Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thirty: Turkish Socks

Here's something I unearthed during decluttering recently:I picked this up during our matrimonial stay on Crete. There was a basket of them in the corner of a gift shop, they were inexpensive, and I had no idea what I was looking at until many years later when I picked up a copy of Anna Zilboorg's Turkish socks book (now titled Simply Socks in reprint). I really wish I'd picked up more at the time, because they have all the classic design and pattern features of the traditional Turkish sock.

The sole of the foot and the heel, each with their own unique and typical patterning:I remain skeptical of the merits of the pointy heel, and these wound up being too small for me to properly try on, but Zilboorg insists they are quite comfy once you get used to them. Better for lounging than stuffing in shoes, though. Unlike FairIsle, Turkish colorwork does not confine itself to 2 colors per row, which would make it considerably more challenging to emulate.
I come back to Zilboorg's book again and again to jolt my design senses out of their Western rut. I generally convert everything to 2 color work, and rarely use screamingly bright hues, but the book is a wealth of design inspiration nevertheless.
This is a winter hat I designed for my 3 year old son last year, using a variety of traditional Turkish sock patterns. Sadly, he has never worn it, because he is not a "hat person." It can be minus 30 degrees and a howling blizzard and he refuses to so much as pull up his hood. I'm still holding out hope he grows out of that before he grows out of the hat.