27 September 2007
Jennifer sent us a few sample skeins last week, one of which was this prototype sock yarn in an alpaca/bamboo/nylon blend. Since it was a 50g skein and since I tend to be fairly slow at finishing socks, I figured a baby sock would be the perfect test drive project. So I wound the skein off into a ball and cast on for the picot hem Tuesday evening before heading over to the Yarn Sellar.
Everyone at Chicks with Sticks had fun fondling my ball, as it were, and commented on how soft and shiny the yarn is. It does have a very nice luster to it. I got most of the leg done while chatting there and worked the heel and finished off the foot last night, and then washed it before heading to bed last night. So the photo, taken this afternoon, is post-finishing and post-washing.
I really like this yarn. It halos a bit, but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. It's nowhere near as fuzzy as Bearfoot sock yarn, and I really like that yarn. The haloing can make tinking or ripping out a bit more challenging, but I didn't find, when I did have to tink a few heel flap rows, that it caused any serious problems with the integrity of the yarn. I'm not sure, though, how well it would hold up if it had to be ripped back multiple times.
One thing that I did worry about with the bamboo content is that most of the bamboo or bamboo blend yarns I've seen tend to be very splitty, including another prototype skein we have here at the house. Fortunately, I didn't find this to be an issue at all with this particular yarn, even using US 1/2.25mm Brittany dpn's, which have relatively dull points.
When I talked to Jennifer about the yarn this afternoon, she mentioned that a couple of other test knitters have commented that the gauge comes out too fine for their tastes. Since I cast this on and just made it up on the fly, I didn't have a very good sense at that point what the gauge was. So I checked, and it turns out that my gauge was quite different between the top and the bottom. The hem measures out at 8st/in and the foot is measuring at 10st/in (yikes!).
I had a sense that I was knitting a bit more tightly on the foot, but I didn't realize that it was by so much. While this may not make a huge difference on a baby sock, I could see it being a bit more of an issue on an adult sock. Looking at the two areas, as well, it seems to me that the 8st/in would be a bit too open for a sock foot and not hold up to wear quite as well. So given current trends towards sock yarns that knit up around 7-8st/in, it would be interesting to see this done in a slightly heavier weight. Not too much heavier, though, as my friend Kit pointed out that it would also be a nice yarn to work lace in, and I very much agree.
Overall, I found this a very fun and enjoyable yarn to play with, so I'll definitely be saying more once Jennifer has a final version ready to go.