Ever since I bought the book “Creating Original Hand-knitted Lace” by Margaret Stove, and I’ve seen her “Sea Spray and Scallop Shells Shawl” I wanted to paint lace. This is one stunning shawl (page 131), a once in a lifetime project. At first I thought I’d like to, not duplicate but make something similar. I was thinking too big! Of course there was an easier way to try this method of painting lace, and these Bluebell Socks where born, at least in my mind.
In the same book I found this cute little blue bell pattern, which she used on a Baby Set. For my purposes I had to rewrite the pattern to my liking. For once I was thinking of a cuff down sock, and naturally the pattern in the book showed the pattern upside down. It did not look the same knitted that way. And I didn’t like the stem, which you couldn’t make out clearly in the original pattern. So, I swatched! People, I swatched and tried and finally came up with something I liked.
I think I was lucky to find the yarn I used for these socks in my stash. I knew how the lace part with the painted blue bells should look like, but until I saw the sweet georgia yarn in “English Bay”, I was not so sure of the rest of the sock.
I thought I would write up a pattern, but they are not good enough. The picot edge is too heavy for the lace part, which gets pushed down. The other reason for being pushed down, might be, that the white yarn is not exactly the same weight as the multicolored yarn. I used 64 stitches to cast on, because I needed multiples of eight for the lace pattern. It’s too loose on top. Later I thought, I could have cast on 60 stitches and increased for the lace part, but it was too late for this pair.
Painting was not as easy as I thought it would be. I used Jacquard color for the blue bell and Easter egg color for the stems. Since I want the color to stay even after washing, I soaked the finished socks in a vinegar/water solution, squeezed excess water out and rolled them in a towel. I put some plastic in the leg part of the socks. Now I carefully painted the stems and the blue bells. Still there was some bleeding, which occurred during the heating process in the microwave. After I finished painting, I wrapped the socks in plastic foil and nuked them for a couple of minutes, after a short cool down, another two minutes and they were done. As I said, there was some bleeding from the bluebells to the part were it was supposed to stay white, but not much, and not with all the bluebells. I think it was the ones, where I used more liquid. The blue color came out stronger after heating, that was a surprise (for me), since I don’t know the colors yet. There might be a better way to paint on wool, but I don’t know about it. This was an experiment, which I will further pursue. It’s fiddly but it’s fun!
So, what do you think?
Oh, yeah, did I tell you about my pillow? I'll safe that for my next post. And another thing, as nice as the weather is right now, the bad thing about it is, that you have NO excuse to stay inside and knit, when you've got to be outside and do back breaking yard work. ;o)