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Conversational Threads


rjf | Posted in Photo Gallery on

Here is a sock………maybe.       rjf


  1. lindamaries | | #1

    I checked out your sock picture, but it didn't behave like the

    other pictures in the gallery. Just to give you feedback, or maybe

    it is just my computer.....I clicked on your picture and a box came on my screen telling me that I should save the picture. So I saved it to my documents. Then went into my documents and opened it up. It showed a bunch of crazy symbols no picture.

    I see that your clicking place for your picture doesn't have a file ending like .jpg or .gif or .pdf. I'm wondering about this.

    Let me know what you are doing. Maybe I can help you or maybe other people are getting your picture to pop up right away and I'm all washed up.

    1. rjf | | #6

      Sorry it didn't work for you but I think I know how to fix it.  It did start out as a jpeg but when I trimmed it and turned it, I saved as something (or nothing!) else.  And we can't even open on our computer.  Fickle toys!  I wonder how Carol and Tish got it to open.               rjf

  2. carolfresia | | #2

    I had no trouble at all clicking on the icon and seeing the sock right away. Very nice! Is it comfortable? Is it something I would be able to do? I've been thinking I need to move away from scarves and on to other knitting projects that are small and one-piece, if possible. Socks and mittens seem just the ticket. When you do the toe-up method, do you have to go back to the heel or anything?

    Pretty amazing how the stripes form. I wonder how big or small the sock has to be to get a good pattern with the Regia yarn.


    Edited 1/24/2003 8:45:40 AM ET by CAROLFRESIA

    1. rjf | | #7

      I knit about 10 practice toes before I could remember to start with a purl row but I bet you could manage just fine.  I'll put together a set of directions but you'll have to use your math minor to scale it down for the kiddies.      rjf

  3. Tish | | #3

    Wow!  That is very cool.  Now I want to start knitting again.  You are bad for me.  A source of temptation, that's what you are.  School starts on Tuesday, too, so I have no time on top of no time.

    Are the black toe and heel sections part of the yarn's pre-dyed pattern?

    By the way, today's vocabulary word is Ikat.

    1. rjf | | #8

      That seems like a late start for second semester.  My late place of business started their semester on the 13th.  And I don't even miss it anymore.

      The heel and toe are really navy blue and it's left-over yarn.  I was practicing all those toes I mentioned to Carol and when I finally got one that worked, I didn't want to abandon it.  It looks good, I think.

      There is something weird about the word of the day.  I really know what it is but everytime I see it, it makes me stop and think "What?" It first appeared when I knit a bright red tie for my 10th grade geometry teacher.  No use for it there, but in the same book, there was a tie that used ikat principles without using the word.  Seemed weird then too.  I have a big cone of white chennille that I want to space-dye but I need to do some research.  Is space-dye the same thing?  Maybe someone out there has words of advice for me???                             rjf

      1. Tish | | #13

        Well, Ikat is a form of weaving in which the warp or weft threads are carefully measured and dyed so that a pattern appears when the fabric is woven.  It appears indiginously in only four places in the world: Northern Japan, Indonesia, Gujarat India, and the Central American Highlands.  The most complicated form is the double Ikat of Indonesia.  The women who weave it have a priestly status in their communities, and the fabric is woven in loops that can only be cut on certain special occasions.

        I have seen the word Ikat applied to knitting in early Threads articles, used to mean material knitted with predyed yarns so that a pattern appears in the knitting.  Nothing I've seen in threads is as clear and vibrant as these regia yarns, though.  I put it up as word of the day because it seems to me that Ikat describes the Regia socks.

        Edit to say, I should have read your post more closely. Of course you know what it means.  Well, now if anyone else didn't know, now they do.  Tomorrow I'll post the title and author of a weaving text book that explains Ikat dying, if you want it.

        Edited 1/24/2003 10:38:52 PM ET by Tish

        1. rjf | | #17

          I was kind of kidding but it is a funny word.  Weaving in a loop makes all kinds of sense....wouldn't they wind it as we do for warp before dying?  Then leaving it uncut before weaving would keep the pattern in place very nicely.  And the endless loop makes one think about eternity which seems to fit a priestess weaver.    rjf

          1. Tish | | #19

            For Indonesian double Ikat the thread is measured and bound for the dying before the warp is wound.  It's an amazing process.  The thread is about as thick as our quilting thread.  The weavers and their apprentices wind the long continuous threads into little bundles.  They memorize the bundle sizes that make the traditional patterns.  Then they dye them with indigo, untie them, rebundle them, and dye them again with a plant dye that has a red-ochre color.  The tradition is that in the ancient times, blood was used, but there is no evidence of that.  Then they wind the warp onto the loom.  I saw pictures of this several years ago.  The weavers and their apprentices are all women.  This is done in only a few villages in the southern part of the country.  The people are Hindu, and are believed to be among the first humans to settle the islands, making this weaving is one of the oldest traditionally practiced religious expressions in the world.  The government has granted a protected status to the weavers and their villages to try to save the art form.  As it is, knowledge of how to measure and dye many of the traditional patterns has been lost, and becoming a weaver is not as attractive to young women as it used to be.

            When I researched this a few years ago, my weaving teacher brought in some fabric that she had bought.  When the fabric isn't perfect, for instance, if the warp and weft patterns don't quite match up, they cut it and sell it to tourists.  My teacher had also bought an uncut piece, which she apparently had to work hard to talk them into selling.  It is light, like a heavy gauze, in undyed cotton-white, deep indigo, black and red-ochre.  Having read about its manufacture, I felt honored just to touch it.  Mary (instructor) laughed at me, but kindly.

            The double Ikat done in India and Japan is also beautiful and noteworthy, but it is not so steeped in religious overtones.  The weavers of Gujarat have modernized production, even using some synthetic dyes.  I read that they found the traditional dyes to be brighter, but harder to use, so they do some fabrics with one and some with the other.  The Japanese double Ikat is simple geometric patterns and not so elaborate as the others.  The single Ikats of Indonesia and Guatemala are probably most familiar to most of us.  Now, a lot of that is machine made for export and the tourist trade.  My daughter had a Guatemalan boyfriend who promised to bring me some hand made Ikat, but they broke up.  Maybe someday I'll get to Central America and get some for myself.

          2. rjf | | #20

            So double Ikat is dyed twice?  Or used for both warp and weft?  I guess what I'm asking is what is the difference between single and double.  When you say "small bundles", how small do you mean?  I'm certainly gaining a whole new respect for the word!  The library has a book about weaving all over the world that might explain some of it to me.   And I might get an idea for that white chennille!    rjf     

          3. Tish | | #21

            Usually, Ikat is either warp or weft ikat, which means that the pattern is dyed into one of the two, prior to weaving.  In double Ikat, both the warp and weft are dyed, and the patterns must match for the proper effect.  The measured threads are wound into little bundles-kind of like a skein of embroidery thread, and the bundles are tightly wrapped with more thread so that when the thread is dyed, the wrapped portion is not dyed.  Here's a very informative site about the weavers of Gujarat:


            I haven't found anything as good about the Indonesian weavers, but here's a picture of double Ikat from Bali, Indonesia:


            The fabrics called "geringsing" are double Ikat.

            Edited to add this site:


            click on the enlargements, and on numbers 17 and 18 look at the human figures seen kneeling by the lower points of the four-pointed stars.  Those designs are dyed separately into the warp and weft, and look at the clarity!  This is just very amazing.

            Edited 1/25/2003 2:24:48 PM ET by Tish

          4. rjf | | #22

            Beautiful sites!  When I read the description of the methods, it's almost beyond belief.  It makes me wonder how they developed such a technique and in what form they saved the designs for the next person to use.  Thanks for finding them.  I'm saving the addresses.      rjf

  4. Jean | | #4

    That's so cool.  Oh dear,  I never thought to order a plain color for the heel and toe when i ordered my yarn.  Rats!!

    1. rjf | | #5

      Oh, that's too bad.  I don't know why I forgot to mention it.  Are you sure there isn't a little ball of stuff left over somewhere  in your house?  My heel and toe were the left-overs from the only other pair of socks I knit.  But maybe you'll like it with the whole sock striped.     rjf

      1. Jean | | #9

        No other sock yarn in the house. Will have to be happy with the same colors, even though I love the looks of the contrasting heel and toe.  I'll know better if there is a next time. I hope this stuff wears well. I wonder if the heel and toe should be reinforced with anything for greater "wearability".

        1. kai230 | | #11

          Contrasting colors for the toes and heels works beautifully if the socks fit the feet just perfectly. If too large, the back of the heel color slips up above the back of the shoe--looks tacky and makes me want to take them off and wear thongs. (Yeah, I pretty much live in those, even in the rain.)

          Perhaps I'm out of touch, but I always thought that toes and heels were made separately (e.g., out of a different color/type/weave of yarn), in order to make those pieces a tad more durable, due to the wear from rough toenails or heels.

          You could also delineate the toe/heel portions by reinforcing w/crochet thread (that will shrink at the same rate as your yarn) woven here and there.

          1. User avater
            ehBeth | | #12

            some 30 or 35 years ago, my grandmother taught me to knit.  one of the things she told me was that the reason you knit the toes/heels out of other yarn was so when the toes/heels wear out, it is easier to remove those sections and re-knit them with new yarn.  I have never actually reknit the heels on the few socks i've knit, but i do recall (extremely vaguely) something about knitting in a thread that sort of held the balance of the sock together while you were putting the sock bits back on the needle. eminently practical if you're a practical sort of person.

            Edited 1/24/2003 9:04:03 PM ET by ehBeth

          2. rjf | | #16

            If you use a yarn darner and a hunk of yarn, you can slide through the loop on the right of each stitch and then carefully cut the row above, stitch by stitch.  Slide the threaded stitches onto needles and you're ready to go.  It's not as bad as it sounds.  rjf

          3. User avater
            ehBeth | | #18

            rjf - i've done something similar to what you've described when adding pockets to sweaters knit in the round.  The idea behind the knitted in piece of yarn, where the main sock and heel meet, as i recall, is being able to re-knit the area without cutting the yarn.  The socks that my aunts and grandmother re-knit the worn areas on were always the tidiest looking things - in part i'd attribute it to that 'pulled thread'.  I'm sure some older wartime era pattern pages would describe the technique. I'll have to go poke around in the 'knitting zone' - of course there's a possibility i'll never come out again.

        2. rjf | | #14

          I think it's about 25% nylon so I hoped that was enough but I don't know for sure.  Once I tried sticking in elastic thread when I was knitting something and that was disastrous so I avoid reinforcements, I guess.    rjf

  5. lindamaries | | #10

    A-Ha!  I figured out what was wrong with seeing your sock!  I was using my Netscape browser.  That didn't work at opening it up.  I'm using my Microsoft Explorer browser now and no problems at all.  Great foot you have there!!


    1. rjf | | #15

      I'm really glad to hear that.  I did find out how to save it as a jpeg and that probably is better in the long run.  There's a picture of the latest weaving project I will post shortly.                          rjf

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