Today we’re hosting a tour stop for Janel Laidman’s amazing new book, The Enchanted Sole. I had a chance to ask her some questions about the socks in the book and the book itself, which is available here from Rustling Leaf Press, along with its predecessor The Eclectic Sole, another of my favorite books.
— Tell me about the inspiration behind some of the socks — the Firebird ones in particular. They’re astonishing!
[Janel Laidman ] Thanks! Each sock was inspired by a myth or legend or concept from those types of stories. The firebird sock was based on the Russian tale of the firebird which is a magical bird that flies over the land spreading joy. Just one feather from the firebird is enough to light up a room. I wanted those socks to have â€œwowâ€ factor and definitely light up a room. I really enjoy colorwork and it has so much potential for design. I wanted people to see that colorwork can be different from fairisle or Norwegian snowflake patterns, not that I donâ€™t love those too!
— Who’s your foot model? (Or models) I notice the person modeling Mermaid seems awfully ballerina-ish!
[Janel Laidman ] I actually have two foot models in the book. Bridget Landry and Inna Pashkov. They both have strong, graceful feet and legs. Bridget actually does have a background in ballet, however Innaâ€™s feet are seen in the Mermaid photo. Originally we shot that picture with Bridget and she came up with the pose, but there were technical problems and we had to re-shoot it on a different day so Inna re-created Bridgetâ€™s inspiration. In case you think modeling socks is a cushy job, think again! My models had to get in the most unnatural positions to make each photo look both interesting and natural. Itâ€™s a good thing you canâ€™t see the grimaces on their faces as I encouragingly urge them â€œjust one more second! â€“ hold it just one more secondâ€. My hatâ€™s off to both of these lovely women for helping my socks look so good!
— How long does it take you to complete a design from start to finish? How about an entire book?
[Janel Laidman ] It depends on how inspired I am feeling at the moment. This book was conceived and all designs done in about 2 months. I was feeling particularly inspired, and I worked on it about 18+ hours a day for those 2 months, with no outside interruptions. I donâ€™t know if I would try that again, but I do tend to design in bursts of creativity.
— Do you ever see a skein of sock yarn and just know, immediately, what that yarn ‘wants’ to be?
[Janel Laidman ] Yes! Several socks in this book were inspired by the yarn. In particular the Tintagel sock which is a gorgeous yarn from The Woolen Rabbit (Harmony Sock) just told me it wanted to be something regal and Arthurian. Likewise, the yarn for the Atlantis sock, which is a Madeline Tosh color, spoke to me of mystic watery places and the concept for Atlantis bubbled to the surface, and the gorgeous red of the Dye Dreams Luster Sox yarn used in Licorne absolutely had to be something having to do with the â€œLady and Unicornâ€ tapestries.
The Pixie socks are done in two different color schemes of Pagewood Farm Chugiak. I couldnâ€™t decide which one to use because one of them said â€œgarden pixieâ€ to me and the other â€œwoodland pixieâ€ So I ended up doing both.
Sometimes the character of a yarn will tell me what style of sock it wants to be. I really like to use painted yarns in the sideways construction socks because I donâ€™t think it fights as much with the stitch pattern to have colors running vertically and not pooling or striping like they usually do when you knit in the conventional circular manner. And the twist of the yarn is important as well. I usually like to marry tight twist yarns with textural stitches like cables and woollier yarns with colorwork.
— What are your future publishing plans?
[Janel Laidman ] I definitely have a few more books up my sleeve. Iâ€™m working on a collection of mittens and gloves which will probably end up as a book, and I am interested in pursuing some lace designs, more textural designs and eventually some sweaters.
— What is on your needles right now?
[Janel Laidman ] Which needles? I have quite a few WIPâ€™s, mostly lace and mittens, although I am longing to start a nice big project like a sweater. Iâ€™m thinking a colorwork cardigan might be just the ticketâ€¦
Thanks, Janel, for stopping by — you can find more blog tour entries linked from this post at her site.