Monthly Archives: December 2007

Merry Christmas to All!

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, love and good health during the holidays.  And, of course, a happy new year! 

Mellow takes a quick nap  

Kureyon Sock, A Review

The long waited Kureyon Sock is here and it is everything I had expected plus some.

I actually had a skein of Kureyon Sock for the last month or so.  I knitted a swatch and then gave the rest to a customer of ours for a review.  I wanted to have an independent perspective on the yarn.  Below are my thoughts on the yarn and then his feedback.

Kureyon Sock is a single ply yarn much like the regular Kureyon line.  It is also spun roughly and has a slight thick and thin texture.  A close up of the Kureyon Sock Ply Each 100 gram skein has approximately 457 yards of yarn, which is sufficient for a pair of average size socks.  I have been asked often if the yarn is too rough and/or itchy and my answer to both questions is no.  However, if you are looking for a soft sock yarn or a super soft knitted sock this is not the yarn for you.

On the skein Kureyon Sock feels slightly softer than the regular Kureyon but with a twine like texture.  When I knitted my swatch with my skein (color #180), I started with US size 1 needles, which I found too small for the yarn.  So I switched to US size 2 needles and that worked much better.  On size 2 needles I got 6.5-7 stitches to an inch and I was able to enjoy the texture of the yarn much better.  Noro Kureyon swatch  

Both on the swatch and the sample sock knitted by our independent reviewer Steven, the thick and thin texture showed nicely and added a rustic look to the knitted fiber.A Close up of the Kureyon Sock

Before blocking my swatch had a slight overall fuzz, much like other single-ply wool yarn.  The swatch was softer than I had expected, definitely softer than the yarn as it was on the skein.  I blocked my swatch by soaking it in cool water and then gently pressing the water out.  The gauge or the size of the swatch did not change but it did get slightly softer.

Kureyon Sock before blocking The sample sock was knitted by Steven and I did not block it (the photo to the left is pre-wash).  I wanted to find out what would happen if I were to wash the sock.  While the yarn band recommends gentle hand-wash only I have read multiple posts on Ravelry that this was not a must.  So I threw the sock in with the heavy wash in warm water with jeans. 

I was surprised to see that our sample sock came out OK.  It did not shrink at all but the fiber became a little fuzzier and looked more like it was felted.  The colors held steady and none of the yarn came loose.  So I threw the sock in to the wash one more time and again nothing much happened!  I did not machine dry our sample sock both times I simply laid it flat to dry.Kureyon Sock post wash  

While our sock survived machine washing well I would not recommend this process for your socks.  I believe our sample sock did not change in size due to Steven’s tight gauge – he knitted the sample sock with size 1 needles, which did not leave an allowance/space for felting.

I also had my 2.5 year old wear the sample sock all around the house for a day (pre-wash).  If you know little boys you know that they can clock in quite a bit of mileage on an average day.  The sock held and with one day of use it did not pill at all.

Same color, same dye lot and a HUGE range What appeals to me the most about Kureyon Sock is the richness of the colors and the way color lines show on the knitted fiber.  Currently Kureyon sock comes in 12 colors that are same as the regular Kureyon colors lines.  However, given the yardage on each skein colors show a little differently on Kureyon Sock; one gets a wider range of colors for each skein.  I know I should not single out one color line but I cannot help myself, color #188 is simply dreamy.  I love the combination of deep moss greens, lilacs, deep lavender and finally amethyst like purple with occasional silver like beige.My favorite color of Kureyon Sock

In summary, if you like the regular Kureyon line you will like the Kureyon Sock line.  If you have never used the Noro line and you would like to try the Kureyon Sock be ready for a unique experience.  It is my humble opinion that with its new line Kureyon Sock, Noro will have a dedicated following.  One final note, if you would like to have a small sample of Kureyon Sock please let us know, we will include one with your next order.

With all that here are Steven’s thoughts:

My first experience with Noro Kureyon yarn was about a year ago when my wife knitted a beret for herself.   I was really impressed with the vividness of the colors as they came together in bold, textured stripes.  When I found that Noro was making sock yarn, I jumped at the opportunity to try it!  
Noro started making Kureyon sock yarn available in the US earlier this year.  The yarn composition is 70% wool and 30% nylon, which should add to the strength of the finished product.  One skein will easily be enough to knit a pair of socks for a man or woman.  
When I’m knitting a pair of socks, I’m not as concerned about color as I am about sock construction. I thought I would feel the same when I started this project. In fact, I didn’t even know what colors were tucked inside the skein of yarn. The center-pull yarn was a turquoise-like color. Nice enough. But as I continued knitting, I was really surprised how excited I got when the colors changed.  Burnt oranges. Deep purples. Bright yellows. Every color was amazing. 
Noro Kureyon yarns are essentially still hand-spun, which means that the width of the yarn is smaller for a while, then thicker. The inconsistency of the hand-spun yarn also adds to the attractive texture of your sock. This change in thickness bothered me at first.  When I got to the thinner part of the yarn, it would tend to pull apart in my hand.   (NOT what you want in the first inch of rib knitting!)  My tension was a little too tight at this point.  I had to adapt or the project would have ended up in the trash.  Unfortunately, this was also the hardest thing for my fingers to get used to.  The Noro website recommends that you knit gently.  This is good advice. KNIT GENTLY!
I had some concerns about the strength of the sock. The label recommends using needles that are size 2 or 3.  I used size 1 needles, resulting in a tighter knit stitch and a stronger sock. (Modify gauge accordingly.) I also decided to add a stronger heel flap than I might use on a machine-spun sock yarn.  (My heel flap was a simple but strong k1 sl1 repeat on the right side of the flap, p the wrong side. I also slipped the first stitch in each row to make the gusset stitches a little easier to pick up.) Another possibility might be to knit some sewing thread in with the Noro yarn on the heel turn and toe. This might be overkill, but I would rather have a pair of socks that will last a good long time than have them wear out in the heel!  
Overall, this was a nice yarn to work with. Most of my complaints were based on operator errors, not the yarn itself. Once I got used to the different texture and thickness of the Noro Kureyon sock yarn, things moved along nicely. I ended up with a sweet little sock that has bright and brilliant colors. It will make someone’s feet warm and happy!

Need an idea for a quick gift or two?

Well, here is one. :)

Free Washcloth Pattern My friend Ada sent me an email with a link for this washcloth that is made with Crystal Palace’s Cotton Chenille and I am knitting one.  The decision to knit one (or more), was made simpler as we have the Cotton Chenille on sale at the store (insert sheepish smile here).Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille - Beautiful Colors

But seriously, this is a really simple and functional gift.  I am going to enclose home made olive oil based soaps with mine and presto, I have my gift!  So I thought I would share the link, just go to Canadian Living and the pattern is there for you to see.

Thank you Ada!

Hope you are all well and knitting with a smile.

Bamboo, Pandas Like It & We Do Too

Just in case you did not notice we slowly started introducing new yarn lines from South West Trading Company.  We now carry their yarns and patterns.

Twize in a Black/Red/White Tweed First it was Twize, a beautiful 100% bamboo yarn with a silky hand and great drape, as a closeout. 

Greta - A Free Twize Pattern Twize comes with free patterns and it is great for lighter garments and of course, non-wool scarves and accessories for that no-wool person in your life.  Or, for you, if you would like to try something different in bamboo.

Tofutsies Sock Yarn at Little Knits I also just finished listing Tofutsies and just when I thought I had all the colors listed we received the limited edition December Tofutsies and free pattern (special edition colors come with free patterns). 

 Free Tofutsies Patterns It is past midnight and I just came from a long walk with Mellow so it is going to have to wait till tomorrow evening.  But you can see all of our other colors on our website.  Tofutsies is a sock yarn with a rather unique fiber mix including 50% superwash wool, 25% Soysilk, 22.5% cotton and 2.5% Chitin (made from shrimp and crab shells).  Each Tofutsies skein weighs 100 grams and comes with enough yardage for a pair of socks – strike that if you wear size 12+ shoes. :)

Tomorrow I will be listing Karaoke, a 50% wool, 50% Soysilk yarn that comes in solid and variegated colors.  Karaoke can be used for knitting and felting projects.  Good news, we do have closeout colors that we will be listing on sale.

I have over 75 new yarns on hand waiting to be listed and a couple of new yarns that I CANNOT wait till they get here.  I am going to keep them as a secret hope this is OK.  I am not sure which one will show up at our door first but I assure you, I will let you know before I listed them on the website as I am so in love.  I cannot wait to get them on my needles.  OK, enough teasing. 

Mellow and I were out for our nightly walk and it is absolutely gorgeous out there.  We had snow last weekend – SNOW IN SEATTLE! – and it was cold cold cold.  The next day (Sunday), it melted but we kept getting ice mixed with rain.  Today it is warm!?  There is a wild wind out there but it is not enough to make one fall and it brings the smell of the Puget right up the hill. 

I know you did not walk with me tonight but wish you could have…so, imagine yourself walking in a warm Seattle night, wind blowing your hair wildly while you smell the sea all around you.  Then imagine passing by houses already lit up with Christmas lights, surrounded with lavender bushes and the smell of lavender and Puget is all around you.  Then imagine stopping by what we call the ferry-hill to watch the ferry come back from the islands all lit up in the dark of the night on Puget. Then imagine Mellow sticking his wet nose in to your hand to remind you that he is there and wants to go back home.  That was my walk.

Hope you are all well and knitting with a smile.