Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sock Lab

I'd like to take a moment to share with you a recent knitting situation that has triggered a deep obsession: aligning the "right" yarn with the "right" pattern.

The challenge: Knitpicks Essential Multi Tuscany Special.

I first attempted to knit Socktopia's Bellatrix by Gigi Silva.

I love the pattern, but I wasn't feeling it with this yarn.

Next attempt was RPM by Aija Goto. Again, cool pattern but I wasn't enjoying the pooling.

Two strikes: I wanted to put the yarn back in my stash and try something else. I like to relax while knitting, not cast on and rip out over and over like some scene from Dante's Inferno.

At this point the process turned philosophical. Conceptually, I don't believe any yarn is ugly. I think the yarn just hasn't found the "right" pattern. Truthfully, I feel like some yarn IS ugly, but only in secret.

I wasn't going to quit. I was determined to make this yarn work. Enter Dublin Bay socks by Ryan Morrissey.

The yarn started to stripe in a pleasing way. The lace panel breaks up the stripes in a pleasing way. The "eye of the partridge" heel is, yeah, pleasing.

And now for a word regarding the yarn. The "special" in the title refers to the fact that this particular yarn was a color they weren't totally happy with when it first arrived at Knitpicks. They went back to the drawing board and sold the skeins at a reduced price. I love a bargain, and took a chance on it.

In general, yarn with the word "Tuscany" in the title stands a good chance of being a color I will like. When I got the yarn in the mail, I was afraid the evergreen and cranberry would look too christmas-y. Thus the seed of the challenge was planted... make it work.

I wanted to prove to myself that there is no ugly yarn. Just preferences and personal tastes.

By the way, Essential is a very soft yarn. Maybe everyone already knows this, but I learned recently that Essential used to be scratchy, but it is now soft. Which brings up another philosophical debate: sock yarns, soft or strong?

Soft sock yarn is a treat to knit and wear. However, it is more likely to pill and fuzz, and then wear out quicker.

Scratchy sock yarn is less fun to knit and wear, but will make harder wearing socks, and will likely last longer. Also, they potentially will soften in time.

I reserve my opinion on this matter until I have tried every single yarn on the planet, in the interest of research. It's a major sacrifice, but I am willing to give it a try!


Anne said...

Third time a charm! I have that pattern in my queue and seeing your version of it makes me want to move it way up. By the way--soft. If we have to knit more socks to replace the ones that have been worn and loved into a pilly mess, what's bad about that?

Macoco said...

I'm glad that you kept at it and found the right pattern for that yarn. It's looking very pretty. I'm not sure I would have had the same patience to to try so many different patterns. :)

Anonymous said...

Italians spend many hours matching the 'right' pasta shape with the 'right' sauce. You are continuing a long and classical tradition - and it looks very good!

Laura said...

That is so generous of you to test every yarn out there! hee hee. I have decided to make that "sacrifice" to test all cotton and bamboo yarns. We'll be martyrs together, m'kay?

Unknown said...

Way to go with the pattern in Kitty!!! I know you are tickled pink about it!!
The socks in this blog look great!!! With this yarn, did you use the same DPN size as the patter calls for? Pattern says size 1. Thanks!!! I'm Lesleyd on ravelry if you are there!

Star said...

Thanks all! I am using size 1 needles in fact :)