Today we’re saying hello to a new ball of sock yarn. It’s very pretty, and a little bit out of the ordinary, and not really in my usual range of colours, all of which intrigues me. I was drawn to it during my day in town last week with my friend Alex, so today I bit the bullet and walked back to the local yarn store (Norfolk Yarn in Pottergate, Norwich) to buy a ball. They had other, more vibrant colour combinations in stock which would normally appeal to me, but it was this pale biscuity-beige one which had plagued my thoughts from the start. I was tempted by the idea of also buying one in which a muted mid-blue predominates, but I decided to guard my pennies. Maybe next time.
The idea behind this sock yarn is that it has been printed to guarantee pattern matching across the two socks, much like the Regia Pairfect sock wool which you may have come across. You discard the bright yellow on the outside and the cuff and leg begin with the plain main colour – the biscuity-beige in this instance. Then you get a multi-coloured section for the main part of the leg before coming to another plain section which is used to work the heel. Then you get more multi-coloured joy to knit the foot. As I have relatively small feet, I expect there will be a bit to wind off before I hit the midway point of the ball where I should find another bright yellow section to discard before I am back to the plain beige to begin the second sock.
I am looking forward to experimenting with this. It was my intention to have a new set of 2.25mm double-point needles to use with it, but I nipped into our branch of John Lewis and they didn’t have the ones I wanted so now I don’t seem to have an option other than to order them online. I wonder if this indicates that sock-knitting isn’t really a thing in Norwich, or if everyone is using the magic loop method on a circular needle. Or, and this is a scary thought, are all the Norwich sock knitters so knotted up with anger or anxiety that they are able to achieve a nice tight tension on the 3mm double-points which seem to be the smallest our local stockists think we need? To be fair the ball-band of this wool suggests 2.5 to 3.00mm needles to achieve 30 stitches in every 10cm knitted. Does anyone actually manage to knit that tightly? If so, it would certainly explain the tendency towards RSI amongst the knitting community.
The ball-band has a photo to show the effect you can expect from knitting your socks with this yarn. As to the technical information, the yarn is a pretty standard commercial blend of 75% wool and 25% polyamide, marked as Superwash and machine-washable at 30℃. It has a pretty nice feel to it in the ball and I’m looking forward to seeing how it knits up.
The reason I’ve dubbed this a Surreptitious Sock is that the yarn is rather elusive. It is listed by one or two online stockists, but Katia’s own website doesn’t mention it at all. I bet this means that it is an old yarn which has been discontinued and only some random balls are still knocking around, or possibly it’s an experiment that didn’t make it to mass production. Either way, if I’m interested in that mid-blue colour it might be wise to snap it up sooner rather than later. I’ve found it is the nature of the commercial (as opposed to hand-dyed) sock yarn industry to produce small runs of a set of colours and then move on to a new set. Regia and Opal – the two most prolific sock yarn producers in Europe – certainly appear to use that model. I’m waiting patiently (or not so) for the new set designed by Arne and Carlos for Regia to land. I’ve watched their video introducing this latest collaboration and I’m very taken with it. How fortunate that I am at the point where I need to stock up on exactly this type of yarn!
So, that’s two knitting posts in a row which means that Friday should be another delve into the inky side of life. I’ll see you there.