Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chicken Tracks with Yarn

Chicken Tracks (in Lovestick Sock Yarn, colorway "Woody").
Sometimes, my fascination with my hens spills over into other areas of my life. When I garden, I plan a few extra rows of mache greens for the ladies to snack on. Chickens have started springing up in my kitchen decor, on tea towels I've embroidered with vintage hen patterns, and on odd pieces of china and pottery. I found an old chicken feeder that makes a perfect rustic shelf at my potting bench.

And chickens work their way into my knitting as well. I've had some sock yarn in my stash for several years that I've come to think of as "Hen Feathers" as the colorway. I could have sworn that was the name on the skein, but I looked back into my stash records and it's actually a hand-dyed merino in a colorway called "Woody". Well, OK, that fits. But I'm still calling it Hen Feathers.

Anticipating a trip we're taking, I decided to cast on some socks, which are easily portable. Good for the plane, and for the beach. I looked through my magazines and books for a pattern, then through's plethora of patterns. I came across one called "Simple Skyp Socks" from Adrienne Ku. Because the yarn colors are bold and varied, I wanted a simple pattern, and I wanted something that I could knit without having to be too focused. I think beach knitting is kind of like beach reading--you want something relaxing, fun, and not particularly challenging.

I cast on, and immediately loved the pattern and the yarn. It's a sportweight yarn, on size 2 needles, so it's knitting up quickly. But as I looked at it I decided--with all due respect to designer Ku--that I'd rename these socks "Chicken Tracks." The Skyp stitch Ku incorporated reminds me happily of the tracks my hens leave in the snow, or in the garden.

In a solid color, this pattern would be more defined and noticeable. And I may have to try a second pair in a solid colorway, but it works very nicely with a patterned yarn, bringing texture and depth of its own. I like how--like the chicken tracks in my garden--you don't see the Skyp stitch at first glance. It's there between the rows of knit and purl like Thelma's tracks winding their way through the rows of lettuce and cabbage.

I have set aside the socks for the time being. I turned the heel on the first one. At the rate I'm going, I'll have it finished before our trip, and I really want to be able to work on this later, when I can relax a bit. There I'll be, miles from the coop but called to my hens with the ins and outs of my knitting needles.

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