Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Bluebell Experiment!


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?





Sam's not happy about the extra source of heat!





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)

34 comments:

Beverly said...

Quite lovely and creative. I enjoy seeing the projects you create and am always surprised and amazed at what you design.

Emma said...

I think that's a really cool idea. The socks are beautiful, and definitely unique. It sounds like with a little fine tuning, you are going to end up with a very successful pair of socks, and be well on your way to that shawl!

Knittypants said...

So cute, and how clever to paint lace.

Strickfimmel said...

Deine neuen Bluebell Socken sind traumhaft geworden. Ich liebe diese Farben! Es ist eine Superidee von Dir gewesen ein Lochmuster in einer anderen Farbe mit ein zu arbeiten. Außerdem muß ich Dir mal an dieser Stelle ein großes Lob aussprechen für Deine tollen Fotos. Du findest immer wieder eine neue Möglichkeit Deine neuen Projekte zu präsentieren und das gefällt mir ausgesprochen gut. Mach weiter so!!!

Anonymous said...

fertige socken durch bemalen behübschen ist eine super idee.
wie strickt man bitte einen pikotrand?
lg
mercedes

Dipsy said...

I can't believe how absolutely gorgeous these socks are - you outdid yourself, that's for sure! This is indeed the most beautiful pair I've seen for long! And hey - I adore your furry model! ;))

yvonnep said...

Beautiful socks! And a pair of socks including painting in one weekend? Wow, I'm impressed!

Sue J. said...

Beautiful socks, and such a unique and ingenious idea. Gorgeous colors, too. ffnzbj

hakucho said...

Those socks are just stunning! I love them :)
You just keep on surprising me...

happy knitting :)

Sherry said...

Wow, those are adorable, great job!!!

T-Mom said...

What a clever idea! I think the socks turned out beautifully. I like your model, too. :) I think GSDs are natural models. Here's my girl showing off a lace scarf http://tinyurl.com/2d49gw

Devonshire said...

Those socks look amazing! The color is fantastic. Your knitting is wonderful!

Mariella said...

Your Bluebell socks are so beautiful! You are so creative and inventive in your designs! And those colors rock!

Sarah said...

What a great idea! I'm totally stealing it...
PS. The dog is adorable.

NancyMaria said...

That's an amazing job you did! You must be a very patient person.
Very beautiful!

Susann said...

Gorgeous! And I'm happy to see that I'm not the only crazy person to paint socks!

See here http://www.flickr.com/photos/96853827@N00/468013101/

Becca said...

I gasped when I saw these socks! They are amazing. I just love the lace insert panel on the cuffs, that is a great idea. It never would have occured to me to paint socks, but you are making me want to go play with some colors.

Well done!

Robin said...

Those socks are beautiful. They remind me of stained glass for some reason.

Nanette said...

They're so beautiful - the colors are really lovely. Also, I insist that the handsome Sam model all future FOs. LOL

Violiknit said...

Oh, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous socks! You are so inspiring!

pat said...

Well - We just got home and instead of unpacking (like I should be)I spent the last 15 minutes reading all of your posts that I missed.....you are prolific!!!
The painted lace socks are beautiful - I never even heard of painted lace until I saw yours! and I'm so impressed with Hannah's Pomatomus socks....she is amazing.
The dye fest looks like it was a lot of fun...some beautiful colorful yarn!

Jodi said...

Beautiful socks! What an interesting (and challenging sounding) technique. I'm afraid to do any dyeing b/c I have enough trouble cleaning up messes around the house already, and I don't have laundry tubs.

Bobbi said...

wow! those are amazing!

Laverne said...

The Bluebells are a lovely surprise. What an amazing idea. I am 2/3 through the 1st Ashes in Panda Cotton and it is so much fun to knit. I promise to share a picture when I'm finished.

thanks for the great inspiration.

Theresa said...

That looks fun. There's a scarf pattern for painted lace in an old Vogue Knitting that also looked superfun.

Knitman said...

Very pretty!

Michelle said...

Socks look wonderful! Great job! They remind me of church stained glass windows.

Tanja said...

Hallo Monika,

was für schöne Socken! Kein Wunder, dass Sam sich die gleich geschnappt hat... allerdings musst Du für ihn doch wohl nochmal zwei stricken *g*

Viele liebe Grüße
Tanja

Carrie K said...

Oh goodness GRACIOUS, Monika! Those are fabulous! And handpainting the bluebells......just wow.

And dang. I just sent an Amazon order off before coming to your site and I see now I need another book.

Hege said...

The socks are beautiful! Have a great day :)

Emily said...

Very cool! Fiddly pays off.

meg said...

the socks came out great!! as always you knit the best.

monica said...

Lovely, lovely socks and I love the colors you used too. Great job as usual!

Kelly said...

ohhh they are FANTASTIC!!!
I love them, very springy!