sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Yarn porn pictures. Or: How I Stopped Reality and Learned to Love Stitches West.

Yarn porn ahead. Yarn pr0n. Sock pr0n, definitely.

I headed out to Stitches West today, taking the Amtrak/Capitol Corridor "Stitch and Ride" train to Santa Clara (part of the reason I took the Amtrak was to participate in the Stitches raffles they held, but the Amtrak employees only held the Stitches events in the first car of the train and didn't make any announcement, so myself and a bunch of other attendees were left out of the reindeer games...) Oh well, got some KOlympic knitting done (update later, porn now).

So, if you haven't guessed, I knit socks. Almost exclusively. There's a few reasons why... (as I try to justify this mountain of yarn here this post is supposed to be an homage to...) I can't fathom spending $100+ for a sweater's worth of yarn, but have not blinked an eyelash at the prospect of spending $20 on a pair of socks. To me, its a lot more project bang for the buck. I also have a very short knitting attention span, and am plagued by a hate of stockinette... socks offer me a project that I can switch patterns, techniques and such in-- all with a completion date that's usually within a week or so. I also won't handwash anything, (says me before today! wait for it, wait for it...) and sock yarn to me is only worth its 100 grams of salt if its machine washable. (And most of it is!) And finally and strangely, I am drawn to orange when knitting, and always manage to find some hint of oranges in sock yarns. Weird, eh?

So, saying all of that-- let me introduce you to the yarn friends I brought home from Stitches :)

*KOIGU*


Koigu Kpppm p32151



Koigu KPPPM
100% Merino wool
175 yd/50gm
3mm/US 3
Colors P32151, P326145, P3231, P32278, & P?

"Ah, koigu." There's a thread on knittyboard titled "ah, koigu" that's like 4 pages long. And it seems *all* of the koigu lovers within a 250 mile radius had honed into the Foxyknits booth when I was there. I have not been so jostled since my rave-in-the-desert high school days, and that's saying something. (Though, I'm not sure what.)

I picked up 2 skeins of the KPPPM P32151-- an orangey-bluey mix-- after I had failed twice in finding matching skeins to a single that I loved. The booth was swamped and I'm thinking the pickings were slimmed down quite a bit already.

I also picked thru their "short" weight box-- 22 cents a gram and they had some itty skeins and some bigger ones as well. These were intended to become baby socks for the baby, but I may be able to eke out another pair (stripes?) for myself with the 2 larger skeins. I'll have to take them to the post office to get their weight; the total for the lot was 110 grams.

*SHELRIDGE FARMS*



Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Ultra, 100% wool.
3 ply fingering weight, 175 yd/50 gm
3mm/US 3 needles
Color #12505 (?)

I knew I wanted to visit this booth and check out the yarn, especially knowing it was the yarn Cookie used in her Pomatomus sock pattern (that I finished in Fleece Artist, remember? ;) Anyways...) They actually had the Pomatomus sample from knitty in their booth, too! And the infamous leg!! I couldn't find the handpainted equivalent for sale, but think this handpaint will make a beautiful pair.

I was hoping to scope out their 75% wool, 25% nylon heathered yarn (socks of course), but I didn't see any.

*TESS' DESIGNER YARNS*



Tess' designer yarns' "Super socks and Baby"
80% wool, 20% nylon
approx 450 yd/100 gm
Machine Wash and Dry
No colorway listed

This was another awesome booth that made me feel lucky in that I am "only" a sock knitter-- they had delicious yarns arranged by color, not by content (so there was a brown/black yarn section, a pink section, a purple section, etc.) I had a bit of a hard time locating their sock yarn in this arrangement, but they had the *nicest* staff working there and I easily found this beauty. A "steal" too at $15/hank... if I'd had found more in different colorways I probably would have picked up more than this one.

*CHASING RAINBOWS DYEWORKS*




Chasing Rainbows "Sock Yarn" 55% mohair, 45% wool
300 yards, sport weight
Purple Haze colorway

I picked this up from the Fiber Elements booth. Normally I won't touch non-machine washable yarn with a 24" needle, but this was... different. I *knew* looking at it it couldn't be machine washed, but I still wanted it. A lot.

There's a sheen to this yarn, it has to be the mohair content, that is just incredible. And normally while I'm not a purple lover, the silver/grey is striking. And its soft, squishy mohair soft.

I spoke to the booth reps from Fiber Elements and asked if this was the "sock yarn" from Nancy Finn (my hank is not labeled "sock", but similar hanks in different colorways were-- same location as well), and was warned it was labeled as sock yarn from the dye artist (she really is, the others were gorgeous, too)-- but that it didn't have the "tooth" of most sock yarns as it lacked nylon and wasn't machine washable. And that it would make delicious, luxurious socks. Down I go into the world of handwashing socks :)

(I just noticed that Nancy Finn was at the Market, but I don't think I saw her booth! Crown Mountain Farms...)

*ELLENS 1/2 PINT FARM*



Ellen's half pint farm sock yarn
80% wool, 20% nylon
500 yd/4 oz
No colorway listed

Another beauty in sock yarn. I couldn't decide what I wanted at this booth, and finally settled on this really, really pretty yarn. (It was a tossup between this and a dark black/lighter black mix.) Its soft and fine, the finest gauge yarn I bought all day.

*HAND JIVE KNITS*



Nature's Palette by Hand Jive Knits
100% merino wool
185 yd/50 gm
Hand dyed with natural dyes
Odd duck colorway

I had this vendor on my "must see" list after reading Clara's Knitter's Review article on the company and this yarn. I'm fascinated by naturally-dyed yarns, and was floored by the colors that were achieved by this company. As it is a handwash only yarn, I decided to hold back and pick up enough for only one pair of socks... but the yarn is super great. It has a slightly uneven look where the twist looks in part to be slightly less twisted than other parts of the yarn, but I think this adds to the "mystique" of the yarn (and may be just a result of the skeining), and will not likely affect the final fabric.

*HANDSPUN ON THE WEB*



Handspun on the web's sock yarn
75% superwash wool, 25% nylon
400 yd/"weight for one pair of socks"
Colorway not listed

This was a neat vendor, she had lots and lots of rovings for sale and this wonderful sock yarn, too :) This colorway is *so* up my alley-- orange, blue, black. And its got that squishy skein thing going on... it'll knit up beautifully, I'm sure. She was also super nice and gave me a sachet of lavender with my yarn, though it is a bit too strong for me! :)

*LORNA'S LACES*



Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport
100% Superwash wool
200 yards/70gm (that's a deal!)
Sand Ridge colorway

Unfortunately I don't remember the vendor I picked this up from (no receipt!)... and I'm doubting the colorway, a bit. It is amazingly soft and a great deal (I didn't notice the skein size til now), and I'm hoping the color grows on me a bit more.

*LISA SOUZA KNITWEAR AND DYEWORKS*


Petroglyph


Mahogany


Bird of Paradise

Lisa Souza's Sock! Yarn
75% superwash wool, 25% nylon
4 oz/488 yards
US 1-2 (2.25-2.75mm)
Colorways Petroglyph, Mahogany and Bird of Paradise

This was, in my mind, the sock yarn deal of the entire Stitches Market. $14/skein. And Mr. Souza didn't charge me tax as I paid cash. AND gave me a pen, AND a rocking purple bag that helped me carry a bunch more purchases I would make later. w00t!

I am so glad I took up the suggestion from Knitter's Review Forums to check out this yarn-- I was almost going to take home even more colorways but I had to hold myself back. I also think that there must have been more colorways I'd missed, as there were a lot of empty spaces that I'm sure were helped to be that way by a throng of sock knitters who also saw the great deal they were getting in this yarn. Absolutely beautiful. I'm already planning a trip to TKGA's Spring Knit and Crochet Show in Oakland to make sure I catch up with this vendor again. (I should be evil and not say anything, but this is some pretty pretty yarn at a great price.)

*BLUE MOON FIBER ARTS*


Socks That Rock Velvet Moon


Socks That Rock Marbles


Socks That Rock Carbon


Socks That Rock Blarney Stone

Socks That Rock, Mediumweight
100% superwash merino
approx 380 yd/5.5 oz (!!)
Colorways Velvet Moon, Marbles, Carbon and Blarney Stone

Mhm, this wouldn't be sock knitting paradise if I didn't have some Socks That Rock, now would it?

Actually, when I hopped off of the shuttle from the train, this was the first stop I made, even though it was in the way back of the market. I kinda made my, "I'm going to Stitches!" decision when I found out the BMFA would be there, since I'd been reading so much about their yarns and I wanted to check out all of the different offerings. (But to only buy sock yarn, natch!)

They had 3 sock weights, light (which is the one available for order from their site), a medium weight (which I purchased), and a heavyweight (sorry, forgot to get size info!) I went looking for the lighterweight yarn but they had been absolutely decimated^ over the past 2 days, and only had one colorway left (that didn't suit me). No matter, the mediumweight is nice and the skein size ROCKS. 5.5 oz!! There's a *heft* to these skeins that's lacking from the other purchases I made today; I'm hoping to eke out pairs for myself and pairs for baby from one skein (We'll see!) It was also imo a great deal at $21/each (the prices varied per the weight; light was 18.50, med 21, heavy 27).

I also asked about the cotton sock yarn I'd heard blips about, but they said they were unable to get it done for this show. Good thing, this is a lot of yarn already :)

They also unveiled their "Rockin' Sock Club"... I hope they don't mind as I post these photos of the flyer they handed out at Stitches:





And all of that came on an adorable flyer with a mini-mini-MINI skein of "emergency sock yarn" attached. Adorable, no? Plotzworthy.

*BROOKS FARM*





Brooks Farm Fourplay
50% wool 50% silk
270yd/4 oz
Colorways 015 & 038

I didn't know Brooks Farm carried sock yarn!
Oh, yeah. They don't. (I couldn't help myself!)

The red is destined to be a luxurious pair of gauntlets (Natalya-- PDF!) and the brown/purple will be a scarf-- I'm thinking Ruffles from Scarf Style. Not sure, but it is soft. And silk.

And not sock, and not superwash. So this must be the end! :)

* * * * * * *

Man, that's a lotta robot. I walked the entire Stitches Market, saw great vendors that I didn't purchase anything from (washable sock yarn? no? okay, thanks for letting me feel up your mohair/wire/sari silk/soy silk/banana silk/dog hair?? etx.) I did stop and almost go for some Interlacements, but I'm glutted on their Toasty Toes at the moment and couldn't get past the herd at their Dyers Choice bin (great prices on closeouts). I didn't shop WEBS because, well it was a nightmare mob (they had their 20-25% off special on orders of $60 or more). I also didn't go thru anyone's bargain bins (sock? no? okay.) and fondled but was mainly looking at Habu Textiles with a "huh" look on my face. I stopped in at La Lana wools thinking they may have some naturally-dyed sock yarn (didn't see any), but that is some amazing yarn they have. I couldn't believe some of the colorways; they were so saturated-- I never thought you'd be able to pull so much color out of a "natural" dye.

I also hemmed and hawwed over the trekking/opal/regia patterning-fair isle-jacquard yarns but eventually passed on them all. I think my heart is tied to the handpainted (as you can see) :)

Only had a few disappointments... I wanted to check out Schaefer's Anne but was put off by the price and the selection I found ($26, would have been my most expensive purchase for 4 oz of fiber). I also found a colorway in Artyarns supermerino that I loved, but couldn't find the mating skein for it.

Well, there's probably more since I saw every booth and think I touched every yarn! ... but I'm tired-tired and need to get some more KOlympics knitting under my belt. And no, I have *no* idea what I'm going to knit next... I need the gauntlets for the cold weather, have strung the beads for my Glad Ragg Six Sox Knitalong socks already... but all of this sock yarn is calling out to be played with :) Its almost deafening!

Thanks for slogging thru this long post :)




^ "Decimate originally referred to the killing of every tenth person, a punishment used in the Roman army for mutinous legions." The things you learn fondling sock yarn.

8 comments:

Dave said...

Wow. What else can I say? Wow. I mean, like, WOW. :-)

lexa said...

WOW!!! You did a lot of shopping! I, too, shudder at anything "hand wash", but I am bidding on some hand-painted sock yarn on eBay that is hand wash. It's soooo nice, though, I hope I don't get outbid.

mf said...

I'm SPEECHLESS!! Still drooling! My total downfall can NEVER have enough sock yarns and there no limit.....LOL
Now why is it I can't seem to find the sock club on their site anywhere I want to sign up right away!?

Anonymous said...

Wow! (we're all wowing and speechless :)) - you did a good job getting thru Stitches and it's a good thing you kept thinking your mantra of "no hand wash yarns" - as it seems to have kept things to a doable level. Love the pics - wonderful!! Terry in SF

Stacey said...

Wow....wow....wow...you gave me a great list of places/vendors to visit who will hopefully come to MD S&W this year, and Stitches East!!! Incredible! I can't wait to start seeing socks from them!

Sarah said...

That's a great Haul! I just finished a pair of Jaywalkers in the STR Blarney Stone, and I love the colorway even more knitted than I did in the hank. Good luck with yours (and all of the other beauties)!

Pugknits said...

that is sock yarn porn alright..hehheh....enjoy your knitting!

knit chick said...

Ummm... WOW.

I hope to channel your sock-buying goddesses when Stitches comes my way.

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