Thursday 10 March 2016

Ooh, purple yarn

Hello! It has been a while. I am still working on my thesis, but am getting there. For the past few months, knitting has been limited to socks, mostly vanilla ones as my brain is occupied with too many other things to work on anything complicated.

While I said no more blog posts until I submit, I had to tell you about my latest pair of socks, knitted in Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock. I had seen this yarn online, and added it to my birthday list, but when I saw it in my local yarn store a couple of weeks ago I had to take a ball home with me. I went for colourway 05, Mutek, a purple background with rainbows running through it. Essentially if someone had said 'design a yarn with colours that are perfect for Vikki', they may well have come up with this.

I was excited to get the yarn home and start it immediately. So much so that I decided to knit one sock from the outside of the ball, and one from the middle, two at a time, as the way the colour emerges from this yarn there is little chance of getting socks that match. This goes against my usual sock-knitting approach - I like my socks to match! For a little while I worked on socks with one purple toe and one green toe; I'm not sure I even made it to the end of the toe increases, it turns out I can't bring myself to knit completely mismatched socks.

I unravelled what I had knitted (easier said than done; this experience reminded me why I like my yarns neatly plied - this is much looser, almost a single, even though it clearly has two colour plies), and carefully rewound the yarn into two balls. This yarn does not want to make matching socks. It does have a repeat, but the repeat has mirrored rainbows with different colour main threads running through them (pinkish for one rainbow and a much bolder purple for the other), and weighs about 30g! And the colours change very gradually, making it very hard to find identical sections of yarn, even in good light. In the end I gave up trying to match them and went for a rainbow going up one foot and down the other, but both socks having purplish toes.

Occasionally the socks matched, for a row or two!
Progress was fast, in some ways necessarily so - while I love the colours in this yarn, I didn't terribly enjoy the knitting experience. The yarn dyed my hands faintly purple, and frogging was almost impossible, partly because I found the yarn rather splitty - if I didn't knit these fast I was never going to finish them! I made change from my usual heel-type, which requires being able to accurately measure the row gauge for the gusset placement, and went for the Fleegle heel instead, which relies on you trying on the sock and starting the gusset at the point where your foot meets the base of your leg, far easier than trying to measure row gauge on this yarn. The heel was a nice change. The construction is somewhat curious and you end up with a triangular heel flap. The heel uses a surprisingly small amount of yarn; I quite enjoyed it.

I whizzed through the rest of the socks, and ended up with a pair about 10 days after I started them. They are really warm and cozy, and the colours are beautiful. I shall reserve judgement on their durability - the yarn is very loosely plied, and was a little fluffy in places once I'd finished knitting them. The yarn does contain 25% nylon, which should improve durability, but these might become bed-socks as I'm not sure they're going to stand up to the abuse of being worn in shoes. The socks had a good soak last night; it took three rounds of water before I got all the loose dye off them. I might use this yarn again, but probably for a shawl or scarf rather than as socks and it's definitely going to be washed before use.

Back to the thesis now. Normal knitting, designing and blogging service should resume soon. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with my knitting progress by following me on Instagram.