Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sock Wool 3

My mom came back from Europe recently with some sock wool under her arm and a request from my uncle for some socks. She got the wool on sale, dirt cheap, it's Lana Grossa's Meilenweit Cotton Stretch Azalea, which is 41% cotton, 39% wool, 13% nylon and 7% elastic. Self-striping in a purple/brown/green colourway, it's not a product I would've chosen, but what the heck. She brought me enough for at least 3 pairs of my work cut out for me there!

Anyways, it's on the needles now, and as with all wools with elastic in them, it tends to fight back. It's heathery in appearance thanks to the elastic (which is plied together with the wool), plus the self-striping means that fancy stitch patterns are a waste of time. I'm doing a K2 P3 waffle pattern, very plain. But it looks like it'll produce a nice pair of manly socks, probably hard-wearing to boot. **update** the yarn is not holding up as well as I expected, likely due to the high cotton content. Cotton is weaker than wool under damp abrasive conditions, so I'm finding wear spots after some months of wear...

[Meilenweit Cotton Stretch Azalea]

On our last trip to Portland I again stopped off at Knit Purl and had my husband choose a sock wool. He picked a beautiful Madelinetosh Merino Light in "vanilla bean". This is 100% merino superwash, beautiful dark olive colour with mauve highlights (what this has to do with vanilla beans, which are almost black, I dunno...). It's very thin (like Malabrigo) so I may try my new 1.75mm circs on it. I'm concerned about the wearing properties so I will try to find some nylony stuff to knit into the heels and toe.

Finally, I recently finished a pair of socks in Malabrigo sock (colourway Aguas). Lovely, lovely stuff. I can't get enough of this wool. The socks wear well, felting a bit on the inside of the foot and developing a slight halo of fuzz with washing, but nothing to detract from the stitch patterns. The only problems with this product are that:
  1. it's hard to find (out of stock in most places)
  2. it's expensive ($18-$20, plus shipping, for 100g)
  3. the colourways are inconsistent. You can't judge the colours from online pictures; what you end up with may be very different. Makes it hard to buy online.
**update** the 2 pairs of socks I've made with this wool now have both worn out. Over about 1 year, I've had to darn them multiple times, and they have felted quite a bit, even on the leg. So unfortunately I am de-rating this yarn (for socks!)...reserve it for lower-abrasion applications!
[contrast this picture of Aguas from an online retailer...]

[...with my image. Mine's much more green and far less blue.]

And I'll finish with the unhappy news that Araucania Itata is not a repeat item for me. This wool/silk/bamboo blend looks nice, but its wearability leaves a lot to be desired. Not suitable for socks, IMO.