women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Starry Night

"Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul."
- Don McLean

Weekends are shaping up to be design days. Which I suppose is only natural, given that we are pre-programmed from childhood to view those days as "play" days. Monday through Friday we focus on production. For me that means time spent with Cherry.

But weekends? Ah! That's another thing altogether. Weekends are for dreaming, for dallying, for delving into the endless permutations of the creative mind.

On Saturday, my husband tossed me a package of Van Gogh goodness: the latest installment from Zen Yarn Garden's Art Walk Sock Club. When they decided to base this month's yarn on Van Gogh's Starry Night painting, I was expecting something cobalt and yellow, but the yarn is much more sophisticated than that.

It is a wonderful watercolor-ish blend of blues and greens, with a little pale ice and dusky charcoal thrown in for contrast. Right then and there, my creative mind gave up on any real progress on Cherry that day. The juices were pumping, the heart was racing, the brain was turning into a maze of possibilities...

Back to trial and error territory.

I wanted something that reflected the painting. That meant it had to be undulant. Something spirally, something sinuous, something that flowed like the sky in the painting. Straight lines wouldn't cut it - not for this sock.

My first attempt with an eyelet variation looked good in the swatch, so good that I ran to the computer and developed it into an actual sock pattern. The motif had a 20 stitch repeat, which is a little tricky on something as small as a sock. Clearly I was going to have to use very small needles to get enough repeats in.

Either that or put on a lot of weight to bulk up my ankles big time.

I tried the pattern on size one double points with 80 stitches. Too big. I tried it on size zeros. Too dense to show the pattern properly. I reduced the stitch count to 60 and went up to one and a halfs to compensate for the lower stitch count.

The pattern was an offset one, but of course,I wanted the pattern to be centered on the instep stitches. This required much tinkering on the computer with chart making software.

Got two pattern repeats up on the foot and decided it wasn't just right. The pattern got lost on the foot. Back to the drawing board.

Slept on it overnight, then tackled the problem puzzle again with fresh vigor this morning. Don't know if this will work on the sock. Time will tell. But the swatch looks good.

The foot of the sock and up to the ankle will be this stitch

The waving nature of the stitch mirrors Vincent's flaming Cypress tree on the right side of the painting.

At the ankle the pattern will segue into this eyelet variation.

See the stars?

And here they are together for the very first time. Take a bow kids.

Will the two patterns harmonize? Will the actual approach the conceptual? I don't know yet. But I sure am having fun playing with it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I 'm going to take my needles. leave the playground, and go home. Have to get back to work, after all...

"Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions."

-Mark Twain


La Cabeza Grande said...

Creating socks that are conceptually and visually undulating and sinuous is a tall order, but I suspect you're on to something.

BTW, not only can I hear Mr. McLean singing the song very clearly, I am reminded that someone actually paid me to copy this painting long ago.

margene said...

It looks good so far. Love the concept and hope it comes to fruition!

Donna Lee said...

I like the look of your pattern so far. I have wound my yarn up and have been trying to find a pattern that "speaks" to me for it. It is so beautiful that I want to make sure I do it justice.

Opal said...

I love the way it looks so far and I regret not joining in on this sock club. Maybe they'll reproduce it for the general public once the sock club is over or kit it with your pattern!

Carie @ Space for the Butterflies said...

That is beautiful yarn and I love how it looks in your pattern - especially the stars - fingers crossed it works as a sock!

Ann said...

I really admire your diligence to match the sock with the painting - it looks good & I think a masterpiece is being created. For me, I will just find a pattern & start knitting.

Anonymous said...

That yarn is so pretty!

Lisa said...

Love the yarn and your pattern looks like a winner too! You're so creative!

Anonymous said...

Just lovely - what fun!