sit bolt upright at 3 AM and realize who it was – and it’s someone you’ve known all your life, someone you know like the back of your hand.

And sure enough, one night I sat bolt upright at 3 AM and realized exactly who this sock was and why she looked so familiar. She’s Roxie, that’s who she is.

You know who I mean. The jazz-baby with the smoking gun. The beauty of the cell-block. The sweet-faced little flapper you wanted to take home to mother – if only you could bust her out of the clink. Yeah. That Roxie.

(I wasn’t so far off with the Pink Lady, though. It turned out that wanted to be the name of the colorway, not the sock.)