Back Story

Today is a rare delight for me:  I get to tell you about something I made, which you can actually now see.  Some of you might even already have it, since the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club  first shipment has officially gone out.  I am privileged to have been chosen to make this design for the coolest, toughest, and most devoted group of sock knitters that ever was.  No pressure.  

Sometimes I feel like the character in Greek mythology (I think it might have been Midas' barber) who couldn't keep a secret and had to dig a hole and whisper it into the ground to keep from exploding.  There are so many things I dream up, and work on, and tangle with, that I am forbidden to share with you before they are ready for prime time.  And as those who have met me know, I was born without the Shut Up Gene, so things get dicey for me at these times.  When I am knitting on a deadline, and every minute has to be spent on one of these Project X items, I can't even go to knit nite, because I can't be trusted not to spill the secrets.  Bummer.  So with great glee, I herewith spew the goods on the Distelfink Socks:

I was really surprised to learn that the lovely and talented Lucy Neatby was selected for this project as long ago as Sock Summit, because I was asked only this fall.  Maybe the enormously busy and productive Ms. Newton forgot that she wanted a second design in the space between?  Or maybe she was mulling over whether traditional stranded colorwork was really the way to go?  I would never ask, since I hate to look a knitting job in the mouth.  What I do know is that this project represents the very first stranded colorwork sock that Blue Moon has ever offered, and I am well and truly flattered by the honor I was given to make it.

The idea for this sock originally presented itself to me a couple of seasons back, when Abby Franquemont and I first met.  I was trying to think of a collaborative project that was all about friendship, and could somehow incorporate her killer spinning with my saucy knitting.  At the time, I thought it should be mittens, with each friend knitting a mismatched pair, and then exchanging to make sets.  She was going to spin some yarn, and I was going to design a motif.  Abby and I both got distracted, and well, you know how it is.  Even the best of friends can find themselves sidetracked, and promise to pick up where they left off some other time...Abby, I still want to trade mittens with you, and someday we will do it!

So Tina asked me to meditate on the nature of friendship, to let it inspire a sock design.  She asked me my favorite color, and I answered "Aubergine", without any clue that she had already made a new aubergine colorway and given it to Lucy to work with a full 2 years ago.  Weird, no? 

I fell in love with Distelfinks when I was a kid, studying american quilts.  A mythical bird with magical powers?  And two of them together signify a blessed friendship?  Sign me up!  For a while I tried not to put that picot edge on the tops, and then I realized that resistance was futile.  The picot is my first love, my all-time favorite edge, and I just couldn't fight it.  Besides, I reasoned that the people getting this pattern were not necessarily going to be familiar with my sweater designs, so why not introduce myself to them properly?

Working with two brand-new, still nameless Blue Moon colors was completely transcendental.  The yarn came in the mail, without a ball band, note, explanation, or anything.  It just arrived, and immediately started whispering to me what it wanted to be.  And after forming an intimate friendship with it, I couldn't help but give the colors names:  The multi-colored one reminded me of a tropical cocktail in a coconut cup.  I dubbed it "Fuzzy Sunrise on the Beach".  And the dark semi-solid could only be "Auber-Genius", like what Wile E. Coyote has printed on the business card he hands to Bugs Bunny.  Last week, when I visited Tina, she presented me with my very own January kit (Rockin' Sock Club: I'm not just a designer, I'm also a member!) I saw then that she had actually adopted one of my names.  And for the record, I think "Pinky Swear" is a way better moniker for the multi than the one I came up with. 

So that's the story of the Distelfink socks.  Oh, and the part when Tina Newton said my sock toes were sexy?  I totally geeked out.  After I read that in her dyer's notes, I vowed never to wash my eyes again.