Thursday, May 9, 2013

Telling Tog and Thel - Apart, Knit, And Together


I would like to bring to the sock knitters’ attention a remarkable resource and creative mind I have admired for years. Katherine Misegades and her elegant, small but densely packed booklet The Tongue River Farm Sock Collection is a gem. The designs are timeless, unquestionably unisex (there is an AWWWWwww factor of less than 2.3 on a scale of 10).

As proof of what I say, Meg Swanson to her credit at Schoolhouse Press, labors to preserve our knitting traditions, resources and good ideas with passion and an eye to the future. This booklet, IMHO, is a knitting treasure from the redoubtable Schoolhouse Press catalogue.

Ms. Misegades uses an achingly accurate and detailed graphic designer’s eye to creat charts I wish others were held in comparison. I have learned how to visualize socks in 3D from her charts. However, written techniques with graphic markers are mere centimeters from the chart, giving you a one page tutorial for each new idea. Brilliant!
In addition, her laborious and artful graphs are designed to use…(gasp!) Icelandic Sheep’s wool in their natural, undyed colors, sport weight.
When spun together, the thel, or undercoat, is as soft as cashmere. The tog, or guard hairs in the fleece, are as tough as nylon. Tog can be used as warp thread on a loom…withstanding unbelievable stress, friction and wear. 
Combined together, these fibres makes socks that can oulast the wearer in life. Several collections in Reykjavyk have garments that have been used by a family for generations…not held in a drawer taken out on solar eclipses…worn, repaired and worn again. Great stuff.
Icelandic sheep are gaining popularity in the US as an endangered, forgotten, special breed just for sock yarn addicts such as us!
I highly recommend this booklet…with one priviso…if small gauge needles and two-handed stranded knitting gives you apoplectic symptoms, go no further. For those not so burdened…the patterns are sublime.