Sunday, May 11, 2008

Grumbles

I haven't done much productive knitting this week, but I have frogged what seems like an endless wad of samples. Every morning, I grabbed my coffee and some neatly caked sock yarn (thank you, Roy!) and spent several hours trying to find an appropriate yarn for a few favored patterns that have been in the Experimental Pile (some of them for years).

After seven days of this, I had a large pile of yarn squiggles and a headache.

What I really wanted was a soft, squooshy sock yarn with long runs of variegation. Well, guess what--there doesn't seem to be such a thing, at least on this planet.

Every pattern looked spectacular in the yarns I don't care to knit with--Trekking XXL, Julia's Vinca, and Noro's Brillo Kureyon Sock Yarn.

Every pattern got lost in the yarns I love to handle--Lisa Souza, Claudia, Cherry Tree Hill, and Soxie.

The basic problem seems to be that the yarns with glorious color variations are not very soft, and the touchable yarns were either too splotchy or zingless.

This conundrum also plagues lace yarn. The long-color-runs are found in yarns that are a bit harsh--JoJoLand's Melody, Yarn Place's Graceful, and Yarn Treehouse's Merino Print. And the touchable yarns--Yarn Place's Gentle,Touch, and Angel, for example, only come in plain colors.

While I am whining, I might as well utter a high-pitched plaintive cry about Angel's color selection. Take that, Yarn Place!

Don't get me wrong--plain colors are lovely and most appropriate for complex lace. But after you've seen LaceFreak's Legends of the Shetland Seas, you'll probably agree that those long color runs can transform a merely pleasant pattern into a spectacular finished piece.

In Other News
I did actually accomplish something this week. Hanabi is half-finished (I will post a picture next time.) And the Vinca yarn from Julia's Craft has turned into an interesting pair of socks. Total cost for the yarn was about $6--2 balls (@ $2.99, 255 yards) are needed for a pair. It's a slightly fuzzy marled yarn and a wee bit splitty.

As you can see, I made no attempt to match the coloration, being a dedicated lazy knitter. Roy says the yarn is quite light and soft on his feet. Knitting with Vinca isn't an overwhelming experience, but the color shifts are inspired, and make me want to keep knitting so I can see what will happen next.

25 comments:

Opal said...

This is why you need to learn how to spin your own yarn. ;-)

Batty said...

That's what I ended up doing with Noro Brillo (love it!): Just plain stockinette socks. All attempts to do a pattern were thwarted by the thick and thin texture, and the the stuff killed my hands.

It sure is pretty, though!

Dave said...

Have you tried Meilenweit Mega Boot Stretch? It has long runs of colour and feels not too bad. Not really sproing, but kind of woolly. But I like what you neded up with, and you certainly can't beat the price!

Anonymous said...

An option I've been considering is to dip dye or paint a large rectangle of stockinette. Inspired by the outfit Flat Feet I'm going to borrow my friend's fine gauge knitting machine and create a large blank in some white fingering weight. I don't know how it will work out but I thought it would be easier than dying superlong skeins. Or maybe I'll have to learn to spin.
eadaoine

KSee said...

lovely coloration on the socks. I'm just learning about different yarns and never heard of most of these. As they say you learn something new each day.

Laritza said...

The socks look great. You need a spinning wheel or blanks to dye to your hearts content :)

Anonymous said...

Would Twisted's stuff work? Her Etsy shop is pretty much gone, but she's got a new website and a presence on Ravelry.

fleegle said...

Dear Anonymous:

I made a pair of socks with Twisted's yarn and they were very pretty, but definitely striped, not smooth transitions. And worse, believe it or not, the socks stretched about 50% in the wash. We plan to boil them at some point to see if we can get our normal-sized socks back.

fleegle said...

Dear Opal--

Year ago, I owned a flock of sheep, two spinning wheels, two looms, a drop spindle. I also heated my house in frigid Maine winters with a wood stove using wood I cut up with a chainsaw and then split with an ax.

Now I have a thermostat and a credit card :)

loribird said...

Alright, wood-cutter lady... I'll spin some squooshy, long-runs socks yarn for ya. Just let me know what colors you want - I've got the whole summer ahead of me and a neglected wheel to make amends to.

shell said...

I love how the colors are coming out on the socks, but I agree with Opal - you need to learn to spin! (Yes I am a evil enabler)

KarenK said...

I tried the Vinca too and gave up - too splitty, and I didn't like the fabric, even knitting with tight tension on size 0 needles. My hands ached, my joints are too old to stand up to that kind of pressure. I think I could double it and make some cute kids' socks, though.

I echo Dave's suggestion about the Meilenweit Mega Boot Stretch, that's a good one.

Janice in GA said...

Have you tried Dream in Color Smooshy? It's a bit more mottled than stripey, which may not be what you're looking for, but it's nice to work with and reasonably soft.

clarabelle said...

The Vinca socks are great (I like them best when the colours don't match up) - I tried to buy some, but they don't ship to the UK (waaah).

Kristina B said...

Can't comment on sock yarn. However, regarding the "mismatched" socks - a friend of mine just got some clear plastic Converse All-Stars. I think this pair of socks would look smashing in them! :-)

smittenknitten said...

I've been toying with ordering Julia's Vinca and just may, I'm looking forward to seeing your finished mismatched socks :).

Carol said...

Oh yeah. I totally see what you mean by the long colour runs. Love! The
vinca is nifty too, colour changes and tweediness. Nice combo.

Sue Fulay said...

Dearest Fleeg (I just wanted to say that once),

If you want something with subtle but great shading and a soft hand you must/should look at:

http://www.littleknits.com/products.php?cat=492&pg=3

or (see bottom of page):

http://www.littleknits.com/products.php?cat=492&pg=2

I love Pat love her yarn - this is not an all alturistic post but I think/know, her yarns are way under the radar and her colors are rockin!

PS. Every day I open a package I hold my breath for your Trenna entry. :P

Soo said...

I realise this is in now way helpful to you -- but I take great comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in the great pattern/yarn matching conundrum!

LittleBerry said...

I know what you mean about wanting to knit lace in a lets say vareigated yarn with longer colour runs than 6" or so that aren't garish and don't really produce pronounced stripes..... Solids are nice for lace but they can get a little monotonous...

The only offer I can suggest for sock yarn is Lana Grossa Mega Boots Stretch and they definitely wont match unless you cut and rejoin the colour sections not even I'm that dedicated!!! I quite like the Trekking Ombre but think you said that didn't do it for you...

--elf-- said...

One of my secret plans for when I'm a Lady of Leisure is to start a little yarn company specializing in loooooong color repeats/gradations like the famous Kauni or Noro, but in soft yarns! I think there would be a good market for it. Now I just need a bunch of spare time, a bunch of startup money, and knowledge of how to start and run a business....

--elf-- said...

Um, I guess I should have finished reading my blogroll. I think this new line could work nicely:
http://theuniquesheep.com/Colors/gradiance.htm

Jane said...

I love the way those socks look and I actually like my own socks not to totally match. Roy is very lucky :-) I agree that it's tough to find soft lace weight with long runs of color and short of making your own or ordering it custom, I don't know what else can be done about it :-( As for the spinning I know you've "Been there, done it to Death". Perhaps a sacrifice to the Yarn Goddess?

tracyb said...

Really, it's like people are afraid to say how rough Noro Sock Yarn is! Yeah, the colors can be pretty, but I don't think it's much fun to knit with! Love that you called it Brillo!

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but is the Knittingsoftware Yahoo!group still active?

I've been waiting for quite a while for an moderator to allow me to join so I can access the group files, but I haven't gotten any response.

If not, can someone make the JKnit and Laceknit fonts available for download?