Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Opal Socks for pleasure knitting

As a hand spinner who raises her own wool, mohair, and angora fiber, washes it, cards it, dyes it and spins it from scratch, one would think I would be immune to the beauty of machine spun, chemically dyed, commercial yarn.  But there is a simple pleasure in picking up a ball of beautifully dyed yarn and just starting to knit on a project that can be completed in a week or two.

We brought in an order of Opal self patterning sock yarn for the Joybilee Farm studio gift shop -- 10 balls of vibrant colour.  It was too tempting to just roll them into the brass display bucket, untouched.  I stroked one ball and somehow it ended up in my hands, casting itself on to some dpns.  How did that happen?

It must be the fever.  Its going around town.  Its an epidemic so bad that they are threatening to close the elementary school -- 40% of the students are off sick and most of the teachers and subs are sick as well.  So its natural that I would be feeling a little nauseated, achy and feverish at the same time that the box came from the post office.  In my weakened state you couldn't expect me to resist the bold colours and simplicity of a self patterning sock.  And the stitches just jumped on the needles while I was adjusting the blankets around myself, while lying on the couch, by the fire.

One sock done and the second sock on the needles.
And here's the sock (Friday night to Monday night for one sock) so far.  I discovered that there are 5 repeats in the pattern in a 100 gram ball.  This gives you some waste yarn to begin the pattern on the second sock at the same place as you started the first sock.  There are also a few inches of off colour yarn between the pattern repeats (3 stitches worth) so you have a warning that the pattern ends here.

One pattern repeat was enough for the cuff, and I began the heel flap when the second pattern repeat began, and then closed off the toe when the third pattern repeat was looming on the ball.  The sock fits a woman's medium, so one ball of opal sock yarn would make a pair of socks in any normal foot size.

One draw back in using Opal Sock yarn has always been the lack of patterns in English.  The label has a sock pattern for a sock knit flat from side to side. (right angles to the normal way a sock is knit in the round).  But the pattern is in German so one must be bilingual to use the pattern.  I am not.  So this necessitates designing a sock on the fly and a new pattern.

That new pattern will be coming in a few days, so stay tuned...

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