So it’s been a while since we’ve posted on this blog. Christina Marie bought a house and I’ve been plugging away at school (and having a crisis of faith when it comes to my chosen major, that is a story for a different blog on a different day) so spare time has been pretty rare these last few weeks.

I did want to talk about some yarns I’ve knit with recently though. Lately I’ve been on a designing kick, having decided that all those things I knit off the cuff and never write down should probably serve some function and be put to good use. So I’ve been knitting up several designs and working out the patterns. Mostly these have been quick knits perfect for the upcoming holiday season as gifts or just ways to keep yourself warm, but I also worked up two sock patterns as well both knit of course from some of my stash yarn that had been bought specifically to review on this blog.

First up; I knit up my Polaris Sock out of Southwest Trading Company Jezebel.


Yarn: South West Trading Company Jezabel

Fiber Content: 100% Merino (not superwash)

Thoughts:  This yarn is absolutely perfect for lace, cables and textured stitch patterns on socks. The colors are brilliant and stunning and the ‘double dip’ effect they use when dying gives the yarn a very subtle variegation. It’s a lot more fun (in my opinion) to knit with a yarn that has some shading and difference to it, matte flat colors are boring to me. This yarn accomplishes both the things I was looking for in a yarn for this project: consistent enough not to take away from the lace pattern  but interesting enough that I wanted to look at it while I was knitting the socks. The yarn itself is very soft and squishy and would lend itself very nicely to next to skin projects like shawls, scarves and hats as well as socks. I’m also considering knitting a light weight summer sweater in this yarn as well. The price is right too! This yarn retails at my LYS for $12.50 a hank and evidently SWTC sells it themselves for $12.60 + shipping (so I recommend supporting your LYS by buying this from them, since it’s cheaper AND you don’t have to pay shipping.)

Overall impression: Lovely yarn, definitely my go-to sock yarn for any project requiring a solid/semi-solid yarn. Will buy again and knit with gladly. I highly recommend it.

Next up: I knit up my Chopstick Sock sample from Indie Dyer Super Sock Select (available through Cherry Tree Hill)

Yarn: Indie Dyer Super Sock Select

Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino

Thoughts: I really loved this colorway in the hank. I had intended to use this yarn with the Limerick Shawl (which I am instead knitting in Wollmeise) but after casting on and seeing how the color repeats worked up I decided it was better suited to a sock. I cast on for a plain sock but was pretty dismayed with the pooling/flashing effect, so I devised this sock pattern to play with the color way a bit to move things around so the colors worked together better. I wasn’t terribly stoked on how much gold was in this colorway but I suppose that’s my own fault for picking a colorway without really inspecting it. The yarn itself is nice; high twist and great stitch definition. It reacted very well to being ripped out and reknit several times with no fraying, splitting or tangling. All things I love in a sock yarn. I bought this hank for $24 at  Fanciwerks Yarn Shoppe (Apple Valley, CA – review of this shop coming soon.)  which is a great price for 420 yards of hand painted merino, but you can buy it straight from Cherry Tree Hill Yarn for $22.00 plus shipping (again, another big wholesaler selling retail on their site, evidently this is more common than I thought. I still recommend buying from your LYS and supporting local yarn shops.)

Overall Impressions: I like it. I don’t love it. I like it and I will probably buy it again if I find a color way that really speaks to me. The yarn base itself is lovely to work with and the price is fair for hand painted sock yarn. I recommend this for stockinette socks of for slip stitch patterns like the one above. Definitely a good durable sock yarn.

Upcoming reviews will include Fanciwerks Yarn Shoppe (which is my LYS away from LYS, I visit this shop whenever I go visit my grandmother.), the Limerick Shawl pattern that Christina Marie actually finished and I am still working up, several other shawl patterns and possibly even some more yarn reviews (Shibui, the Elusive Bugga!, GothSocks & Yarn Love among others.)

 

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I have been MIA, I know this. The thing is I have been hopping from project to project without finishing anything. Dani has been extremely prolific and I have project ADD. It’s like we have switched places. Anyway, I have managed to finish a couple of projects, one is the Zoe shawl by Emily Kausalik.

Finished Zoe

Finished Zoe

Zoe Close Up

Zoe Close Up

Zoe Modeled by My Sister, Diana

Zoe Modeled by My Sister, Diana

Pattern: Zoe by Emily Kausalik
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock
Needle: Size 6 Knit Picks interchangeable
Mods: Left off ruffle (knots in yarn=frustration and less yarn to work with)

Zoe is a very simple shawl for any level of knitter and is available for free on Ravelry. It consists of stockinette and garter stitch blocks with an optional ruffle at the edge. The pattern was crystal clear with lots of pictures and nicely formatted. It even has instructions on how to soak it without stretching out the ruffle. I am a person who loves and needs very clear and concise instructions. Guess who isn’t a fan of ‘recipe’ patterns? This gal.

Overall, it was an awesome tv watching (I have been obsessively watching House on DVD) and patiently waiting anywhere project. It looks really cool in self striping yarn and was the best project I could have made with the colorway. It shows off my favorite colors without lace distracting from it. I totally recommend it as a quick and easy Holiday gift (that time is rapidly approaching, knitters and crocheters).

Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn. By now everyone knows the deal: awesome colors, nice striping, twigs and berries in the yarn, roughness and knots. When I started working with this yarn, I messaged Dani and told her to slap the next Noro I buy out of my hand because of the knots. I am officially taking that back. I have yet to see any yarn brand do what Noro does best, the striping and colors. That alone outweighs the bad in this case. There are other yarn brands out there trying to replicate it and in my opinion fails. The retail price of $20-$23 I believe is reasonable for the 328 yards of wool, silk, nylon and mohair.

While Silk Garden sock yarn is still not the softest yarn against the skin, it keeps the neck warm for sure and does soften up after washing. If you are making a gift out of this yarn, I would make sure that the person doesn’t think wool is itchy. If they have the slightest bit of hesitation, this yarn is probably not for them. If you are attracted to sock yarn because of color, like I am, Noro is for you. Just be patient because when you get to the end, it will be worth it.

Emily Kausalik can be found on her website (I totally recommend too. Very interesting read and she’s an Alkaline Trio fan too, Dani)

Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn can be found at your local yarn store or many online retailers.


Let’s Rant

20Oct09

Can I just rant a moment? It’s Diatribe Tuesday over on Christina and I’s other blog, Indie As and I just finished writing a long rant about false advertising and I have a little something to rant about over here too.

I am tired of having to stalk yarn shop updates to get these elusive sock yarns. You know the ones: Wollmeise, Bugga! from Sanguine Gryphon, Sundara and even several smaller ones like GothSocks from Rainy Days and Wolly Dogs.

I have finally gotten my grubby hands on some Wollmeise and Sundara, the Wollmeise is nice and interesting. It’s a

Sundara Yarn

Sundara Yarn

different base than I usually see and the colors are deep and intense. The Sundara, while a very nice yarn, is nothing spectacular. Why is it so expensive and hard to get a hold of? They take months to ship if you order it from them and no where else really stocks it. I’ve yet to see any Bugga! in person so I can’t speak to it’s quality, though I have had the pleasure of knitting with other Sanguine Gryphon yarn from way before she came up with the blockbuster Bugga! yarn.

I was recently able to buy a hank of the GothSocks from someone on Ravelry and I must say of all the weirdly popular sock yarns that are super hard to get your hands on; this is the first one to genuinely impress me. These yarns mix black stripes with other colors to make a very

GothSocks

GothSocks

visually stunning sock yarn. The colorway I bought is ‘Caged Cardinal’ from her Tim Burton sock club. It’s shades of red/orange with a delicious true black. I love this colorway but I desperately want to get my hands on her ‘Cake or Death’ colorway so I’m using the Caged Cardinal as bait for potential trades.

I’m trying to figure out what makes these yarns so suddenly popular to the point that you simply cannot get them without setting your alarm clock for an ungodly hour and camping at your computer with your cup of coffee and credit card number memorized. Is it the sense of exclusivity because they’re hard to get a hold of? Is there some pheromone worked into the fiber that I’m some how immune to? I just don’t understand what makes these yarns sell out in minutes and causes people to hoard them in their stashes. (Which drives me nuts.) What am I missing here folks? I love sock yarn, I go crazy for sock yarn, so I get the desire to own every possible flavor of yarn available. Despite that I’ve never felt the need to wake up at 4 a.m. and stalk a yarn update or obsessively collect every possible colorway from a dyer only to put them in my Ravelry stash and neither knit them or trade them for something else.

Explain this to me! I don’t get it.


New Poll!

10Oct09

On Friday Christina Marie and I took a drive up to St. George, Utah for the afternoon. We wanted to get out of town for a few hours and we really enjoy going on drives together because we listen to This American Life and chat about things like God, politics, feminist theory and knitting. In that order usually. Since we don’t ever go anywhere without checking out the local yarn shops we found Heindselman’s Too in St. George immediately.

The shop is located in the historic part of town, surrounded by boutique style shops and restaurants and beautiful old houses. It’s right down the street from a huge and absolutely gorgeous Mormon Temple (or maybe just a big stakehouse? I’m not terribly familiar with the faith so I’m not sure if it was a Temple or just a stakehouse) and surrounded by tree lined streets. The shop is fairly big because it also houses embroidery and needlepoint supplies. The first room you enter is basically the yarn shop portion and then another separate room houses the needlepoint supplies, notions and sock yarns. We obviously headed straight for the sock yarns.

Here’s the review bit:

Ease to locate/park?: MapQuest directions were right on and the shop is clearly labeled.  There was only parallel parking out front but there seemed to be other parking lots nearby. We found a spot right out front.

Shop organization/size/selection: The shop was organized by types of yarn, but my major complaint here was their selection. There was a lot of yarn in the shop but at least half of it (if not more) was Plymouth yarns. I have no problem with Plymouth yarns but it’s frustrating to find a shop who obviously favors one particular brand to the exclusion of others. Their sock yarn selection was small but they had several smaller brands that I’d never heard of or seen in person. Christina bought some Plymouth Happy Feet and I bought Punta Yarns MeriSock. They had a large selection of Dream in Color Smooshy with lots of different color ways but their other brands were pretty scarce on variety of colorways. The size of the shop was nice and I like that they separated their needlepoint stuff from the yarn stuff.

Customer Service/Prices: Here’s where I really wasn’t super stoked on this shop; the woman running the place never once asked us if we needed help or even greeted us when we came in. She was helping a student some of the time but still found time to follow us from room to room in the shop making herself busy with something conveniently close to where ever we were standing. We had to ask to be rung up when we were ready to leave. She did offer to wind our yarns for us and at one point brought out a different colorway of a yarn that Christina was looking at from the back room for Christina to see it. When we left we didn’t get so much as a ‘goodbye!’ or ‘have a nice day’. I’m not sure if she was simply preoccupied or if she thought that we were going to steal from her. The prices were fair and consistent with pricing I’ve seen in most yarn shops, there was quite a bit of stuff on sale or slightly below average retail prices. Yarn was well kept and clean.

Overall it was a nice trip and a decent shop; though certainly not some where I’ll be frequenting or visiting again. I do think that if I lived in St. George and this was my LYS I might have to supplement my stash with online acquisitions, but I suspect that if I was a regular there I would get better service.

We have lots of reviews coming up soon: Opal Sock yarn, knitting software review, shawls knit with sock yarns, first impressions on a ton of different yarns and Soak vs. Eucalan (and other wool washes) and techniques for overdying ugly yarns. Keep checking back!


So, Miss Violet of Lime ‘n Violet fame is going through a really crappy time right now. Her ‘husband’ (in quotes because he’s a bit of a bastard and I’m using the term loosely) was caught cheating. So now Miss Violet is desperately trying to get the hell out of the marriage, the house and the state. To do so though, she needs cash for moving/legal costs. So she’s raffling off some of her Wollmeise sock yarn! For every $5 you donate you get an entry to win 2 hanks of Wollmeise sock yarn; colorways True Love (ironic, no?) and Orient. Go here to donate.

There is also a growing list of knitters, designers and other crafty types who are offering to donate a portion of their sales to her as well, (update!) click here for the list!

If you don’t have the scratch to buy/donate; thoughts of good vibes for getting out and/or voodoo rites that her wretched husbands bits fall off are also welcome. Which ever one suits you more. 🙂


WIP Round Up

18Sep09

Things have been hectic so we haven’t had a chance to post this week. Christina has a post she’s working on with a First Impressions for the Wollmeise which she’s knitting with right now but in the meantime I thought we’d hold a little ‘accountability’ meeting today and list our respective WIP’s. Be sure to join in and leave a comment with what you’re working on as well! (Not all of these are sock projects, obviously, so feel free to share all your WIPs too!)

Dani’s WIPs:

  • Another small shawl of undetermined pattern. Knitting it with my Collinette Jitterbug.
  • Damson in Unique Sheep Luxe (Peacock Gradiance Colorway)
  • A baby cocoon for my unborn niece EM in Cascade Tuscany Grande (a thick n thin bulky wool)
  • A modified Every Way Wrap in Schulana Pac0lana. I’ve switched out the cable so it’s not reversible, but I think it’ll still look nice. This is a shop sample for Knit Las Vegas.
  • A Mangyle Vest for my sister for Christmas (I’m calling it the Katgyle) out of Cascade 220 wool.
  • A simple lace scarf of my boss’s design from Zitron Fundus (also a shop sample for Knit Las Vegas)

Christina’s WIPs:

So, as you can see Christina knits a lot of socks. Mostly those designed by Cookie A. I knit a lot of…uh, random stuff.

I’m also planning on casting on for the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret out of some Malabrigo Worsted. (mmmm.) Don’t judge me, I’m sick and will cast on randomly as I please. 🙂

What are you working on? (Or avoiding working on?)


hat heel baby sock 1

The Hat Heel sock from the new Knitty is adorable. I did find it a bit fiddley to begin with but      after the stitches were picked up for the foot and I got a few rows in it was a breeze. Same for the cuff. The only thing that was terribly awkward was the grafting those 2 little sts together at the top of the gusset and trying to deal with all the strings hanging out. After that however it was a breeze. I’m very much looking forward to finding my most obnoxious striped/patterned sock yarn and casting on for an adult sock with this pattern.

bullseye heel

My favorite part of this pattern? The little bulls eye heel.

How cute is that? And how fabulous will that look in a really stripey yarn? I can’t wait. Seriously you should cast on for this pattern, like, now. RIGHT NOW.

That’s all for tonight. One little red sock.


Commenter Jeri brought up a very good question this morning; she asked for my definition of ‘smooshy’ because she has knit with Dream in Color Smooshy several times and found it to be very smooshy. I’m going to define my idea of smooshy but I also want to note that my idea of smooshy, or any other descriptor might be different than other peoples. I hope that in reading the reviews on this blog everyone keeps in mind that it’s all personal opinion and by no means empirical data or absolute fact. While I will try to refrain from ever making a statement like ‘this yarn sucks!’, you may see comments like ‘I really don’t like this yarn.’

My definition of ‘smooshy’: when a yarn is self described as ‘smooshy’ I expect a few things; I look for a general plushness in the yarn, this means the amount of squishiness the yarn has both hanked and once it’s knit up. Here’s the trade off though: usually those yarns that I consider ‘smooshy’ don’t have a tight twist. A light airy or lofty yarn to me is usually the ‘smooshiest’.

Let me clarify again; the Dream in Color Smooshy is not a bad yarn at all, I did not give it a negative review. I like the yarn a lot, I just didn’t find it to be especially smooshy. It is very soft, and has wonderful stitch definition and a nice tight twist which means it’s not splitty or hard to knit with at all. It also implies that it will be a good durable sock yarn that will wear well.

I honestly can’t think of a sock yarn that I’ve knit with that I would consider ‘smooshy’. I do know that I have seen other 100% Merino sock yarns that appear to be much smooshier in the hank, but I haven’t knit them so I’m not sure how that would affect the yarn.

Moving on! As I’m sure a lot of you are aware of the new Knitty.com came out today. I love Knitty and always enjoy going through their issues and finding new and interesting designs and designers. There is a new sock pattern in this current issue that has caught lots of people’s eye I’ve noticed. It’s the Hat Heel Sock and features a new construction style of knitting from the heel out.

I’ve already cast on for it. What can I say, I’m a sucker for new tricks. I’m just doing the baby sock version because I just wanted to get a feel for the overall construction but I can already tell that I’m going to have to knit an adult sock to really get a feel for it because the baby sock version is super fiddley. It’s interesting for sure but really annoying on tiny needles with the grafting of 2 sts together to join it in the round and then picking up the stitches around, etc. I think it’ll be easier to do that part if I’m working with more than a half inch worth of knitting. It’s a very novel concept though.

Here’s a picture of just the heel and gussets before I picked up to knit the foot.

Hat Heel Sock - in Wollmeise

Hat Heel Sock - in Wollmeise

The description of the pattern on Knitty.com does an excellent job explaining it: it is exactly like a little tiny earflaps hat for your heel!

Once this baby sock is done (hopefully later this evening) I’ll wash it and block it and put up pictures of the finished sock. I will say though; first impressions on the Wollmeise I’m knitting it with are favorable. Favorable but not overwhelmed with awesomeness. I think the greatest allure of the Wollmeise is the color intensity and it’s scarcity. I’ve knit with plenty of other yarns that are just as good if not better than this particular hank of Wollmeise. As a matter of fact The Unique Sheep Verve I knit my Ishbel out of was equally as soft and had a similar hand to it. The HazelKnits hank that Christina has has the same level of color intensity as most of the Wollmeise hanks that I’ve seen. I will say that I do love the amount of yardage you get in a Wollmeise hank and that it is a very beautiful, functional, soft and gorgeous yarn. I haven’t knit enough with it to really form a full opinion though, so those are just initial thoughts on it.

Also, I wanted to add that Christina and I recently placed an order for yarn from online retailer Sonny & Shear. Since we are an ‘all things sock yarn’ type of blog, I wanted to be sure to report on our feelings about yarn suppliers as well as the yarns themselves.

Sonny & Shear Shop Review:

Website: The website is clean and well organized and their little logo is freaking adorable. You can shop by brand or weight which I really like. They offer little bios on the dyers/companies they stock and clearly labeled gauge information. They have great buyer incentive programs as well, namely the Bust Your Stash program that allows you to collect yarn labels and trade them in for a discount from the site. The great thing? You can send in any yarn label! It doesn’t have to be purchased from their site! Ridiculous! They also have a frequent shopper type program and a rewards program for people who link to them on their blog. (So uh, click on the links here would you please.)  I love sites that offer incentive programs because it makes me feel good about dropping so much cash.

Selection: Their selection isn’t huge, but it is diverse and full of wonderful dyers. They offer multiple colorways in most of the yarns and have yarns in a wide variety of weights, fiber content, etc. They also carry needles/hooks, patterns and spinning fiber as well. Definitely a wonderful ‘one stop shop’ for all things fibery.

Shipping: We got free USPS priority shipping for spending more than $75 AND it came super quick. We placed our order at about 10 p.m. on the Thursday before the Labor Day weekend and recieved our yarn the Tuesday after Labor Day. Which means they had to have put it in  the mail the following morning. We recieved an email confirming our order and that it had shipped. The yarns were packaged nicely and came with a hand written thank you card, there were even ribbons on the bags with the yarn in them! Beautiful.

Our Order: Our yarns were clean, didn’t smell like anything other than yarn and were exactly as described and photographed on the website. Over all our experiance was absolutely wonderful, I would strongly recommend this shop as a great online retailer and we will definitely be ordering from them again!

What We Bought: We bought a hank of Madeline Tosh ToshSock, 3 hanks of ShibiuKnits sock yarn and a hank of Yarn Love sock yarn. Pictures soon!

Have an experiance you’d like to share about any of these yarns or Sonny & Shear? Was this review helpful? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!


Oh hi! I have been busy knitting, enjoying Dani’s posts and loving the feedback from everyone. Right now I am at a breaking point in the 4 pairs of socks on the needles, so I thought I would post about these yarns that I am dying to cast on with.

I got this hank of Hazel Knits “High OcTANG” a few months ago. I love the varegated orange and have been keeping it for a special project or next month’s Cookie A’s in the KAL on Ravelry or maybe “Firestarter” by Yarnissima or (the list could go on really). Maybe we could have a poll! By the feel of the yarn, it seems to be a good sturdy sock yarn that can handle a bit of abuse. It also has a bit of stretch which is perfect for my size 11 wide feet (thanks family genes!). 

Hazel Knits High Octang

Now for the Wollmeise that seems nearly impossible to get and must be made out of unicorn hair, hopes, dreams, smiles, rainbows and a lucky penny from 1923. I wound my Orient (pictured below in its former mint condition). The colors truly are fabulous and I want to throw every other project away so I can cast on with it. It was worth stalking ebay, the Wollmeise ISO boards and the for sale/trade pages on Ravelry.

I saw another pair of Kai-Meis done in this colorway and I loved them. My only concern about the yarn is the stretch to it. It seems to have a tight twist to the yarn and I am concerned about using my normal size 2s to knit top down. As I cast on, I will probably have an ongoing post about knitting with the beloved Wollmeise.

wollmeise_orient_medium