Sunday, May 17, 2009

Emma's Mingus revealed

Emma's Mingus Socks, finally

So, one of my dearest and oldest (in terms of time known, not age) friends had a special birthday this year. She (and her blog) are what got me excited about knitting again. It was her photos of terrifically turned out hand-knit socks that incited me to try sock knitting in the first place and led to the addiction that has since had me squarely in its grip.

So clearly she was getting socks, right?

But this was a special birthday and so they had to be "special socks."

As is my custom, rather than take things in any logical fashion, I made decisions based on impulse and gut reactions. Having decided on socks, I then had an excuse to head on over to my LYS and you know, do what I do.

So, I walk in and Vickie (only the best LYSO ever) chides me because yeah, it's been a while. We chat and I begin ambling around - no plan, no grand scheme, just ogling and fondling until...

Oooooh, pretty! Ooooh soft! Me buy!

Now Vickie is a great LYSO and I like to think she has her regular customer's best intentions at heart. But realistically, she is also running a business. That being said, I am not clear whether she turned me on to the gorgeous yarns of the Adirondack Yarn Co. because she loves them so and felt I would appreciate their product or because it also happens to be some of the most expensive sock yarn she carries. Whatever the reason, those yarns are insanely delicious! They really know what they are doing with their scrumptious hand-dyed yarns and I love, love, love them.

But also, they had the perfect colorway. It is called Indigo and it is the most delicious blue/purple blend maybe ever. In indoor lighting, it is deep and very royal blue. In sunlight, it really comes to life. The purple turns almost neon and sweeps out of the royal blue base. Unreal. The colors are deep and vibrant and rich and most importantly, to my eye almost perfectly call to mind irises - which are only Emma's favorite flower.

So yeah, yarn decided.

Now, true to form, I didn't have a pattern in mind. Unfortunately, I didn't have an extraordinary amount of time, so I'd kinda hoped to fall for a thicker yarn, perfect for a quick knit. (Oh yes, because P.S.: I also decided to make her a Viking Bag as well. She'd asked after I finished my first one). But I knew this yarn had to be it, so the weight would get to decide me. And since this was the yarn and it is fingering weight, a quick knit was now waaaay out of the bloody question.

And then the perfect pattern came to me. Like a flash of inspirational light and I almost immediately got a headache.

Cookie A's Mingus Socks Pattern.

I love Cookie's patterns. I think she is a bonafide genius. Each and every one is detailed and perfect and lovely and this is my favorite among them.

But, it has been a pattern I cannot master in any way, shape or form. I have been working one sock for almost a year. One sock. Almost a year. I have tinked back and frogged this thing beyond all reason. The pattern is gorgeous, her instructions are always written flawlessly and yet, I cannot do it. Seriously, the universe could guarantee me a free hour to gather anything I want from the WEBS warehouse and yet, I still could not finish this sock. It is quite simply beyond me.

Of course it was the perfect pattern for this yarn. Of course.


But, me being me, once the impulse hit, it was a done deal. The last eleven months of tinking and ripping back, the endless frustration, the slightly less than eloquent dialogue I've had while trying to knit this one sock be damned. This was it! Plus, it was Emma, my first best friend when I moved home alone in seventh grade, who drove me back and forth during my college years, who was the first person to try to teach me to drive - on a standard, no less, the one person who saw me through...oh, I don't know - everything from age 12 til about age 30. Though years have passed since we've been close, I'd empty a vein for her. Surely I could manage to figure out how to knit these socks on her behalf, right?

Well, as it turns out: right!

Emma's Mingus Socks:

slightly overcast daylight

early evening, using indoor light

heel - I love the detail of this heel

I have never worked a pattern so sloooooowly and so carefully, but I ended up only having to tink back a few times.

And, Emma's very own feet in them! Worth it all.

Finally, because they were so gorgeous, Emma's birthday cakes.

These were made special because in addition to knitting, being a great wife, mother to four [count 'em] kids and being an overall excellent human being, she also makes incredible quilts! These cakes were designed based on photos of actual quilts she's created. Unbelievable. I am humbled by her talent and that of the cake maker.

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