Friday, August 31, 2007

We Have Winners!!!

Congratulations to Anna and Vegan Knitting, you are the winners of the Maizy sock yarn! I will be e-mailing both of you shortly with prize details. Thanks so much to everyone who entered, the reviews where great!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Black Stitch Yarn

Ok. This is totally unfair as this Hibiscuitsgirl is no longer making this yarn. But I loved it so maybe I can get a few tips from her on where she got the yarn to dye.

The Black Stitch yarn was a fingering weight 100% cotton sock yarn dyed in several colorways. Pictured above is "stronghold" which Hibiscuits girl was kind enough to send to me free in exchange for trying it out since it was new.

I knit some basic ankle socks using a mock cable pattern for the leg and a stockinette top of foot and reverse stockinette on the sole.

This yarn is shiny and soft to the touch. It is very smooth so at times using the Addi Turbos was trying but it would have been great on bamboo needles. It does not split easily at all - the plies were very tight and held together well. I made the socks for my big fat size 10 feet with just a few yards leftover from a single skein, which at $12 normally was a great deal. I'm very sorry I didn't order more while she was still making it.

Monkey Sock Update

Oh No - I'm going to run out of yarn - I already know this because I just turned the heel of the first sock and ran out of the first skein (and I only had 3 skeins). I'm going to contact the nice lady at the yarn shop in Bismarck and see if she'll send me another one - but just to be sure I cast on for the second sock and started it - then I'll divide the third skein and then if I have to substitute on the toe - at least both socks will be the same...

Good thing I never wear socks with sandals...

Bernat Cool Crochet - One more Review

I bought this yarn back in the spring when I was looking for some cool cotton to make summer socks - and as you can see I have yet to knit any cool summer socks - but I will - I think something nice and lacy...

This is Bernat's description:
Cool Crochet
All Shades (161074)
26 sts - 36 rows = 4" (10 cm)
Suggested Knitting Needle
3.75 mm, US - 5
Suggested Crochet Hook
3.75 mm, US - F/5
Machine washable. Lay flat to dry.
All Shades (161074)
Content: 70% Cotton - 30% Nylon
Put-up: 1.75 oz / 50 g, 3 Balls / Package
Length: 200 yd / 182 m

The yarn is very soft and has a slight shimmer - it glides on the needles - which is nice after the stiff Baby Denim...

I swatched on size 2 needles and the shimmer is not so apparent in the stockinette stitch - but still a very nice drapey fabric.

So - if you know of a nice lacey summer sock pattern - send it my way...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Contest Reminder

The contest deadline is finally creeping up, you must post your entries by 6pm us central time on August 30. Thanks to everyone who has posted such informative reviews so far (Michelle, Anna, Affectioknitter, and Torrance). There's still time to post reviews and remember, you can post a review of a yarn someone has already posted about. Again, there will be 2 winners who will each have their pick of any 2 skeins of Maizy sock yarn. Thanks!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Pick-Me-Up Socks/ yarn review: Rowan RYC Classic Bamboo Soft

Here they are. Didn't take too long. Not suprinsing when your knitting with 4mm needles, and most of the time only have 44 stitches per row.

I made these with the wonderful bamboo yarn I bought yesterday. (clicking the link will also explain why these are called pick-me-up socks)
The yarn itself was so lovely I just wanted to make a simple pair of toe-up socks. These socks will probably be something I sleep in.

A little review of the yarn added later on:
On this review I'm going to use the highly technical pro/con-list. Try to keep up ;)
(yes, sadly I am trying to be funny)
Rowan RYC Classic Bamboo Soft
100% Bamboo viscose
50g/ 201 m (112 yds)
25 sts x 30 rows= 10cm/4inches
3,75mm needles/ size 5 US
+ just feel the yarn! it is so soft you'd want to run the skein on your
cheek over and over and over again
+ it comes in fabulous (a little metallic) shades of colours. too bad my
LYS didn't carry the darker grey..
- as a fan of cheap things I wouldn't mind if it would cost a little
less. (my LYS selss it for 4,45€/skein)
+ knitting with this yarn is almost dreamy. it slides through your fingers
like a little river of satin.
- it splits into strands a little too easily to my taste
+ since it is so thick knitting socks with it does not take too long
- I don't think it'll prove to be the most durable sock-yarn
+ wearing socks knitted with this yarn will feel like your feet would be
surrounded with kittens
+ most importantly the yarn and the socks succeeded in their task of providing
me the pick-me-up I needed!
(There will most likely be some odd spelling, just try not to mind. English is not my native language)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bright Pink Comfy Sock

Whoo hoo, I got one sock finished! They're a little bigger than usual so they are extra comfy for wearing in bed or around the house. They are made with Cascade Fixation and size 3 needles.

Classic Elite FLASH - Yarn Review

While we were on vacation I got to go to 'real' yarn shop - Yippee! We have no such thing in my tiny town...

I was pleasantly surprised - the shop owner came over (of course) to see if she could help me and when I told her that I didn't use animal fibers - she graciously switched gears without even batting an eye and steered me over to some cottons - then she left and came back with a sample book and offered to order anything that I wanted...

I explained that I was on vacation and appreciated the offer - at least with a sample book you can touch the yarn and see the colors - as opposed to internet shopping - but I chose Classic Elite Flash in the Gulf Green colourway - this is their description of the yarn:

"fiber: 100% Mercerized Cotton gauge: 4.5 - 5
manufacturer: Classic Elite yards per skein: 93
recommended needle: 7 machine washable: yes

This soft tweedy multi color cotton that is perfect for any spring or summer project. Flash is made up from 3 strands of different colors. Great for kids-- it is machine washable."

The Gulf Green colourway is three distinct strands - olive green - lime green and sea blue...

As soon as I finished the tennis socks as cast on for 'Monkey' socks at Kala's suggestion

I've only completed the first pattern set - but I love the yarn

It has a silky feel and a little shimmer - but it does tend to split pretty easily...

Yarn review - Schachenmayr Bambino

I'm still searching for the perfect sock yarn. It doesn't help that the ones that look most promising aren't available in Finland.. HINT HINT (I want to win)

Anyhow. One I loved to knit with was this wonderful baby-yarn I'm now reviewing.
110m/25g skein
60% cotton, 40% acrylic
30 stitches x 42 rows = 10cm (4 inches)
knit with 3mm needles
I bought this yarn a little before my cousin/godson was born. (I think it's so weird I have a godson.. I'm not even a member of any church anymore). It was on sale at the time. I think I bought 3 or for skeins of the blue for 1,50€ each, then the rest of them (4 of the white and one of the orange) for 0,75€. I like cheap yarn.
I was a little afraid 'cos the yarn felt just a little rough to touch. And I thought that's very weird for something that you're supposed to make stuff for babies with. But when I started knitting with it I understood: the knitted fabric was way softer. Nice! I think the yarn is durable, and sturdy enough, while still being soft. And I love the little bits of colour in the otherwise solid colour yarn. They look great when knitted, just look:
(winning would be nice)
Aren't these cutest? I think I knitted these with 2,5mm needles. I made just basic socks for my godson last october, a little after he was born. And I love the result. And so did his mother. I don't think (for as long as they fit him) the child went anywhere without them.
I still have all the yarn in the first picture. I'm just hoping someone I know would get knocked up, so I could make cutesy baby bootys or socks with it. I think I would have enough of the white yarn to make me sock, but I think I'll save it for someone cuter.
(did I mention I wanted to win this?)
P.s If you think you found some hidden little messages in this text you are obviously going grazy, and should contact your doctor immediately ;)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tennis Socks - Finished

I finished the tennis socks while on vacation - lots of driving and pool time...

...a couple of bad light hotel room photos...

...and here they are with shoes...

...nice and soft... comfy...

Aunt Lydia’s® “Baby Denim” Yarn Review

This is the Coats and Clark description of the yarn:

Super-soft worsted weight 8-ply crochet thread. Ideal for babies, toddlers, apparel, and home d├ęcor. Versatile 75% cotton/25% acrylic blend medium weight thread. 8.64 oz / 246g / 400 yd / 366m ball. Machine wash. Imported. Knit gauge in stockinette stitch, size 8 (5mm) needles: 20 sts and 25 rows = 4" (10cm). Crochet gauge in single crochet, size H-8 (5mm) hook: 20 sc and 25 rows = 4" (10cm).

and at $5.75 US for a 400 yard ball - it's quite a bargain.

When I chose this yarn for the tennis socks I was hoping for a sturdy, soft, absorbent yarn - and I think that this yarn meets all of these requirements...

I found the yarn a little bit difficult to work with as it's sort of stiff - and I wouldn't recommend using less than a size 3 US needle. You can see the 8 plys of cotton thread and it does have a tendency to split. The finished sock certainly seems sturdy (the pair is finished and I'll post pics later) and after washing and wearing they are very soft - I have not played tennis in them yet - but I think they will hold up well...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Yarn Review: Rowan Calmer

If you read my blog you probably know I'm obsessed with Rowan Calmer, a 75% cotton, 25% microfiber yarn. The swatch pictured above is the color Coral, though it is more of an orange-red and was captured as more magenta-y than it is in person. The microfiber lightens the cotton considerably and gives stretch, making it pretty much the most comfortable yarn I've ever knit with. I haven't made socks with it yet, but I think it would make some wonderful arch-hugging and cushy socks. Normally this yarn knits at 5.25 sts per inch on size 8 US needles, the stretchiness means it can be knitted on bigger needles and come out with a tension similar to DK. The Rowan Calmer Collection book has a pattern for socks (called Mood, pictured below) knit on size 6 US needles, achieving 6 spi, or a 48-stitch sock. Each 50g ball is 160m/175yds (check out that ratio, I'm telling you this stuff is very light, not like pure cotton at all). Even though the ballband says to handwash, I've had success machine washing and drying an item I made with this yarn.

The only thing I don't like about Rowan Calmer is that the microfiber content makes achieving an even tension difficult, my purls come out much looser and on flat knits I've had to go down a needle size on the WS. However, knitting a stockinette sock in the round would avoid this problem entirely. A pair of socks would require about 2 balls of this yarn, and unfortunately it retails $10-12 per ball. There's an awesome seller in the UK, though, called Jannette's Rare Yarns who is selling some of the older colorways at US$6.25-6.50 and shipping to the US (which is by air, i.e. fast) is $4 for the first ball, $1 for each additional. You might be interested to know there's a cute pattern for ballet slippers called Twinkletoes using Calmer, which is kind of pushing the definition of socks but hey they're footwear so I think it's relevant. :)

Bernat Sox Yarn Review

Bernat Sox is an acrylic/nylon mix which can be knit on 2.25mm needles making it pretty useful. The yarn information says a 3.25mm needle but having used this yarn I'd say that was far too big. Apparently it's been discontinued by Bernat, but it's still coming up on Ebay and you may find it on sale somewhere while they clear out stocks.

It's available in plain colours and variegated (links are to the Yarndex pages of the yarn). You can see the Sox Multi projects on Ravelry here and the Sox Plain projects here.

Examples of Sox socks:

There are 203 yards per ball meaning that you will need 2 for an adult pair of socks.

Some people like acrylic yarn, personally this yarn makes my teeth itch and I only used it as the variety of vegan sock yarn a few years ago was terrible. I do like the socks I've made with it and they appear to be lasting forever, but I won't be buying any more.

Anna in Liverpool England

Elann Esprit Yarn Review

Elann Esprit is almost exactly the same as Cascade Fixation bar the lower price, it's details are:

Fibre Content: 98.3% Cotton 1.7% Elastic
Made In: Brazil
Care: Hand Wash/ Dry Flat
Gauge: 25 st/4 inches 4.5 mm (US 7)
Yardage: 91m/ 100 yds (relaxed) - 170m/186 yds (stretched)
Size: 50g (1.75 oz) ball
Price: $2.75 USD

It's available in plain colours and prints.

Again the needle size is a bit big for socks I think, and it knits well on 3.25mm needles which is what most Fixation patterns call for.

Having used both the Esprit and the Fixation I really couldn't tell much, if any, difference between the two and the Esprit wears and washes as well as the Fixation does. If Elann didn't have such stupid shipping rates to England I'd be stocking up on the prints for sure!

Examples of Esprit socks:

Anna in Liverpool England

Cascade Fixation Yarn Review

I'm going to jump in with this one before someone else gets there!

Cascade Fixation, in my opinion, is a wonderful yarn that knits up in to comfortable thick cotton socks that wear and wash really well. The yarn is 98.3% cotton and 1.7% elastic and knits up really well for socks on 3.25mm needles (the label says 4.5mm which might work for a garment but with socks I believe you need a much tighter fabric), the gauge is given as 29 stitches and 12 rows per 10cm. There are 100 yards relaxed and 183 yards stretched on a 50 gram ball which means you need 2 balls for a pair of adult socks or 1 ball for a pair of anklets.

Examples of Fixation socks:

More and more Fixation patterns are showing up finally, a few years back there were very few interesting ones to be had. Some of my Fixation patterns are listed on the sidebar or can be found at my blog.

It can take a little knitting to get used to the yarn and how much you should stretch it when you're knitting, but once you've got the hang of it it's great to use and I always have a good few balls in my stash!

Anna in Liverpool England

Friday, August 17, 2007

Big Contest Announcement!!!

Ok, so Crystal Palace rocks! I was contacted by Susan who works at Crystal Palace and they are going to donate yarn for this contest! So here are the changes: There will be 2 winners chosen who will each receive 2 skeins of Maizy. The winners will be put in contact with Susan and will be able to choose whatever colors of Maizy they would like! So if you've entered or are planning on entering, think about what colors you might like. And have a second choice in mind because this yarn is selling out fast! Much thanks goes to Susan and Crystal Palace for their generous donation!

Yarn Review: Greenwood Fiberworks Cotton/Lycra

I am so excited for this contest. Thanks, Kala! I'm reviewing Greenwood Fiberworks Cotton/Lycra.

This 96% cotton, 4% lycra yarn is sold by etsy seller Greenwood Fiberworks. The variegated colorway shown is Forest Path. Each hank is 2.6 ounces and about 460 yards stretched, so you can get a pair of women's socks out of just one, which sells for $15. Right now I am knitting a 64-stitch sock on size 2 needles, with a gauge of 8 sts per inch, though this yarn comes with a free sock pattern calling for size 1 needles and casting on 72 sts (9 spi). All of her yarn is handdyed, in solid, self-striping (tiny one-row stripes), or variegated (semi-random episodes of color). I found the solid yarns still have some of that beautiful variation you'll find with handdyed yarns, giving depth. Like I mentioned, the yarn comes in hanks, and I would recommend purchasing the $1.50 ball winding service when you buy this yarn at her etsy shop if you don't own a swift and ball winder. Even with, I find this yarn is a bit tricky to wind because of the major stretching action and I think the dying process causes the strands to slightly stick to each other. I don't mind the extra time (about 10-15 minutes, helping the swift move along and stopping for little tangles), but impatient or swift-less knitters might want to go for the small charge our of convenience.

If you've worked with Cascade Fixation before, you might find this yarn is very similar, just a much lighter gauge. Click the picture above to embiggen, and you can see in the upper left hand corner some detail on the yarn itself, which appears to be a ply of cotton bunching side to side on a strand of lycra, pulling it in towards itself but stretching nearly straight when you pull on it. I've found that this yarn stretches almost twice in length compared to its relaxed state, and is very comfortable to work with. The fineness of this yarn opens up all those sock patterns that call for tiny needle sizes and make them veganizable (yes I just made up that word!). I'm really enjoying knitting with this yarn right now, and Carolyn provides great customer service and ships promptly. You have to check the etsy shop frequently, though; several months can go by without any of this yarn listed, and most is often bought up within a week of it being posted.

Sock Candy Yarn Review

Sock Candy is a Cotton/Elite (96%/4%) yarn made by the people who make Socks That Rock sock yarn. It comes in many of the same colourways:






'Old' Key West (they have re-done this colourway and made it much brighter)


There are approximately 200 yards per skein which means that you need 2 to knit a regular sized pair of socks (ankle socks you might get away with 1 skein). Each skein weighs 2oz so it's pretty lightweight yarn, you're not going to feel like you have weights on your feet wearing these socks!

The ball band says 7-8 stitches per inch on size 2 needles. I have used both 2.75 and 2.5mm needles with this yarn and both work well. As the needles are a little bigger you find the socks knit up fast!

There are plenty of sock patterns using 2.5mm needles around now, if you're on Ravelry the projects page for Sock Candy can be found here, there are currently 32 projects showing. Or, if like me, you just love the colourways, you can knit nice plain socks using this yarn, as you can see I've done a few of those now! The pattern for the Lemongrass and Scaponia socks shown above can be found free on my blog which is here.

I love this yarn, the only problem that I have with it is that it's hard to find. I got mine from The Fold, it isn't on the website so you need to email Toni (tell her that Anna in England sent you!) and ask what she has in stock. It's also a bit pricey, but for the quality and the colourways I think it's worth it as a treat (and who doesn't need a sock yarn treat now and again?!?).

Anna in Liverpool England

First KAL Socks!

These are Hedera from Knitty knit using Sock Candy in Lemongrass.

There's a little bit more information on my knitting blog finally waking up, and just for the record I also have a vegan food blog called Vegan Food For Thought in case anyone is interested!

Anna in Liverpool England

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fo: Broadripple Socks

I'm so excited, I finally finished my Broadripple socks. I started them in March but had them hidden away in the closet for a while. But they're all done now and I love them. They're made with 2 skeins of Cascade Fixation in stripey dusty pinks.

bamboo sockettes

I've got sockettes on the needles, and I'm using Panda yarn. It's not made of panda fur though, it's 55% bamboo, 24% cotton and 21% elastic. It's probably going to take 3 balls to make 2 mini socks. The colourway is Strawberry Lime, and it's made by Crystal Palace.

I tried on the sock-in-progress and it feels nice. Soft and stretchy. It's nice to knit with too, because of the stretchiness. One small problem is that I ripped back and started over, and the yarn got a bit stringy. Know what I mean? The many strands in the yarn and got un-spun with the wear and tear of knitting and frogging.

The pattern is from the Knitting Pattern a Day 2007 calendar. There aren't many patterns in there that I'd like to make, but the sockettes are cute and easy.

Contest # 2: Yarn Review

Hello all! It's time for another little contest! Here's the lowdown: To enter, post an entry reviewing a yarn that you have used or would like to use for socks. You must include a picture of a swatch and/or a finished object you've made with the yarn. Also include helpful info like gauge, what needles you used, and how comfortable the yarn is to knit with. You may enter as many times as you'd like and it's ok to review a yarn that somebody has already reviewed, it's good to have second opinions. You'll receive one entry for every review you post, and then I'll put all the entries into a hat and pick out a winner. Note: you must be a member of this KAL to enter. So what's the prize?

2 Skeins of Crystal Palace's Maizy, a sock yarn made from 82% Corn Fiber and 18% elastic Nylon in the Hot Feet colorway.

Deadline is August 30th at 9pm US Central Time. And special thanks to Michelle of Vegan Purls for suggesting the contest theme and idea, she'll be receiving an extra entry into the contest!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tennis Sock Progress

I have completed one tennis sock and I did several rows more ribbing than the pattern called for (only 2):

Although it looks more like a slipper to me than a tennis sock (I think the problem is the lack of elasticity in the yarn - it certainly feels sturdy 'though) - we'll see how it feels in a shoe...

On to sock #2...