2016 Knits (So Far)

I think I can well and truly say that I found my hobby.

I joined the Desert Vista Dyeworks Unofficial Sock club this year. Basically, you knit one pair of socks using DVD each month and earn discounts on DVD yarn, other yarn-y notions, and if knit one pair each month for 12 months, you get a free skein of special yarn. I really, really wanted to knit a lot of socks this year so I thought I’d try it.

DVD socks

January | February | March

For March, I decided to share the sock love and offered Jesse a pair.  He picked out the colorway called Slinky. We had a good laugh once I started knitting it up. Everything in our house seems to be gray, blue, orange, and yellow lately.

otherknits

I’ve also managed to finish two cowls and a pair of socks.  The cowl I’m wearing was knit using the Purl Bee Big Herringbone Cowl pattern. I used two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in colorway Alpine Pearl that I purchased at The Yarnery when I was visiting the Twin Cities (that place is packed with lots of good yarn – I love to visit).  My bind off isn’t great – and it rolls a little at the edge – once it’s wrapped around my neck, you can’t even tell.  And I love how the variagated yarn looks with the herringbone pattern.

The other cowl was one I finished in about four hours of knitting time.  I had just finished my March DVD socks and was staring at my stash trying to figure out what to do next when I spotted these two skeins of gorgeous Tanis Fiber Arts Gray Label in Margarita.  I wound them, cast on 135 stitches in the round, and just used a simple seed stitch (alternating skeins) until I was out of yarn and then bound off.  I love how it turned out.  And it’s perfect for the spring season.

The other random pair of socks were supposed to be a present, but they didn’t get done in time so I added them to my own sock drawer. I used Simply Sock Yarn Company’s Poste Yarn in Christmas Island. I purchased a couple of skeins of Poste and I’m not 100% on how I feel about it. Do you have a favorite sock yarn?

So that’s my quarterly yarny review (brought to you in large part to the first 4 seasons of Breaking Bad).  I have a couple more projects I’ve wound and I’m impatiently waiting  for April 1 to start so I can cast on my DVD socks.

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  • I love seeing all your knitting projects, Kate 🙂 . That herringbone stitch pattern is GORGEOUS, but oh my gosh it looks complicated! (I clicked on the link and checked out the instructions). Did you find once you got the hang of it it became pretty easy?

    I would love to know if YOU have a favourite sock yarn, Kate! When I chose yarn this past fall, I specified to the shop owner that I needed an uber-NON-itchy merino (both my daughter and I are fairly sensitive to wool), so was steered to the Malabrigo and to the Alegria. The Alegria has the 25% polyamide for strength, but the Malabrigo didn’t … and very disappointingly, one of the Malabrigo socks I knit for myself in December already has a hole. (And I admit I almost cried … I will darn it, but still … ). Needless to say, I’m really really really hoping the Alegria will be more durable (I had bought four skeins of it, and have finished two pairs for my daughter and am just now working on the first pair for me). And speaking of socks, I’ve been meaning to ask you, do you find your knitted socks slowly get smaller and smaller with each wash? (This seems to have been the case with the Malabrigo, which possibly explains the hole). (I machine wash cold and hang to dry).

    • I’m going to look into the Alegria!! I love Malabrigo, but I’ve never knit socks with it! I wish I could recommend a sock yarn. I’ve purchased a lot of indie dyers and my two favorites are Mustache Yarns (it’s next to impossible to get a skein on her website – she sells out so quickly. I’ve picked up one ravelry and one I lucked out by stumbling on an update time and setting a reminder on my phone. I also use The Lemonade Shop on etsy (usually I order on her mighty sock or sparkle sock bases). For commercial dyers, the only sock yarns I’ve used are Knit Picks Felici and they only do special runs. I have a couple of skeins of Reggia stashed but I haven’t given them a go yet (I know a lot of sock makers love them.) I will say that I’ve NEVER knit a pair of just merino wool socks. I almost always have 20% nylon and usually 25. I’m too hard on my shoes/socks and I know it wouldn’t take me any time at all before I had them destroyed otherwise!!

      I usually get some shrinkage my first wash but I don’t notice much more than that. I wash cold gentle cycle, reshape a little (sometimes) and hang dry. Do you have sock blockers? I only use mine when I’m shaping mine for the first time, but they might help gently stretch your yarn back to size while it’s still wet?

      I love talking sock knitting. 🙂

    • I forgot to answer your question regarding the herringbone pattern. It’s actually really easy. I made a herringbone scarf for my husband a few years back and it took me about 5-10 minutes to get into the swing of things and then I didn’t even need to refer to the pattern. With this cowl, I referred to the pattern a couple of times regarding the stitch marker (I could never remember when I was supposed to move it) but the actual stitch itself is pretty simple. 🙂

      • Thanks, Kate! I’ve been wanting to make myself a scarf for quite a while, and if I can ever manage to tear myself away from the sock knitting, this herringbone stitch is definitely going to be the pattern I use!

        And no, I don’t have sock blockers, but I have been gently reshaping my socks after washing them. In future I won’t ever again risk a 100% merino yarn for socks. Once I’ve knit up the last ball of Alegria I’ll maybe try out the Reggia — I know I’ve seen it in my local store, and after googling it (now that you’ve mentioned it) I see that a lot of people say it’s a very durable sock yarn and that it’s also not itchy.

        On hand-knitted socks and luxury … I would say they are “luxurious” (or they can be, depending on the yarn), but I’m not sure I would agree that they’re a “luxury”, but my rambling thinking on this matter is probably an entire post so I’m just going to stop right here 😉 !

  • Hand-knit socks seem like such a luxury. Your posts make me want a pair, although I’d have to buy them. I love your first orange-y purple-y pair. I never did pick up needles this winter, and now that it is spring I’m guessing I won’t until (maybe) next winter. So many crafty aspirations, so little time! I will have to just live vicariously through you. 🙂

    • They really ARE luxurious. Between the cost of the yarn and time, I’ve heard more than once I’m a bit crazy to make something I can buy for $5 a 10 pack, but I love making them.

      And I have decided life is far too short to fit in all th crafting I want to do!!