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:

… 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 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.

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.

Scallop shells, that is.

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.)

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.

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

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

… 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)…

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

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

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!