It’s no good traveling if you aren’t open to possibility, and to things being different from home. Late in my dad’s life, I rued that we kids never got him over to France to see the landing beaches in Normandy, which had loomed so large in his imagination from his childhood during World War II. But Dad was set in his ways. I think he would have been annoyed at the people of France for having different money, for not wrapping their bread in plastic bags, even for the delicious sauces of French cooking. He might have missed out on a lot of the experience, even if he’d gone.
It’s the same with knitting with hand-dyed yarns, don’t you think? A knitter has to put aside previous notions of sock esthetics and be open to what the yarn does, all on its own, as it is knitted up. The yarn is in charge of this sock, not you. To experience the joys of this journey, you have to be willing to take it as it comes, to let go, to speak its language.
Pooling? Flashing? Stripes that appear by magic, then quickly disappear? A pair of socks that barely resembles each other, let alone matches? All these things are normal in the land of hand-dyeing. When the yarn has been dyed with a painterly hand, there is no knitting more elevating and ecstatic. It’s pure, unrestrained color play. And an entirely different road to a pair of socks.
At the end of an exciting trip, it feels good to go home and sleep in your own bed. And maybe make a pair of socks that match.
But for now, I’m tasting all the delights of the hand-dyed yarns we brought into the Shop for Field Guide No. 11, and the sock blank that I painted all by myself.