I had very little navy-blue yarn. I needed more, to complete the Red, White, and Blue socks that would be the color inverse of the 4th of July socks. (Need is a relative term...knitter's need, we're talking about here. Having conceived of a design, it's necessary (!) to make it.)
This is what I intended to order when I looked on the website for yarn last Thursday:
This is ALL I meant to buy when I looked at the site.
The package arrived today. It looked bigger than those two neat balls of Ella rae Classic navy yarn needed. Also looked beat-up, with tracks where something with narrow tired ran across it.
It looked bigger because somehow, between going to the site to buy "just two balls" of navy yarn, "enough to finish the Red, White, and Blue socks" and handing over the wherewithal to pay for them, the yarn on the pages spoke to me. Maybe, it whispered, the Ella rae yarn isn't a true navy. Maybe the Cascade 220 navy is a better navy. And maybe that other dark blue yarn is even better. Maybe you should try all three. You know you like blue yarns, and you don't have any other good dark blue yarn since you used up all that Bernat "Sesame" from your mother's stash. It wouldn't be a waste, the ones you don't use in this pair of socks. You have other socks to make. Think of one of the dark blues striped with dark green, a nice winter sock.
So...those went into the shopping cart. Just six balls of yarn. I've used up more than six balls of yarn in this year already. (Ignoring the yarn I bought in April. Or the yarn bought at The Happy Ewe in June when they didn't have the white I wanted but they did have a luscious purple.) But then...there was a beautiful aqua, just the shade I'd been looking for, and I wanted to try the Cascade color "Blue Hawaii" and what if they ran out of the Ella rae "RoyaltyBlue" that I really like...and haven't used up the ones I have yet...but no matter...wool keeps. And some nice autumnal colors I need to in order to tone down the weird yellow-orange I ended up with because it wasn't the same color in hand as on the monitor (which isn't unusual.)
And so this happened.
Photographed in the kitchen, by mixed artificial lights, in late afternoon--only the royal blue is really the color it is.
Eleven pairs of socks can be knit from this collection (two skeins or balls per pair. Not counting the leftovers that will go into other socks or mitts or hats or scarves or something. I have a nice collection of greens in another place. Lots of bright red. Some lovely deep rose flecked with other colors. I probably have five years' worth of knitting, at my usual leisurely pace, and maybe more, in the stash, with some still not excavated of my mother's. It's all bagged now in new Ziploc bags. The Red, White, and Blue project was moved earlier this week into second place (may end up as a travel project to/from DragonCon) and a friend's pair has moved forward--using an earlier purchase of the medium brown heather (Cascade 220 "Walnut Heather") on the upper right in this photo. It was cast on yesterday, the ribbing on both socks already more than an inch. Tomorrow, in late-morning/midday daylight, I'll pick the navy for the RW&B socks, and put those balls into the right project bags.
Yarn is seductive in so many ways. The colors. The feel of it. Most of all the endless possibilities, both for single yarns and for different combinations. It reminds me of when, as a child, I fell in love with dictionaries...all those words. All those words, and their histories, and the way meanings shifted around them as colors shift a little when placed next to other colors. I wanted all the words in my head (they aren't, of course) and I wanted to play with them--their sounds, their flavors, their meanings and the way "blue and white" evoked a different mental image "white and blue," the inertial power of assonance and rhyme and on and on. Yarn is tickling the same itch in my brain now. Color's always been important to me, and yarn--more in socks than in other garments, at least for now--lets me play with colors in a way that other things haven't. I never enjoyed sewing, though I did some, so quilting--beautiful as it is--wasn't going to be my thing.
I should go knit now. Work my way through another two balls, for my friend's socks, finish up the RW&B socks, knit the replacements for the turquoise pair and the purple pair that wore out (or are about to wear out. So far this year I've finished seven pairs of regular socks, six pairs of short ones, and plan another four. regulars.
EDIT Image added Aug 7.
Trying to match color to a 50 year old yarn...I took one of the 4th of July socks out side along with the candidates for the match, and laid them down in the full, HOT midday August sun. Indoors, all the dark blues (including the old Sesame yarn I used in the socks) look almost black to me. Brighter light, clearer distinctions.
Ella rae Classic Navy (#85) wins, though not a perfect match.
That's probably as close as you can come, especially trying to do so from online color swatches. Murphy's law being what it is, probably I'll find a spare skein of the old yarn in a yet-unexplored-box two days after I finish the Red, White, and Blue pair. It turns out that I did not buy three different dark blue yarns,two 100g lumps of each...I bought four balls of the Ella rae in the same color. Either I did it by accident, or I forgot I did it on purpose, but it doesn't really matter. The darker, more "bitter" Cascade 220 navy is a welcome addition to the stash and will find its right use later.
And a bonus: the socks that are front-runners right now:
Cascade 220 "Walnut Heather" (#8013)
And now...back to work.