Kniftybits's Blog

All knitting, all the time.

Simply Sublime, Yarn that is July 7, 2011

Last year for my birthday I received this amazing yarn Sublime bamboo & pearls dk.

The luster and softness of this yarn is like heaven in fiber form.

I immediately started a pattern that was waiting in the wings for the perfect yarn. I adapted the pattern for circular knitting and didn’t really worry about whether I matched their gauge (I’m a rebel that way). This meant some extra fiddling when I reached the cable section at the top, which also meant since I was headed into cold weather at the time, that I put the project down for many months.

This yarn also gives lovely stitch definition.

Now that warm weather is (FINALLY!!!!!) on its way the project is out of hibernation. I’m optimistic that I might finish by the end of the month so I can wear it to see my friends in Colorado.

So, I thought I would share a bit about the yarn.

1) It is heavenly. I have the kimono color and I just love it.

2) The silky sheen just makes me want to rub it against my face for hours on end. This makes it difficult to knit.

3) It is easy to accidentally pierce the yarn, generally it’s just a few strands I missed.

4) The drape of the finished fabric is divine.

5) It slides over the needles like a dream.

6) I haven’t encountered any knots yet and I’m about five balls down now.

7) I definitely recommend this yarn! (As if you hadn’t gathered that yet.)

Tech details: 50g balls, 95 m/104 yds, 22 sts x 28 rows for 4″, 70% bamboo sourced viscose, 30% pearls sourced viscose, 4mm needles, machine washable, dry flat

 

 

Moony for Mango Moon July 3, 2011

So silky and mangoey.

I am working on a simple openwork tank top for my Mom in Mango Moon Elements Recycled Silk. I love the vibrancy of this yarn! And it is ethical. Beauty and ethics make a stunning combination.

This yarn is handspun in Nepal by the Nepali Women’s Empowerment Group providing shelter, education and health care for women and their families. When we first met, the yarn reminded me of the recycled sari silk yarn, which can often feel unpleasant.

Me, “Hello, I believe we’ve met. You’re recycled sari yarn.”

Elements, “I may be, but have you touched me?”

Me, “Oh, I shouldn’t.”

Elements, “Just one little touch.”

Me, “Oh, you’re not like the others.”

Elements, “And how many skeins of me do you want?”

Working on the top has acquainted me with this yarn and there are a few things I want to pass along.

1) The thickness varies from very slubby to thread thin. I am hoping it is strong and I don’t end up with the incredible disintegrating tank top – “Watch it fall apart before your very eyes.”

2) Those little silk strands want to reach out and grab each other. Two strands hanging next to each other mate before you can say boo leaving you to try to figure out where one strand ends and another begins. Too bad they don’t produce little silk yarn babies, then it would all be worth it.

3) The yarn is softer than I expected. I anticipated sore hands and that hasn’t happened at all, the little bits of straw spun into the yarn can be scratchy, though.

4) Each colorway has a predominant color, in my case Autumn Forest has strong green and gold coloring. However, one skein will have more green and the next more gold even though they’re from the same dye lot.  Fortuitously, the yarn incorporates so many colors that I can’t really tell the color change in the top so far, let’s hope it stays that way.

I recommend getting some of this yarn if you love vibrant beauty and ethics. You get 150 yards per skein. I am knitting with a US 11 needle.

 

Art and yarn = kryptonite June 16, 2011

I went to the Ogden Arts Festival and all I got was…this AWESOME yarn!

I'm intrigued by the lack of twist in the yarn. I'll let you know how it knits up.

Art, like yarn, is like kryptonite to me. No matter how tight the budget, and ours is razor-thin right now, walking into an art fair is a surefire way to find me talking about how I will get a third job to finance my must have art piece and contemplating the logistics of mounting a canvas to the ceiling since we really don’t have any wall space left in the house.

So when I made it out of the Ogden Arts Festival empty-handed it was nothing short of a miracle.

And then my friend suggested we stop in The Needlepoint Joint, which was just up the street from the Festival.

I agreed. And should’ve donned a blindfold, because I left with this lovely ball of yarn. I didn’t realize Kaffe Fasset was designing yarn for Regia, but these soothing tones and subtle shade shifts had me at hello.

Fast forward several hours.

Spouse, “How was the Art Fair?”

Me, “I was really good. I didn’t buy anything…at the Art Fair.”

Spouse, “Good for you.”

Me, “Nope, not a thing at the Art Fair.”

Spouse, “Wait…what does that mean?”

Me, “I think I hear the cow mooing. I need to go milk her.”

Spouse, “We don’t have a cow.”

Me, “Gotta go. Love you! Bye.”

Still, yarn (at least in this case) is cheaper than a painting or sculpture, so all in all, I think I should be commended.

 

A Rant: Bernat Sox April 17, 2011

Filed under: Yarn — kniftybits @ 10:34
Tags: , , , ,

There are people I knit for who do not like the feel of wool, for some of them I would even hazard mentioning the dreaded a-word – allergic. In most yarn categories a knitter can suss out man made alternatives, sure the knitting purists turn their noses up at such humble fibers, but they definitely have their place in the knitting world. The one yarn category where this doesn’t hold true is sock yarn. Finding unwooly sock yarn is the proverbial needle in a haystack endeavor.

Keeping in mind that I want traditional sock weight and am not a fan of cotton, Bernat Sox is the only sock yarn I’ve found that doesn’t have any wool. I’m not saying there aren’t more out there, but they aren’t easy to find, wherever they are. While in Britain, I asked at all three yarn shops in Ely and no one could find any.

I’ve been happily working on a fun pattern for my balls of Bernat blissfully unaware of the treachery that awaited me, until today when I went to their website and discovered Bernat Sox is DISCONTINUED! Argh!

I understand that yarns come and go, and who knows this may have been discontinued for a while now, but when it comes to the big producers – Patons, Bernat, Lion Brand, etc – I have an expectation that their yarns will be around a looooooong time! Now, I’m miffed. Irked. Annoyed. Etc.

Now that this humble yarn is off the market there seems little point in telling you what it’s like, but since I’ve knit with it (and you may still have a ball in your stash) I will share anyway. It is easy to work with, rather on the thickish side for sock yarn, but it knits up nicely with 3.25 mm needles. I haven’t found any knots in either of the balls I’ve worked with. It’s economical, one ball makes a pair of socks, and it was nicely priced, as of right now you can still get some on Amazon for less than $5, now that’s some inexpensive sock yarn.

My only complaint about the yarn is the color pooling. You have to alternate two balls if you don’t want blobs of color, maybe one of the reasons they took it off the market.

I can’t say how well it wears, maybe the socks fall apart in no time and that’s why it is off the market? I’ll report back on that.

Now, I’m on the hunt for new unitchy sock yarn, in a quick search I found On Your Toes Bamboo; does anyone have any other recommendations?

 

Deborah Norville Sock Yarn Review March 12, 2011

Deborah Norville may not be as glamorous as Wollmeise, but when Joann Fabric is having a yarn sale who can resist?

I think I suffer a bit from knitting ADD, because whatever yarn I bought recently I immediately want to knit with. As such, within days of bringing this yarn home I was ready to try a new sock pattern percolating in my brain.

The yarn is nice and smooth, plus it has a pretty sheen, no doubt a result of the fiber content of 50% wool, and for the eco minded of us, 25% bamboo to go with strengthening 25% nylon.

With this fiber content, I wonder how they will hold up on the long run. I imagine they’ll be fine, but I’ll try to remember to update you sometime after the 2oth washing.

The smooth texture makes it nice to work with. The self striping is crisp and well delineated.  However, there does tend to be moments of dye splash or something of the like, as there are occasional spots of a different color. Me being of a perfectionistic ilk, I am not loving that, but oh well.

Note the three stitches that are dark purple. This happens regularly.

I finished the first sock with one ball of the Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight yarn in Teal Tease. I didn’t encounter any knots or snags. And the resulting sock is very soft and comfy.

All in all, I recommend it. You certainly can’t beat the price!

Technical details:

50% Wool 25% Bamboo 25% Nylon, 2,25-3.5mm needles, 50 g, 230 yards

I'd show more of the sock, but I haven't blocked it yet, so that'll come in a later post.

 

 

Goody it’s Goodies! February 21, 2011

So, all this talk of yarn shops and no mention of the treasures I picked up! Well, I am about to rectify that. Here are my goodies from the yarn shops I’ve visited so far.

An overview, three sock yarns, silk yarn, and square DPNs. Yep, I've heard the hype about the square needles, supposedly better stitches and easier on the hands, but I'll be the judge of that!

Berroco 50% Peruvian Wool 20% Alpaca 30% Nylon. You don't often see Alpaca in sock yarn. I love the color and I can't wait to show a fancy stitch pattern on with this yarn!

Mango Moon 100% Silk from Nepal. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. Any suggestions?

Knit One, Crochet Too Ty-Dy Socks. I'm not sure why this is called Ty-Dy Socks, but I really liked the colors. You picking up a sock yarn theme? LOL. This is a traditional blend of 80% wool and 20% nylon.

This is a vibrant hand painted and spun yarn from Raven Frog Fiber Arts, an Alaskan fiber artist. It's a luxe sock yarn blend of merino, cashmere & nylon, though thicker than normally marketed for socks.

 

Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer Yarn Review December 29, 2010

“This is what we just ordered in,” the LYS owner tantalized, while waving an open catalogue in hypnotizing concentric circles before my eyes.

“Ooooh,” I murmured, mesmerized by the pictured socks. “How do they do that? The sock looks tie dyed.”

“It’s how they dye the yarn.” She snapped the book away before my ribbon of drool hit the page.

“Me want yarn.”

“I’ll call you when it comes in.”

My current sock project now seemed boring and insipid.

Days later…What was taking so long?!?!?!  It was like waiting for a phone call after a first date! I was tempted to check for a dial tone.

An eternity (one week) later and Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer (Schoppel Wolle Fliegende Untertasse) sock yarn was in. I raced to the store, family in tow with strict instructions to run interference, convinced there would be a stampede of knitters with sock needles brandished like bulls horns. As I threw open the yarn shop door my lingering question of how a knitter achieved matching socks with such unique self striping was revealed.  Two strands of yarn wrapped around a cardboard tube, like a wide ribbon bobbin. They were hand dyed at the same time, said the tube. How clever! I thought, unaware of the hours of torture awaiting me.

Oh, what to choose? Six colorway options, but which was best? After thirty minutes of deliberation and the realization that they don’t actually tell you which color you held, you guess based on the pictures of finished socks on the bobbin, a feat not as easy as it sounds, I left with two. His and hers.

Once home I immediately set to balling the yarn into usable balls so I could abandon my lame project and start this long-awaited yarn.

“Please, will you help me,” I implored my husband.

For every pleasure there is a pain. Cake = fat thighs.  Dog petting = hair clean up.  Running = being chased by a bear. (Wait, that may just be me.)

And for Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer sock yarn that pain is balling.

We jabbed a knitting needle through the hole in the center of the tube. The instructions said to hang it from a window handle, but my windows don’t have handles so we suspended it between stacks of books. One leg cramp, two long hours, four squinty eyes, seven yarn tangles, and twelve grumbled curses later and we were done. Both literally and figuratively.

I would like to take this moment to assure Schoppel Wolle  that I would be perfectly content to buy two bagged balls of yarn with a statement that they matched. I would gladly believe you as long as it meant I didn’t have to torture myself and my husband with balling this yarn. Ever. AGAIN!

Months later when we felt up to balling the second bobbin of Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer my husband growled, “You are never to buy this yarn again.”

Thus Schoppel Wolle Flying Saucer is part awesome yarn, part torture device.

That said once the balling is done, knitting it is a dream.  Perfectly smooth and easy to knit, I haven’t encountered any knots that would disrupt the patterning and it is delightful to see the pattern develop.

I was jubilant when I finished my husband’s pair. They aren’t quite identical due to variations in knitting tension and figuring our where to turn the heel so that the same part of the pattern faced forward was a little challenging, but they are still fabulous! Unfortunately, I knit the second pair toe-up and while the patterning worked for the foot, it didn’t work so well for the leg.  Check out the pic to see how they each turned out.  One of my lovely readers shared a very helpful link for those who want to maximize this yarns potential.

Have you encountered this yarn? What did you think?

Technical details:

75% Wool 25% Nylon, 2-3mm needles, 100 g, 459 yards

(I used 2.5 mm needles)

 

Sock on the left was toe-up, sock on the right top-down.