Yarn Tasting : Four Sock Yarns

jenjoycedesign©ToshSock-ShibuiSock (1)

I have sock yarn ‘on my brain’ and in recent many weeks have been trying different brands in a sort of comparison & contrast project ~~ in a Sock Yarn Tasting !  I even accidentally (well, almost) designed a new thing in the process of fiddling around with sock yarn (more on that later).  Although my Sock Yarn Tasting has been a great source of entertainment for myself, and I actually do feel a sense of earnestness to convey my thoughts on the matter .  At the very least, in the process of comparing I’ve settled on my favorites, and better yet, answered my curiosity as to why.

jenjoycedesign©knitting trail

I have knit On The Trail ,  a whole lot (it’s what I do) ,  also while waiting for pots to simmer & the kettle to boil, while watching tv, while talking on the phone, while reading, and even  sometimes in between sets at gigs, so my knitting is always hanging on the chair back.  So, while my hands have gotten a bit sore from all of this knitting, I am pleased with the small woolly mountain of knitteds which I am producing.  Soon I’ll be off to Vancouver for Jeff’s family reunion of sorts and you can be certain I’ll be packing up my menagerie of socks-in-progress to  take along, and excuse myself for being entrapped by the knitting while in others’ company,  returning hopefully with a pair or two to add to the growing stack of socks I am squirrelling away for the gift-giving holidays.

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I am  just am so filled with a sense of giddy & calm pride, as I have found knitting socks to be my meditation.  Ahem, okay, so here’s my observations so far of the superstars of sock yarn market which I am sampling : Madelinetosh “Tosh Sock” , Malabrigo “Sock”, Shibui “Sock” , and Sweet Georgia “Tough Love Sock”~~~ all knit up with my Penny Candy Socks pattern with size 2.75mm – US 2 circular needles (two of them).

As Shibui Sock & Madelinetosh Tosh Sock seem to me about the same thickness, I knit them together in stripes because they feel nearly identical in thickness,  though the Tosh Sock is a tiny bit more ‘firm’ , they are thicker, and even a bit fluffier.

jenjoycedesign©Thai Ginger Lime Chews

Ginger Lime Chews Penny Candy Socks, details on Ravelry HERE 

I observe that the fabric of Tosh Sock & Shibui Sock produced is more substantial, and would be great for a slightly thicker pair of socks but as this is so,  I might only wear these socks with the roomiest of my shoes. Great for hiking boots, great for Dansko Clogs which tend to fit a little roomy anyway. (Note to self: get another pair of Dansko Clogs !) but not so great for my dressier shoes.  Soft, plush, firm.

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jenjoycedesign©SweetGeaorgia-Tough-Love-sock-yarn

Next in the line-up, Sweet Georgia “Tough Love Sock”.  This yarn is indeed a tough yarn. So much in fact, that I suspect the slight lack  of elastic properties of the yarn effected the gauge, as the same number of stitches on same needles as I knit the others, the Sweet Georgia socks turned out really very large by comparison !  I stopped at one sock, not sure how to proceed, for these would indeed be tough socks and big enough for a man, I just couldn’t think of any men I’d like to give orangey red lace-bordered socks to.  No offense to you men who would love them,  I just wasn’t in the mood to make the second sock, so I will post the photo of the one.

jenjoycedesign©Sweet-Georgia-Tough-Love-Sock

I think I might have to compensate with this yarn’s properties, to knit the next size smaller with them and see how that works. ((also notice that the two colors were so alike, melting into each other a little too much , that seeing the stripes was insanely difficult)).

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Finally, for the kind of socks that one would easily slip into one’s favorite shoes , that is, shoes worn regularly with store-bought socks, the finer fabric of Malabrigo’s fine fingering-weight  “Sock” wins out.  Mostly for it’s soft resilient and lovely elastic feel, but equally for the rich colors in each hand-dyed skein.  I have to say also that I have a real penchant for “oh so fine” knitting these days, and it’s fine-fingering weight that I seriously am in love with.

jenjoycedesign©Malabrigo ImpressionistSky y Aguas

My Penny Candy Socks and Pretty Little Things Gloves  are designed with Malabrigo, and I’m more than happy with the slightly delicate character of the fine fingering yarn with its superwash easy-care and softness of touch. In fact, I feel like hoarding every ‘solid’ color of Peruvian-made Malabrigo yarn, and happily knitting Penny Candy Socks  for everyone I know.

jenjoycedesign©PennyCandySock

Blueberry Gumballs Penny Candy Socks, details on Ravelry HERE

It is a goal of mine to knit for next holiday season, as there’ll be no hitting the shops in a bug-eyed panic to find something meaningful. Because basically, it can’t get much more meaningful than hand-knit socks knit fresh only months previously.

I’ll end this yarn tasting with more Malabrigo yarn on the needles, in murky green and clear blue.  This photo was taken early this morning, as the stripes began to colorplay . . .

jenjoycedesign©MalabrigoSock

Socks in progress,  details on Ravelry HERE

 

Pretty Little Things In Blue

jenjoycedesign©PLT-blue
I’ve been test-knitting a size run of my  Pretty Little Things , and writing up & refining the pattern as I go. Technical writing is a very interesting thing, and really I never thought it would appeal to me. Yet now that I’ve done a few relatively simple patterns and relaxed a little since the last one , and now that it’s already into Autumn, I’m beginning to ‘chill out’ as they say.   Its really not a very big deal if I decided to write my patterns my way.

jenjoycedesign©PLT-blue3

After all, I’m not competing with anybody but myself.   As thoughtfully and as precisely as possible, and in as  standardized words as necessary, I’ll convey the instruction, however, I will allow my own voice to speak through the technical.  I can’t even begin to know if an idea that came to me is completely original or even a little, or not at all.  Degrees of originality don’t factor in, nor can they be measured.

I must be simply be in my own skin, and focus on communicating my idea and not worry and fret how others have done it, or said it, or written it before. My only wish for myself is that I communicate well and  am artful.

jenjoycedesign©PLT-blue2

There is suddenly in this Age of Indie Knit Design, a refreshing lack hard-core rules and so a wonderful freedom abounds. Especially so  with indie design which bleeds over into creative writing.   Oh, yeah, and lately I’ve been enjoying the creative writing style of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee immensely, reading-while-knitting I might add !  Her comedic book “Knitting Rules” has given me so much more confidence within myself to soldier on, in my own style, knowing that its okay to be different. I will learn one fine day at a time, and one design at a time.

Okay folks,

here’s a second pair of “Pretty Little Things” socks !

 It’s almost ready to go, so  you can expect pattern to pop up in the days ahead!

jenjoycedesign©Pretty-Little-Things-blue

( Forgive me the unavoidable clinging dog hair in the photos, if you have noticed even at all.  We, and the yarn, and All Things Knitted,  share hermitage here with a German Shedder Dog, and the hair being all over the house, hiding in every shadow ready to ambush any and all dog-hair-magnets.  We have had to just surrender to it. )

Pretty Little Things

jenjoycedesign©Pretty-Little-Things-Socks

A nice pretty little pair of socks I’ve been working on here and there while knit-walking the mountain.  Pretty Little Things were so much fun to make !  I managed to make a knitted hemmed folded cuff, nearly three inches wide, lined, knitted back into the work, added a darling picot edge, and one tiny wee peerie to make it just pretty enough !

jenjoycedesign©PLT-foot

jenjoycedesign©detail

Did I say pretty?  I might add plain, basic, sturdy, utilitarian, old-fashioned looking, and as sleek as porpoises because there’s no ribbing.  Oh, and they are very, very warm !

jenjoycedesign©Pretty-Little-Things

The ‘legs’ are two layers thick of stockinette stitch, lined, so they actually hug my ankles snugly.

jenjoycedesign©PLT-feet3
My little feet feel so pretty and are very happy indeed to have their first socks knitted custom, just for them !

I used stash yarn of fine fingering 75% Superwash Merino/ 25% nylon sock yarn, with US#0 (2mm) needles, and the fabric is thick & dense, though very soft.  I am sure they will wear very well.  Anyway,  I think they are different, and I’m quite taken with them !

You can bet on a pattern for these popping up here sometime soon , so hang around !