Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mosaic Socks

Serenity Knits Newsletter readers and regular visitors to the store, know that I, Beth, am not fond of winter. A true Canadian, I often complain about the weather. We had a recent visitor to our plaza who most definitely does not share my opinion of snow and cold. Dakota is the faithful companion of the window washer at our plaza. In the summer Dakota usually hangs out under the bushes. Last week, during a class, one of the students glanced out our front window and with some degree of shock asked, "What is that????" I should mention here that Dakota is rather large. Dakota was perched on top of the ever increasing snow banks in our plaza parking lot, enjoying the snow and sun, reminding me very much of the childhood proclamation; "I'm the KING OF THE CASTLE".

Could he look more comfortable? Nice to see someone enjoys the snow.

My idea of winter fun is a warm fire and a new ball of sock yarn. Sock yarns and sock knitting classes continue to be popular at Serenity Knits. We have an amazing selection of sock yarns if I do say so myself; self-striping, solids, semi-solids, handpaints, wool, bamboo, alpaca, fine & DK weights. We will soon be carrying an amazing cotton/elastic DK weight sock yarn from Cascade which is a lot of fun to knit with and perfect for the "no-wool please" knitters.
During an afghan class with Karen, one of the students, Julie, was happy to show off her most recent pair of socks.
Julie taught herself to knit socks guided by our favourite beginner sock book, "Getting Started Knitting Socks". On sabbatical this year from teaching, Julie has been treating herself to a few knitting classes. She is already an accomplished knitter but is having fun learning some new and advanced techniques. She took a class with me in the late fall on MOSAIC knitting. The socks below were class samples I knit out of Koigu.

The magic of mosaic knitting is that you are actually knitting with only one color at a time, but the results mimic a complicated two-color pattern. The trick is in the slip stitches and the technique. In addition to being simpler than Fair Isle, because you are not stranding or carrying the two yarns at once, it is not as thick as Fair Isle and uses less yarn. The pattern Julie used for her socks is exactly the same pattern I used in mine. The two pair of socks show very effectively how different the same pattern can look with different yarns. In case you are wondering, yes I did mean for the pink and yellow socks to be a pair. Knitting the background of one in pink, with yellow contrast and one in yellow with pink contrast allowed me to still get a complete pair of socks from two skeins of Koigu. I call these my "dare to be different" socks inspired by my daughter Addie. As a child Addie would purposely wear two different socks. At 21 she still does but these days it is more often an indicator that clean laundry is low.

Julie quickly learned the Mosaic technique in the class. Her yarn choice was inspired by another sample sock I had knit. The above sock uses a very simple mosaic pattern. It is knit using the fabulous new Noro Kureyon sock yarn and solid black Aracania Ranco. For those of you not familiar with Noro Kureyon, it is a Japanese yarn best known for its beautiful, wide, self-striping colour patterns. Each skein of Kureyon gradually and subtly progresses through several colours. Many Kureyon colourways consist of rich jewel tones. When used in Mosaic knitting with a black or very dark solid, it produces what I have decided to call Stained Glass knitting because in my opinion it is the knitting version of stained glass.
Julie's sock were knit with Noro Kureyon, colour S180 and black Lana Grossa sock yarn.The Mosaic pattern for both hers and mine came from the book on Mosaic knitting by Barbara Walker, the definitive collection of mosaic patterns.If you are tempted to try mosaic knitting, we have the yarns and books you would need. Classes are also available.
One last look at Julie's Stained Glass mosaic socks.

Well done Julie.

Posted by Beth

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