Saturday, September 25, 2010

Balbriggan

True to form, I've not been able to knit on two projects at the same time.  I was so curious to see how the new yarn would look when knit into the new pattern I'd found.   I'm calling them Wine Country because that's where I was when I received the yarn gift.  And the grape-y colors remind me of bergundy and merlot.  And the straight lines with lace in-between are like the long rows of vines growing in the vineyards you see everywhere in the Okanagan.  The steely gray of the rocks and mountains around the valleys; the brown is the fertile soil that grows the grapes.  Oh, this was a fun summer picture to paint. 


I think the yarn is just a bit busy for the pattern but I like it anyway.  And I was eager to get to the heel.  It's called a Balbriggan heel and was the interest point for making these socks - as well as the lovely lace pattern, of course.  I like trying new heel techniques.  You never know when one will stick with you.  I adopted the short-row heel as my default technique several years ago.  But, there's a lot of ways to knit the heel of a sock.

As I was knitting this, I kept thinking about the name and wondering where in Ireland is Balbriggan.  It just had to be somewhere in Ireland.  And it is!  In fact, it's not too far from where we were when we explored the seacoast north of Dublin.  Another few minutes on the train and we'd have been there.  Instead, we got off here, in Skerries.



I quickly researched the history of the heel and discovered that Balbriggan was once a center for manufacturing hosiery.  The long stockings pictured did, indeed, have the same  heel that I've just knit.  That was a fun connection to make.  As knitters, we connect with history every day.  But I felt an even deeper link having been so close to the town.  Maybe my Irish friends can add to my research?

5 comments:

Rudee said...

The heel is absolutely the best part of a sock. It marks the halfway point and no matter what technique is used, it always looks like genius touched it, and indeed, it did. Our knitting ancestors were brilliant. Anything new is just a variation on a theme.

I'm loving your socks!

fabricfan said...

Interesting about the heel origins. I love all the memories wrapped up in the socks we knit. Great colour and pattern.

Catherine said...

Stephanie what a funny thing to call a heel after a place - I know Balbriggan - a seaside town outside Dublin on the north coast. Hubby's got a meeting there in october. There are a lot of nice coastal towns in north County Dublin. This heel looks great. Now I've linked with you on Ravelry I might find it!
All the best, Catherine.

Ginny said...

As usual, your colors are wonderful!! If you ask me, this pattern and yarn is much too pretty for socks!!! You need to knit something with it that can be more visible!!

Mimi said...

I missed this one in the chaos of the last few weeks, but I'm really glad I found it now. My best friend from schooldays is from Balbriggan! I spent many happy Weekends there in the 70's! Never saw stockings though! I'll ask her about it next time I see her

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