Socks, socks, SOCKS!!!! They're coming at me from every direction. Amidst the barrage of sock knitting opportunities, though, emerges a shining beacon. Thank the stars and heavens, my favorite annual sock knitting adventure is here.
Does anyone else think its weird that all of a sudden, sock knitting opportunities are popping up every which way you turn? Like the highly anticipated and sought after '52 Weeks of Socks' book from Laine. Or featured new designs in some of my favorite yarn companies' newsletters (check out "Thomasson," using Spincycle's Dyed In the Wool). No complaints here. The more fun sock patterns, the happier be this 'ole sock knitter. One of my absolute favorites is an annual sock club from Curious Handmade called "The Handmade Sock Society." And Helen Stewart the designer extraordinaire behind Curious Handmade has just released year three of this marvelous sock knitting adventure. Each previous year followed an inspirational theme - year 1 delved into the rich life of the earth beneath our feet, with botanically-inspired designs; year 2 took us on a journey along the beautiful Cornish coastline. Six phenomenal sock patterns, released over the course of each year. Year 3 promises to be equally as wonderful and irresistible. In Helen's own words, "The third Season of the Handmade Sock Society explores that atmosphere and the stories of those who have found enlightenment and meaning there. The first astronomers fathoming the skies, intrepid explorers forging new paths up unconquered mountains, long-ago alchemists extracting elixirs from obscure ingredients, and modern-day knitters summoning beauty from nothing more than sticks and string and symbols of a page: all of us are engaged in the same work of meaning-making. All of us are capable of more than we know."
One of the things I like about her sock patterns, other than the lovely, creative, easy to memorize stitch patterns, is how well they're written. The first time I opened one, though, I was a bit overwhelmed. 28 pages long! After digging in a little more, though, it all made good sense, and I loved it. Helen uses what she calls the 'Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist Pattern™ format'. Every single round of knitting is written out (there are also charts provided where appropriate) for every size. And alongside the written instructions, about every 10-15 rounds, she notes a percentage, letting you know how far along you are with your sock. Brilliant! On one of the first few introductory pages, she also gives you printing instructions, telling you which pages to print for your size. My absolutely, positively, hands-down favorite sock patterns to work.
The first design, "Luminary Socks" was released a few weeks ago. Because Helen says it so much better than I could:
"When we’re lost, we follow the stars. When we’re weary, we hope for a light at the end of the tunnel. When we’re full of joy, people say that we light up a room. When we want to create something, we search for the spark of inspiration. Even in a brilliantly illuminated world, where every corner of our lives glows with street lamps and high beams and the blue radiance of our computer screens, we are still drawn to the light. Heavenly bodies, people who are stars in their field, a candle burning in a window to guide a lonesome traveler home: the luminary shows us what’s possible. It shows us the way.
The Luminary socks are a meditative knit, a reminder of our own creative light. A sparkling path of star stitch and cables runs along the front and top of the foot, with plain, relaxing stockinette on the back of the leg."
In these uncertain, frightening times, it almost seems that she had uncanny foresight, and gave us something we all need - a touch of light.