My friend Allison, over at Simply Socks Yarn Company had a baby a few months ago (as many of you know) and now has asked a bunch of us to join her in reviewing new yarns that she is bringing into her wonderful online shop. I have ordered from Allison (at least as often as my budget allows) and I can tell you that her selection totally rocks, and her service is outstanding!Therefore, I was happy to be of assistance to her.
My yarn arrived Saturday Feb 16th; it's a superwash merino, put up in 380 yard skeins. I promptly grabbed my ballwinder, and prepared to play. The color is brilliant! Having spent many years dyeing fiber and yarn, I can tell you just how difficult it is to achieve a true red. Applause applause to this dyer. (Please note that Allison sends the yarn to us with no labels at all, so that we remain unbiased).
The color held up very well during my knitting - zero bleed in either the knit process or the bath (more applause) The yarn is a commercially prepared three ply, very springy and bouncy. Yumm.
Other good news, there were no knots in the skein, and it was well prepared, nicely tied and neatly presented when it arrived to me. Oh so pretty.. my fingers itched to begin.
I began with size 2 needles, casting on 70 stitches, and this yarn (as Allison shared with me) was suggested to be knit up at 6 stitches to the inch. Indeed, on size 2 it came out exactly that.
I would have proceeded with my size twos, and had a very fast sock, yet the first dilemma occured: can you say flash? See how it's looking?
here's the front, and here's the back. All the brilliant red was on one side of the sock. not very pretty.
So I ripped back and began again on my size 1 needles. The gauge changed to 7 stitches per inch, and so I cast on 60 stitches. It fits perfectly on my very average sized foot. The color flow behaved much better. (I love me some great strong stripes). The fabric is a bit more dense, yet not stiff, and will be good for sturdy socks at this gauge.
I was happily knitting along when dilemma number two occurred..... damaged yarn. Here's a close up on one of the spots - click to make bigger, it's right in the middle of the photo. - I counted ten of these in the first skein (and so far in skein number two I have three... and I'm almost to the heel)
I decided that this might not be too much of a problem, since I was knitting such a dense fabric... yet in the final examination, after a nice bath and dry, I noticed this little "oops" on the underside of the toe. See those tiny threads sticking out?? yeah.. broken place on bottom of foot. :-(
I suspect strongly that this is not the fault of the dyer, but rather the source of the commercial yarn. The damaged places are not evenly spaced (at least not to my eye) so I am uncertain as to how it happened.
It is difficult to find really perfect yarn blanks - yet this skein would have been a reject if I had been shipping them out, because of just how badly it was unravelled. The spot I snapped the photo of was not the worst, rather just one that I saw when my camera was handy and the light was ok.
bottom of the foot.......... now look at the ankle...... yeah, see those lovely little moving stripes on the ankle, and then that big spot of color on the top of the foot? Well, there's a big patch of red on the bottom of the foot.... durn. another color flash. The odd part is that I completely am baffled as to why it "misbehaved" in such a manner (rather than pooling during the gusset phase). I was back down to my original 60 stitches, and it "shouldn't have done this. go figure.
Overall - hat's off to this dyer for achieving an amazing, vivid, colorfast red... and I hope that he/she has no other issues with damaged skeins in her blanks. Her colors are deep and very pretty. Some folks don't mind the color flash spots, but I guess that I am more a fan of stripes. I will be most interested to see if sock number two has a color pool on the foot as well..
I had a great time test knitting this one. I'm off to finish sock number two, and then back to our regularly scheduled cable sweater.