Let's Start in the Middle
Socks about birds, part 1
Let’s start in the middle, shall we? Just jump right in without overthinking it, and then go backwards and forwards from there.
My thing is dyeing yarn. Specifically, self-patterning or self-striping yarn for people to knit with (or crochet with, or weave with, or admire as it sits on their shelf). Lately I’ve been throwing a bit of data at the yarn, like hats where different stripes represent the size and location of different planets, or socks where you can use a colour code to decipher a message in the stripes. Fun stuff.
Every year I collaborate with a friend, Andrea Rangel, who’s a knitwear designer. I make yarn and she makes a coordinating pattern. Or maybe she makes a pattern and I make coordinating yarn. Anyway. This year we decided to tackle two projects together. The first was this epic shawl for her sister’s wedding that she dreamed up to match the Edwardian gown she sewed for the event. If this seems like a totally normal thing to you, then welcome, friend. And if you can’t imagine a world where someone *in modern times* would sew a gown and then knit a matching shawl, well, this is all going to blow your mind. Buckle up.
Anyway, the first project was 100% Andrea. She had a strong vision of what she wanted. She told me what to do and I did it. Results here.
The second project, on the other hand, is all me with Full Nerd Mode engaged. It started the idea that it would be nice to pull together some colours based on Andrea’s most excellent bird photography. She sent me a small collection of photos she had taken of birds that weren’t all brown and grey (lots of birds are brown and grey), and my idea was pick a single colour to represent each bird and then create striped socks with those colours.
During our brainstorming session, Andrea pointed me to the checklist of birds published by our local Natural History Society. It’s a list of all the birds that might be spotted locally, along with a chart showing what times of year they’re most common. Well, if you’re familiar with knitting charts, the bird checklist basically looks like instructions for knitting a sock. So that seemed like a promising starting point for a design.
Image description below1.
So there you have it. A first draft at some bird-inspired yarn and socks. If you’re familiar with how life works, it will not surprise you to learn that this first draft needed some more work. More on that next time.
p.s. I’ve been meaning to start writing again, but life just keeps getting in the way and how do I get started and what would I write about anyway and etc. Well, today I say nuts to that, I’m going to dive in and just start doing it. Whatever I feel like writing about. My only rule for myself will be a regular publication schedule, weekly on Fridays.
I’ve decided to publish here on Substack. That way if it gets too random or I lose interest in a few months, it doesn’t clutter up the blog on our business website. Or, if this goes well and turns into something I love spending time on, then I’m not limited by the functionality of shopify’s blogging tools. Either way. Hello. Thanks for reading. See you next week?
A sketch of a striped sock. Text reads: Bird Species in Victoria. Annual distribution of bird sightings. Each stripe is a different species of bird. Width of stripe equals how common the species is. Central panel is 24 stitches wide equals annual chart of likelihood of bird sighting.