sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Noro Kureyon sock yarn

...or, how Article Pract rocks all yall's socks.

New Noro Kureyon Sock yarn

I went to the monthly Article Pract yarn tasting yesterday against my better mindset... it was sock yarn, can you blame me? In addition to being laden down with lots of sample sized skeins and a 25% off coupon (!!), Christina gave the attendees who were there in person each a mini-sample of the new Noro Kureyon Sock yarn that she had hooked up from her Noro rep. Knowing so many were interested in it and thinking about placing a pre-order, I thought I'd share a few pics and quick observations.

The yarn is a very tightly spun single with no bounce-- it's finer than any sock yarn I had on hand when not under tension. It still had a lot of twist energy in it as a single like this likely will; I'm usually not concerned about knitting (particularly socks) biasing but if you were working a pattern that needed to lay absolutely straight, it may be important to you to swatch and make sure it will. It is not soft like so many mass marketed sock yarns-- the combination of no bounce/squish in the yarn, being tightly spun, and being spun from a coarser wool than most (merino) sock yarns is likely a factor. I didn't get thru much of knitting it, but didn't see any "hay" or VM in what I did knit :) It was very, very slightly thick and thin (more like occasional slubs/thicker parts in the yarn)... very much in line with my worsted Noro experiences, but nothing that would throw your gauge off wildly or would even be noticeable when viewed as a whole knitted piece.

I'd guess that it'd do best (plain stst) on US 0's... I prefer knitting finer sock yarns like Lorna's and Schaefer Anne on US 0's, so it does depend on personal preference. I probably wouldn't go over a US 1 with it though for stockinette socks-- I think the fabric would be too open. I haven't knit it up in plain stst and washed the swatch though; it may plump up and be appropriate for larger needles, but unwashed like this I would reach for my finer sock knitting needles.


Left to right:
Noro Kureyon sock yarn, Lisa Souza Sock! yarn, Schaefer Anne, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Louet Gems Pearl (fingering), Trekking XXL, Koigu PPM, Socks that Rock lightweight

One gauge to its fineness is the yardage to weight-- the Noro Kureyon sock yarn is 462 yd/100 gm. To compare, Lisa Souza Sock! would be 398 yd/100gm, Schaefer Anne would be 495 yd/100gm, Lorna's Laces would be 430 yd/100gm, Louet Gems fingering would be 370yd/100gm, Trekking XXL is 462yd/100gm, Koigu PPM would be 370yd/100gm, and Socks that Rock lightweight would be 283yd/100gm. Keep in mind that the Noro Kureyon sock yarn is more dense than the other yarns it's pictured with-- it may look thinner than the Trekking where they are the same weight/yardage, but it's much more solid.

When I first heard about the Noro Kureyon Sock-- both seeing the pics of knit up socks and samples and knowing it was a 70/30 wool/nylon blend, I was convinced that it must be a dyed yarn and not one that was semi-handspun in blocks of color. Now, seeing it and knitting with it I don't think it's a yarn dyed into stripes but one prepared/spun like Noro Kureyon (separate colors of wool spun together into a striping yarn)... but I can't be sure. The pics of the knitted up socks show the yarn has definite repeats (like a dyed or printed yarn), where Noro yarns with their semi-handspun qualities are not so consistent with their colors matching up... but from what I knit, it doesn't look dyed and has definite color gradation/transition between color blocks more in line with traditional Noro yarns. Then again, I thought I read someone on Ravelry saying that her Noro rep had only *undyed* Noro Kureyon sock yarn to show off (of course I can't find that now)... so, I guess time will tell! :)

Speaking of knitting, where I don't know if I'll jump at the first chance to knit up socks with the yarn (I'm just really averse to US 0's lately, but I'm sure I will sometime), Christina and I both had the same thought about other potential Noro Kureyon Sock projects...

Toddler mitten* in Noro Kureyon sock and Louet Fingering yarn, inspired by Kauni Cardigan
US 1.5/2.5mm 4" glove needles

We both thought it'd probably be a good stand-in for the super popular Ruth Sorenson Kauni cardigan (pdf!) and other colorwork applications. I think the Noro Kureyon Sock yarn has a shorter color striping than the Kauni, but for someone like me who wants to knit the Sorenson cardi in a toddler size, it'd definitely work. These mittens were knit over 54 sts, and you can see that the purple, while changing slightly from grey to deep purple, is a very long repeat. (I had no idea how much mitten I'd be able to get from this little ball of yarn! I expect to see lots of toddler mitts with it in my future...) The above mitts were knit on US 1.5's since that's the smallest 4" needle I have, and the Louet is heavier than the Noro but it was the only scrap I had enough of to make a set of mittens with... worked okay :)

The Noro Sock would also be easier care than the original Kauni yarn for colorwork cardis, I don't think it'll felt as readily as the 100% wool of Kauni and should be easier to find stateside once it's shipped to retailers... I washed/abused/rubbed/smacked/shocked the above toddler mitten by trying to felt it (the white/green yarn was leftover Louet Gems Pearl) and it didn't felt or bleed. That was all done by hand in very hot tap water and Kookaburra, the real test will be machine washing... but the yarn withstood my immediate felting test well imo. Sue from littleknits has a scan of the label and it says handwash only, so the real test will come with a real sock in a washing machine :)

I know Article Pract has ordered every color (!!) of the Noro Kureyon sock, so you can always call and ask them to hold onto a colorway (or five!) you need to have when it makes its way into the store :) As you can see, Article Pract *rocks* and it's where I'll be shopping for my Noro sock yarn :) (It'll be pretty much the same price everywhere, so support your local LYS!!) I'm definitely going to use some for colorwork knitting in my near (post-holiday knitting) future, either for myself or my son. Can you wrap your mind around how striking Pomatomus would be in this yarn?! :)

Okay, NOW I'm off into the vacation sunset. See yall, miss you already!

* No real pattern for the toddler mitten. Fits my almost 4 year old, mods easy as far as length (continuing/reducing patt repeats) and width (either remove patt repeats or use smaller needles.) Assumes knitting on 5 needles, 4 holding sts & 1 working-- with an even # of sts over n1&n2 and n3&n4.

RH mitten: CO 52 sts, k2p2 for 2". Using chart from Kauni cardigan above, start chart and inc 2 sts evenly across rnd for 54 sts. Follow chart, knitting til 2" of colorwork is completed (or, where thumb separates from toddler's hand). K1, k8 onto waste yarn, replace waste yarn back onto lh needle and continue knitting in pattern. Knit in patt til desired length (tip will add approx 1" in length), break colorwork yarns and k1 rnd in cuff color. K1, ssk, k to last 3 sts on n2, k2tog, k1 across 1st 2 needles (repeat for n3 & n4-- 4 sts dec each rnd.) Work dec rnd until desired length reached (mine was 6-7 sts?) cut yarn, draw thru remaining sts & weave in. Pick out waste yarn for thumb and divide onto needles, picking up 1 st at each "turn" for a total of 18 sts. Knit in stst until 1/4" shy of length desired, k2tog around for 2 rnds. Cut yarn and draw thru rem sts & weave in.

For lh mitten, you can place the waste yarn thumb by knitting to last 9 sts of thumb placement rnd, k8 onto waste yarn and replace sts onto lh needle, k9 in patt and create thumb as above. (This'll keep the rnd change/stripe jog on the inside palm of the hand.)


Toby said...

It sure is pretty. I'm hung up on it being single ply though and instead of impulse pre-ordering (as tempted as I am) I think I'm going to wait see what kind of luck people have with it.

Thanks for the detailed info and comparison to other yarns!

Red Dog Knits - Kristi and Otis said...

Happy and sunny vacation! Those toddler mittens are gorgeous! Where is the pattern for it????

lexa said...

Noro sock yarn! Wow! Yes, Poms would be excellent knit in the Noro.

karrie said...

Dangit!! I am jealous! I should have gone. I am super happy that they will carrying it though!

adrienne said...

Thanks for the info! I wonder when my local stores will get some :)

HPNY Knits said...

oooh! lucky bean! thanks for the yarn report. when I first heard of Noro sock yarn, my firs thought was hats.
mittens are a great idea. the little nylon will make them warmer and resist wind more, and wash better!
(crucial with kids!)

Rachel said...

You have no idea how timely this is, seeing as I am meeting with the Noro rep in 9 hours. Seriously.

Stacey said...

Webs is also stocking the Noro sock yarn - as well as the Kauni yarn - I'm amazed at how thin it is! I love bounce in sock yarns, so I'm not sure if I'd use this for socks but instead for other stuff like gloves, mitts, etc.....thanks for the comparison though - very helpful!

aquaknits said...

Thanks for the review! It definitely looks thin, size 0's for sure I think. The colorways look great though, I'll have to get my hands on some.

Chris said...

Thanks for the review!

Lisa said...

Thanks for such a thorough review on the yarn. I don't think I am going to try it just yet. I prefer sproingy type yarns and this one doesn't seem to be that way at all. Beautiful colors though.

Kristine said...

oh, noro sock yarn...that could be a very serious addiction. I loooooove Noro. Noro is the reason I learned to spin.

Linda said...

I just finished a sock with the Noro and washed it to see if I'm even going to make the second one! It is so scratchy to knit with, I love the colors, it looks like a rainbow sock, but it didn't soften up much even after a hand wash in Eucalan. It doesn't have much memory so I did a sock top of K4 P4 rib on size 2 needles, I think for me size 1's would be better, I knit tight. If you don't knit tight, you'd need 0's. I am going to wash it again, this time in the machine (label says hand wash only) in a bag and see how it does and if it softens up any more. Maybe another project out of the 3 skeins I have left would be a better choice than socks -- boo hoo. Colors are really wonderful.

soapy said...

Thanks for the great comparison info!

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