Happy new year everyone! I hope the next twelve months brings you joy and love and everything good! I’m hoping that this year, the first full year without any major time commitments, will be a gentle relaxing one. The past few years have been hectic at best, and sometimes very very very sad and difficult, but I’ve got through them, with the help of the wonderful DB and my family and friends. We hope nothing else will happen for a while, and make this year a quiet one. Although we already have an injury and a catalogue of illnesses, and various other issues that have me a little concerned, but there will also be two new additions (at least?) to friends’ families, which is wonderful 😀
As for knitting plans, I frightened myself today. I started to notice that I had a lot of things on the needles still to be dealt with, as I had suddenly developed 4 extra projects (the wedding wrap, some socks for a guy at work, and my sockret pal socks, and a chunky stripey cardi that materialised after an accidental purchase at Coldspring – more on that one another time, but since the purchase on Saturday, the back and one front piece are done), and that I still had one piece of Christmas gift knitting to finish. I worked out that I currently have 8 projects on the needles. Eek! So today I worked on 3 of them, with the idea that in order to plausibly finish these many things, I would need to knit for myself as well as others, so even if it takes weeks to finish everything, it will be finished eventually without getting too pissed off… At least I’m using stash up though while I do all these! So, as a result, I have promised myself that for the next 12 months I will finish everything properly. I’ll limit my knitting to what I am capable of without overloading myself. And there will be no purchases or starting of new projects until items are finished and there is space in my stash storage boxes for things to fit in with room to spare.
Anyway, I finally have some pics of the socks I made for Cherry for her birthday earlier this month (this month?! It seems like aeons ago…). They were just dragon scales manipulated with wider st st bars to fit the gauge and stitch count. The yarn is Schaeffer Anne, and has a beautiful lustre and sheen to it, but is also soft and machine washable 🙂
Knitted on 2.5mm circs, to about 60 sts if I remember correctly – that’s my usual sock size. Cherry asked for a short leg, but they aren’t as short as they look on that second photo. The picture quality is much better than most recent pics because her hubby took them and emailed them to me – ta Richard. But please also note that they are not wonky like that pic ;D As you can see there is much pooling, but it differed so much between the socks that I don’t think we minded that much – you get to see the side that doesn’t shoe on the opposite sock, if that makes sense, so the pooling is on the top of the sock and reverses between socks so that you get a flash of all the colours in different ways. There is some difference between rows in the colours too, so the purple splodge is actually different coloured purples etc. I haven’t decided what to use the remainder of the yarn for yet, but I’m sure I’ll think of something…
Also, as promised, I also have a review of Colinette Jitterbug too, now that the gift socks are finished. There are some good points and some bad points. I made the Zokni pattern which may have produced some bias to the review, and may not be the most ideal basis for testing this yarn, and this colourway. Ok, so the yarn holds pattern and shape well, but while knitting I had a bugger of a time trying to see whether I was knitting it correctly (the chart for the pattern is done in reverse of how I normally read them, so it is done left to right, and I had to knit the pattern twice and frog once too until I knew I was doing it properly). But once I had a few repeats down in the correct direction, I still had issues being able to see the leaf pattern fully. I figured blocking would fix that though, and it has. Just a quick wash has defined the lace pattern yet the sock shape is still pure, and what started as a little harsh has softened up a bit and feels like it might be good and cosy
The yarn is firm, well spun and doesn’t split, so it does lend itself to use in complex patterns rather than straight st st, but the colourways work well with st st, and there isn’t really any pooling at all. It is soft too, but because of the sturdiness of the yarn (the end yet to be woven in went through the knitting and washing process without unravelling or fluffing up at all) it should hold up well as a day-to-day sock and not just something fancy, and it is supposed to be fully machine washable too, which is always good. The colours are good and vivid, and don’t pool, although some dye came out during blocking, it wasn’t enough to make me think that there might be colour fade issues any worse than any other yarn. I’d probably have bought the yarn again on the basis of these plus points…
IF it were not for some big issues. The yarn is sold primarily as a sock yarn, but usable for other knitting, to be knit on 3.25mm, making it a little heavier than many sock yarns. However, the freebie pattern on the yarn label suggests for a womens’ small to medium to work it on 2.5mm on 60 sts, which just so happens to be how I work most of my socks. As the yarn is sold as a heavier weight, it is unsurprising that the yardage is less than your average sock yarn too – 267m a hank, in comparison to 350m ish on the yarns I normally get. Now, I do have round about 30g left over from 100g, but that is because I’ve made the socks for a UK size 4, with a shortish leg (4 pattern repeats plus 10 rows of rib, so that makes them 58 rows before a short row heel). I wouldn’t recommend buying just one hank for anything larger – you could squeeze maybe an inch or two more on the leg, but you certain wouldn’t want to rely on one hank for any sock above about a UK 5 with a longer leg than these. That makes for some very expensive socks…
The next issue I have is something I encountered while knitting the first sock. In the middle of the hank, about a quarter of the way along the foot, I found a knot. I couldn’t undo it, and it wasn’t until later that I realised that it was a break in the yarn. As the yarn is superwash, and the knot was small, I knit past it (I know I know! I’m sorry 🙁 I’ve committed a terrible sock faux pas there :S), and worked it into the stitch, so it is barely noticable in looks or in wearing the fabric, and these socks aren’t meant for wearing outside the house as they would be too bulky in shoes, so they won’t go walking far anyway. Excuses made, my qualm isn’t about the knot in the yarn. This happens often enough for me to not mind too much, even if I don’t see it often in sock yarn. What bugs me, is the knitted fabric, and the changes in it.
See that colour change? Before the knot, I have some lovely splashes of colour, with no pooling or striping or anything like that, and plenty of firey (that doesn’t look right, but you get the idea) mottling. After the knot, striping. Not so much of the dark browny red. On their own, fine. Knotted together into one hank, when they are clearly two different dye lots? NOT good. I’m not happy about that at all. There can’t have been as much as 20g left over of that original dye lot before they knotted the two yarns together, so why do that?! The yarns clearly do not match! I’d be really miffed if the sock was st st all the way, but luckily it isn’t too obvious on the top of the sock. I know that not every hank of yarn will have the issue, but I’m so not impressed that they did that in something that will be used in a way that you can see the colour change really easily. In the heavier yarns like Point 5, you wouldn’t get that, as they are too thick to knot together, and the colours are always mottled, but in Jitterbug, why should it being a lighter yarn for socks make knotting together ok? You might as well knot together two different but similar shades. Can you tell that this pissed me off yet?
These two issues put me off buying the yarn again. I’d probably splash out on the Speed Demon yarn instead of this, and use the extra cost to remind me that the colours might sometimes be different to the purchasing image, but at least you know it will work and you’ll have matching socks from the same hank instead of one mottled and one striping… And if I wanted to make adult male socks, buying two hanks at a tenner a piece when the colours might not match doesn’t appeal to me either. I will still send the other hank to my sockret pal and see how she gets on with it, but I’ll be warning her about my experiences, and at least the dye lot issue will be relatively infrequent enough to make me hope she’s got a good one. And it is a shame that they couldn’t take more care over their yarn marketing and winding – the colourways are lovely. Their dyeing has always screamed for sock yarn as the colours are so well put together and vivid or muted to just the right level. If you are looking for a yarn that does what it says on the tin for the same kind of price, shop at Piece of Beauty or Posh Yarns or Hip Knits, where you know what kind of colouring you’ll get, and what effect it will have when knit up. Even if you get pooling, at least you know it will still look nice (like with Cherry’s socks – I love the way they pooled 🙂 I’d still like it if I can make some more that don’t though…).
Ok, moan over. My Kim Hargreaves kit arrived today, so that made life ok. But I’ve been winding the Piece of Beauty cobweb yarn, and it is a mess 🙁 about 6 hours of winding split over 2 days, and I’m not quite half way through it. A swift wouldn’t help this one – I think the yarn being so fine as it is just got tangled in the dye bath or something. Every single loop has to be untangled from other strands to varying degrees. I’ll be making several small balls and splicing the ends together. I don’t see me starting to knit this till it is all wound up, and that won’t be for a week nearly to save my brain from insanity. In fact I’ve ordered some Jaggerspun Zephyr with my new swift (which has just been ordered :D) as a back up in case I can’t untanlgle the Posh Yarn, as it is a little heavier than cobweb so will knit up quicker in an emergency if I fling the remaining cobweb yarn out the window in a fit of stupidity and stress. And I won’t let myself knit the cardi kit yet till I’ve cleared some needles. Honest guv.
Ok, now I’ll definitely shut up 🙂 Time to do something nice and perhaps non-knitting related, like playing We Love Katamari, perhaps the best PS2 game ever… 😀