Words are Not Dirty
Published On: March 8, 2011

So the latest socks are to be called Louche.  If we look up Louche we find:

adjective: shady, disreputable, of questionable moral character

Now this has led to some controversy.  I got a few ravelry messages explaining that it was terribly inappropriate for me to use such a ‘bad’ word for a sock title.  Now I don’t actually think it’s a bad word.  I, in fact, think it’s kind of a cool word (hence my using it).  I’m not really convinced there are bad words.  There are words that are a poor fit for a given situation, but that doesn’t make the words themselves bad.  More to the point, there are misunderstood words.  I think that’s at the heart of the objections in this particular case.

So let’s go back to the dictionary.  Depending on which dictionary we use, and how far we look, we might also find that louche has come to us from the Latin word luscus meaning blind in one eye and the Old French losche meaning squint eyed and the French loucher meaning to squint.  Turns out, it has also sometimes meant cloudy or opaque  (think cataracts and it all makes sense).  It’s that connection with clouding over that leads us to the other definition found in some dictionaries:

verb: to become cloudy when mixed with water, due to the presence of anethole

This is where I was going with the name.  When you mix water with absinthe, it becomes cloudy (it louches).  The process is actually quite lovely.  I had planned to take some pictures to show you, but ten in the morning seems a bit early for a drink.  There are some videos here if you’d like to see what it looks like.

So that’s where the name comes from.  The lovely pastel green/blue color of the yarn and the swirly stitch pattern made me think of the drink. I promise I’m not hoping to subvert anyone’s morality through knitting.

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