Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The sock that nearly bored me to death

You might remember that at the beginning of this year, I planned to do a self-imposed sock-of-the-month club, like Yarn Harlot. Well, this has been a bit of an epic fail. I have knitted only three pairs of socks so far this year instead of the six that I should have by now. In large part, I blame this yarn:

It's Knit Picks Simple Stripes, a long-discontinued yarn that I bought on clearance about 6 years ago for $1.99 per ball. I can see why Knit Picks discontinued it. It was a little too simple for me.

I love knitting socks. I always knit plain stockinette socks, always on DPNs. They are my zen, my meditation. Apparently I love knitting socks with hand-painted yarn, but with self-striping yarn, not so much. This was my first pair with self-striping yarn. I wanted to knit this yarn to get it out of my stash. I only have one other ball of self-striping sock yarn and it may be in my stash for a few years, because I'm not ready to be that bored again. This pair of socks bored me so much, it took me 3 months to knit them. I worked on them only in the car (with my husband driving) for a long time. When I finally finished the first, I decided to quickly smash through the second so I could get them OVERWITH. I did, and they are a perfectly lovely pair of socks, but man, that was a slog.

I guess the message is "Knitter, Know Thyself." I know I need the fun, gasp-worthy beauty and excitement (hey, quit laughing) of hand-painted sock yarn. I won't be buying any more self-striping or self-patterning yarn, because I know I don't like it.

Aside from the self-striping pattern, I also just didn't like the base yarn, which was a big part of the problem. It has 4 not particularly tight plies that were rather splitty, and it's not the softest yarn, either. This is going to sound like blasphemy, but as much as I love their stunning colorways, I don't like the base yarn for Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, either. I found it to be splitty and not very soft, either. Maybe it's the nylon content of these two yarns that makes me not like their texture.

My favorite sock yarn, the Cadillac, no, the Mercedes-Benz of sock yarn, is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock. Mediumweight, specifically, though I love Lightweight, too. The base yarn is wonderful, round and bouncey. Downright sproingy. It's 100% superwash wool and it's just so squishy and kushy and the colorways, omigod, the colorways. Tina Newton is a goddess and a genius. I love the colorways she comes up with! Knitting them makes me so happy. Here's some happiness in sock form that I'm knitting right now:

So soft, so pretty, such a lovely sheen, and the hand-dyed color changes keep me happily entertained as I knit.

I have been up in the air about doing the Rockin' Sock Club next year, and I've decided not to. Instead, I'm going to order 5 or 6 hanks of Blue Moon Fiber Arts' colorways that I'm totally in love with and make my own sock-of-the-month club again. For this year, I have three or four more hanks to get through!

Along with knitting socks, I've also been crocheting on that way, way late scarf for my husband's birthday (almost done!) and Saturday night, I spent some time spinning. I spun some merino roving and was reminded just how difficult merino is to spin, due to its short staple length. Makes me wish I had more Blue-Faced Leicester. I really want to get better at spinning and be able to spin more than just rustic-looking thick-and-thin yarn, so I've joined a local spinning guild that meets twice a month. Hopefully I can learn a lot there and get some help! I want to be able to spin my own sock yarn and one day attend Sock Summit and participate in the Fleece to Foot Challenge that Yarn Harlot discussed today. Holy crap, does that sound like a dream, or what?

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