sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Persephone, personified.

My family has always found it hard to buy me gifts. I was a super tomboy as a young girl* (so much so I'd get kicked out of women's restrooms and was asked almost daily about the nature of my gender by elementary school students), so not much in the way of clothing and dressup was a great pick. For my dad's part, he'd been on the ACME "gifted kid catalog" mailing list since I'd been branded some sort of oddity at age 3 and would send me presents from it for appropriate holidays. Favorites were always books, least favorites were puzzle games (I received a worse score on the LSAT's logic games than I would have if I'd simply guessed on each one). Most favorite was "Bulfinch's Mythology," a superthick volume of mythology and legends in prose form, gleaned from historical sources by some cat in the 1850's named, you guessed it, Bulfinch. My favorite bit of that book was the mythology section; at eight I would lay in bed when the lights were supposed to be off, reading about lascivious gods and the virgins who were turned into (insert inanimate object here) after rebuking their suitors... perhaps another perspective on how skewed I can be sometimes :)

I thought about this when gaping at my second Pomatomus sock... thinking if the first was Janus, this second was definitely Persephone (Proserpine, Proserpina)...



Persephone, daughter of Ceres (Demeter/the Earth), was "ravished" by Hades/Pluto/her great-uncle after he was struck by Cupid's arrow. Ovid (via Mandelbaum) does it best...

...In that grove,
Proserpina was playing, gathering
violets and white lilies. She had filled
her basket and, within her tunic's folds,
had tucked fresh flowers, vying with her friends
to see which girl could gather more of them.
There Pluto-- almost in one instant-- saw,
was struck with longing, carried that girl off--
so quick-- unhesitating-- was his love.

The goddess-girl was terrified. She called--
in grief-- upon her mother and companions,
but more upon her mother. She had ripped
her tunic at the upper edge, and since
the folds were loosened now, the flowers fell.
So simple is the heart of a young girl
that, at that loss, new grief is what she felt.

The Metamorphoses of Ovid, Book IV: 379-395
(Allen Mandelbaum translation, a post of favorites today!)

In short, dear Persephone was destined to remain Hades' wife (after you know, all of that rape and ravishing and all) for half of the year, 6 months, as she'd eaten six pomegrante seeds during her underworld stay. During those months her mother withdraws into herself, leaving the land barren and cold... and in her return Demeter causes the world to flourish again.

It's a stretch, but we've got some of that half and half, withdrawing receding returning action in this second sock. I still love it, they're both so freaking weird and wonderful.

from Bulfinch's Mythology, "The Rape of Proserpine by Pluto"
p 52

In other, non-mythology née sock news, these are looking mighty boring alongside their insane clown posse bretheren, above...


Opal Krokodil, color 31 (black & purple)
US 1.5 (2.5mm)-- 2 socks on 2 circs
"Yarrow ribbed sock" from Knitting Vintage Socks
...positioned precariously on jealousy soaked hibiscus flannel pj pants :)

These may well be a secret project they take so long! Oy, even with a little interesting rib stitch they are so boring (but, at least let me watch The Godfather the other day pretty much straight thru, so eh...) I picked the yarrow ribbed sock pattern since I wanted/needed something simple for this yarn and it has a heel and a toe I haven't worked before (German heel, French toe). I added on an extra repeat of the ribbing (72 sts) for a wider foot, otherwise its as is so far. I won't make the leg as long as the book calls for (8.5") though, to be conservative. I wound half the ball and cut it and would the other half... not sure of the striping but I wanted it to be at least close (not reversed, anyway.) Looks like drunk lightening bolts about now :)

I wanted to try the Opal after my last (negative? neutral at least...) post about it, a few boring thoughts ahead.

It is nice. I kinda get it now. :) It feels sturdy, like there won't be any holes in the near-near future, always a plus. It has a tighter twist than say the Lisa Souza Sock! (since I'm working them both at the same time, I'm bound to draw comparisons)-- which is good, again along the sturdy lines. I tried knitting it up on US o's (2.0mm) which would have been possible but made socks of iron and not in a good way... The 2.5mm was recommended by the ballband (I think! en deutche!) and its making a nice sock now. Perhaps if I pick up the new hiyahiya circular needles with their *american*/US sizing (!!) and nice cords/slickish needles I'd use a US 1 (2.25mm) on this yarn, but for now there's no way in 7734 I'd use dpns on this yarn-- I'd *never* finish the second sock. (Sorta segue: Have yall seen the new Knit Picks Options needles?? I want the dpn set! :) I think I'd make my fingers bleed though, I'm one of those finger pushing knitters. Always been a bit of a masochist tho.)

Part of my aversion is also the print/patterning of Opal yarns in general, lately I feel its silly to push a printed yarn like Opal into texture or stitch patterns, and it can just get so boring for me. I think I'm also not enthralled with their patterning (just from my perspective); I find the Austermann Step (PDF!!) more interesting as far as printed yarns go. But, I think I may pick up one of the handpainted Opal skeins with my next purchase from Simply Sock Yarn Company-- the base yarn is nice and is knitting up well (if not forever!) And Alyssa says it'll soften up nicely in the wash, too. I know the receipient will dig the colors of this yarn as well, so its keeping me strong and not winding any *more* yarn than "necessary".

...and in non-sock, well twice removed sock news...

The Yarn Harlot is coming to California! Too cool, I'm there. (Stalkers take note!) She'll be in Los Altos at Full Thread Ahead, owned by the Cherry Tree Hill supersock pusher Hojo :) BUT! Hojo only has 200 spaces and is requiring an RSVP via her website if you want to go-- no cost, just a save my seat! thing-- go on and rsvp now, there are 118 seats left as of this post.

*to fulfill a special request for someone i can't say no to... me as a young girl, photo of photo action again. yes, i was born a girl. but when faced with the question at this age of what i wanted to be when i grew up...

"a daddy."



lexa said...

Wow - are those two socks ever different (Poms). Looking good, though! I was supposed to have Step-Pa-in-Law socks done yesterday, but I don't even have the first one done yet. Boring grey rib does nothing for me. Good thing I don't see them a lot - it doesn't really matter that I didn't get them done on time!

Love the young pics! I was a tomboy, too, but I had hair down to my butt. The boys have some of my Lego and a bunch of my old cars. I do still have some of my dolls, but they were boring, and I didn't play with them much. I think Ma and Pa figured I was a girl and should have dolls, but I always asked for Tonkas and video games!

trek said...

Aw - you were a cute kid. And the Opal is looking nice.

Alyssa said...

Cute pics - I was a bit of a tomboy myself. Usually covered in dirt and wearing my brothers hand-me-downs. I always liked Star Wars more than Barbie.

I ordered the new knitpicks needles...I got the circular set and the 1's and 0's in the dpns. I hope they are as good as they sound:)

rene said...

After reading the Ovid, I was also thinking that the blue and white bits of pom 2 look like the violets and white lilies, as well. The orange can represent Demeter (at least, it could around here. Lots of red clay). I like allegorical socks. :)

Thanks for the links to the needles- I'm always on the lookout for new ones to try.

Also, very cute pics. :)

HPNY Knits said...

cute pics. I was a tomboy as well. no wonder you wanted to be the dad, at some point, dads/men see to have all the power, till you get a bit older, and see the options...

Melissa said...

I was a big time tomboy! You were a cute kid!

Deb for Fearless Fibers said...

I really like the Krokodil socks ... they're not boring, just quiet :) The Pomatomus ones are a pretty stitch pattern and nicely knit, but they make me a bit carsick.

Toooooo cute pic of you when you were a wee one!
- Deb aka Fearless Fibers

aquaknits said...

I think the socks are turning out very interesting and wild, I can't wait to see them worn side by side.

Huge tomboy here as well, I tended to love racecar sets way more that dolls. While I don't care for cars anymore, I still believe that anyone can and should be anything they wanna be. :)

Chris said...

Ok, I totally love that Opal colorway...

Dave said...

Amazing! Don't you just love the unpredictability of hand paints? I'm looking forward to seeing what it does do as you work through the heel and foot.

Stacey said...

Another tomboy here...I love those mythology notes - I find that whole area very interesting and fascinating!

The crocodil is working up kinda neat - not pooling, not striping, more like splotching? :)

I saw the new KP needles too....hmmm...

mf said...

Nice Opal color! Yes they soften up after washing.... I LOVE opals!

Midnight Purls said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

I love your Pomatomus! That yarn is beautiful.

Everytime I read your blog it makes itch to knit socks. I'm going to have to get started on that soon. They are after all the perfect summer knitting project. A much wiser choice then say, an afghan. LOL.

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