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Archive for February 4th, 2008

Turkish Sock Photos, Aaaahhh….

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Some of you know that I teach Turkish-Inspired sock design. I have 4 pairs of socks which were purchased for me in Turkey by a Turkish family I befriended a number of years ago (and sadly have lost track of). Here is one of the socks:

I had written here about Turkish socks before I found this family, and when I got excited about his homeland (exclaiming how they have perhaps the most beautiful socks anywhere), he Googled about Turkish socks right there in front of me and found my writings.

At that point he offered to buy me some socks when he returned home for a vacation. I will ever be grateful, as it may be impossible for someone like me to get a pair without knowing the language. He had to ask around a lot to find the 4 pair.

Two of the pair they brought me I believe are museum-quality, and how this ordinary American got to have them I’ll never fully comprehend. I do not take them for granted.

I wrote an article plus three patterns for Dawn Brocco’s Heels & Toes Gazette (over 3 issues), based on some features I found in the socks. And more recently I’ve been teaching workshops based on the simplest of those three patterns (in yarn shops and also at Michigan Fiberfest and last April the Dallas-Ft. Worth Fiberfest). Photo of mini-socks above from Dallas students.

(Photo here is the third of three designs for Dawn. Pattern is still available in back issue #16 through her website.)

I wrote a long article here detailing the socks when I got them. I continue to mention Turkish socks on my blog occasionally, especially showing off the work of my students when I teach the workshop.

So now that we have Ravelry, I found a discussion group about Turkish knitting. I made friends with a Turkish knitting designer. We know very little language in common but we write anyway and it is a mutual-admiration society of sorts, just the two of us. Here is one of her blog posts, showing an amazing slipper she designed.

Then today, I got an email out of the blue. It was from a professor in Turkey, who teaches handicrafts and traditional arts at a University. The professor sent a few photographs and this link, to a website showing some exceptional, exciting socks.


I never would have found this by searching Google, as there is no English text on the page. I am overwhelmed, dumfounded, humbled and delighted.

The Internet is giving me chances to make friends with people I’ll maybe never meet. Who do not speak my language, but who speak the same visual language… color in wool. (Actually, there are amazing gloves on this page along with the socks.)

And I must say that perhaps the most wonderful thing of all, is knowing that these folks clearly understand my love and respect for their history and this artform.There is always a chance that someone would be unhappy for an outsider to be working in their own tradition. In this case it is clearly not true, well, at least for the three Turkish connections I’ve had thus far. Here is another one of the pairs I own:

Now I’m going to go back to that Turkish museum page and drink in every single photo, one at a time, until I feel I’ve soaked it all in. Sigh…

(Yes, I would love to teach your group. Yes, I travel.)