Monthly Archives: August 2008

Ramen Yarn – A Review

Ramen appeared at our shop by happenstance when a group of wild and crazy knitters showed up right before their Alaskan Sock Cruise.  They made us laugh, shared their projects, their lovely bags (I actually considered hiding one of the bags), cheerful smiles and then showed me a pair of socks they were knitting.   Ramen in its pretty package This is when I saw Ramen – dyed by Emma of Dragonfibers – and knew I had to have some.  No spoon for this Ramen or even a fork, all you need is a desire for great color and a sense of adventure (a pair of needles would help too).

The infamous test knitter who got me hooked on this yarn is Shannon and she was punished for her deed by having to write a review for Ramen!  Here is what the sock addict had to say:

OK, I’ll admit it from the start, I’m prejudiced. And it’s not just that Emma, the Queen Dragon of Dragonfibers is a close friend, or that I’m a charter member of her sensational spinning fiber club, or even a regular customer of her other yarns and fibers. I am a sock yarn fanatic. Given this fact, I have to admit that I was predisposed to like Dragonfibers’ Ramen Sock yarn from the very beginning. But Ramen is something special.

The whole concept is based on the popular sock yarn “blanks” that we have seen recently from popular dyers and yarn companies, where fingering weight yarn is knitted into a double-knit Ramen in Sangria piece of material on a knitting machine. The fabric is then dyed and offered as is to be knitted directly from the fabric.

Knitters generally praise these for their innovative form and for the way in which they knit up. In a nutshell, some truly wild and beautiful color patterns and gradations result from these yarns. However, one issue that has been raised by knitters is that the blanks are just plain hard to wind and that they are difficult to knit from.

This is where the Dragonfibers’ genius comes in. The Ramen Sock yarn is dyed as a flat sock blank by Emma, but then frogged and wound into two 2 ounce balls of socky deliciousness. The name derives from the crinkly, kinky texture of the yarn once it has been frogged and wound into cakes. All the gorgeousness of the sock blanks and none of the frogging pain! And what gorgeousness it is. Instead of sharply defined stripes or variegations, Emma’s magic dyeing fingers produce a gradual, Noro-esque gradation of colors. This opens up a whole range of patterns for knitters to use. Ramen would look equally good in simple knit and purl patterns as well as lacy eyelet patterns. Unlike some other multi-colored yarns Ramen color schemes does not detract from more complex sock patterns.

As a test knitter I was gifted with what we jokingly called “Shrimp Ramen Yarn” because it resembled the colors on a package of shrimp flavored ramen noodles: a shrimpy peach, soft Ramen in water Lily yellow, and mulberry. I used my Ramen for socks for ladies’ size 9 feet while using the Anastasia pattern with U.S. 1.5 double points. As an experiment, I also knitted the leg a bit longer than I ordinarily would have taking the yardage for a test drive too.

Maybe I’m easily amused but I was utterly fascinated by the color changes as I knitted along. I loved how the colors smoothly blended into each other and transitioned from one to another. The wavy texture of the yarn was easier to work with than I had expected. Knitting with Ramen felt different than the usual sock yarn texture but not at all unpleasant and once washed the fabric maintains none of the crinkle, the resulting fabric is firm and smooth.

Ramen is made of a 3-ply superwash wool and nylon blend (75/25), and it is soft. In addition the yarn has generous yardage with 425 yards per 4 ounce. I knitted calf length legs in my socks and still had an amazing amount left over. I also think Ramen is more than a Ramen in Harvest Color Line just-a-sock yarn. This yarn is made for a variety of projects; I’m considering a hat and mitten set next.

PS. Mom, you HAVE to return my Ramen socks back to me! I am your only child for goodness sake!


Silence of the Blogs – no more!

When I go through my blog bookmarks there is always one or two that have been inactive for a long while, which makes me wonder what may be going on with the blogger in question?  Is she away, is she not well, did she simply take a break and the most important, when and if she will come back and post again?

For me it has been a combination of things and I did take a break to resolve some site related issues, to sleep more and to decide how I wanted the blog to evolve.  After weeks of intense data conversion work we are getting ready to launch our new website with better functionality, advanced search options and simply put a new website that will be much easier for you to use.  I did sleep a little extra but not that much and I constantly thought about what I could be writing while trying to take a break.

So hello!  I hope you are here reading cuz I have much to tell.  First bit of news is the new Ella Rae Book Eleven that comes with 14 lovely bags to knit and felt.  The patterns in the book primarily use Ella Rae Classic, a basic worsted weight wool that is similar to Cascade 220 with a few differences: Ella Rae Classic is slightly softer; unlike Cascade 220 it comes in 100 gram skeins that do not need to be put into a center pull ball (ready to be used right away), and the price at $5.50 per 100 gram hank makes it a great deal.  It also has a huge color range.

The new Ella Rae Book Eleven has lovely bag patterns.  Some of my favorites include:

Sushi

Sushi

Picnic

Picnic

High Tea

High Tea

Plum

Plum

and, Chocolate…here is me naming a few.

chocolate

Just a quick entry to say hello and now a good night from an unusually warm Seattle evening.  I am thinking a glass of cold water with a little bit of lime juice may not be so bad.  It is too late to have ice cream, right?