I knew this yarn was coming out but it took me a few months to see it in a shop and be able to squish it. I was actually looking for a contrast yarn to go with some West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply Mallard (shade 862) for a pair of socks that I was going to knit for my Father-in-Law (size 10 feet = never again!). The yarn does provide a nice contrast for the WYS's colours but I decided against it and chose the WYS Signature 4 ply cream instead.
Of course, I left the yarn shop with both yarn types - just in case I changed my mind...
So, I stashed the one skein of Iolite (shade 109) that I had bought from Sew - In (Cheadle store). It stayed stashed for a couple of months until two key things happened:
- I started The Crochet Circle Podcast (http://thecrochetcircle.podbean.com) with my friend Lynne (http://lynnerowe.weebly.com/). Part of the podcast is to provide book and yarn reviews.
- The Crochet Project's Joanne Scrace and Kat Goldin teamed up with Rachel Coopey at Coop Knits to create a 6 accessory pattern booklet called Crochet Yeah! which is based on the Socks Yeah! yarn.
I finally decided that I would crochet the most difficult pattern in the book - the Evesham Socks (http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MaDashper/evesham-socks) because it would really help to put the yarn to test as a sock yarn.
Each of the 10 available colours has a very subtle colour blend/marl through it. The Iolite shade that I chose is predominantly dusky blue but has hues of heather and sage through it too. I have likened it to the mother-of-pearl effect that you get in shells and it brings a sophisticated colour blend to the yarn that may not be immediately obvious. Here are the 10 shades available:
Crocheting with Socks Yeah!
The yarn has quite a high twist which makes it perfect for crocheting as this really helps to prevent splitting. It gives great stitch definition and the nature of the blend also brings great drape to the fabric - but not so much that you don't get structure in the finished piece.
I enjoyed crocheting the first sock, the yarn glides through your fingers and has a really silky (but not slippy) texture. I was using a standard steel crochet hook and I didn't have any issues with the yarn wanting to fly away. Although the yarn calls for a 2.25mm hook and the pattern calls for a 2.5mm hook, I used a 3mm hook because I am a tight crocheter. The results can be seen below:
As mentioned, I used the yarn to crochet up a pair of socks for myself. What I haven't mentioned is that I am fussy and beyond that, I am particularly fussy about things touching my feet.
Did I mention that I'm fussy? As much as I really enjoyed crocheting the sock with the yarn I really wasn't convinced that I was going to make the matching one. I didn't think that the lace pattern would keep my feet warm and I wasn't convinced that the Half Treble Crochet sole was going to be comfortable when I stood up. I finished the first one, reflected for a moment and then put it on.
I may be fussy but I am also very happy to admit when I am wrong. I was wrong. It was about 12.30am and I had forgotten to put socks on earlier in the day so my feet were pretty icy. The yarn is so cosy that the effect was immediate and my feet started to warm up. Luckily the rest of the family was in bed as I walked around the kitchen island repeatedly with one bare foot and one encased in loveliness.
A couple of minutes walking around the kitchen does not a mean that a sock is comfortable though. Fast forward about a week and I had finished the second one so that I could properly road test the yarn and the pattern.
I have a stand-up desk in my office and on the day that I tested my socks out I spent well over 9 hours standing up in them. They are comfortable. They are warm. The yarn tag says that they are machine washable at 30 degrees on a wool cycle. All of my delicate items go through the wool wash (it is a 40 degree wash) in my washing machine - including 100% cashmere items so I thought that I should test that socks under the same conditions because I don't want to have to hand wash them.
They were washed, line dried and then finished off on the radiator in the house. The socks are exactly as they were when they went into the machine - but clean! No shrinking, no stretching, no pilling, just straight back to their original shape.
Knitting with Socks Yeah!
Given that I had a little bit of yarn left (about 20g) I thought I would also test the yarn for sock knitting. I used the yarn to create contrast cuffs, heels and toes for a pair of socks for my best friend's little four year old boy (http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MaDashper/basic-socks-2). The main yarn was Regia Design Lines - Arne & Carlos in the Summer Nights shade.
WARNING - cute child sock alert!
It is probably unfair to compare the two yarns but they have a similar wool:yarn ratio and pricing point. In my opinion the Socks Yeah! yarn was much, much nicer to knit with than the Regia.
So, the crux of it it that Socks Yeah! is a delight to crochet and knit with and I will definitely buy more and make more crocheted and knitted socks with it. The drape that the yarn gives would also lend itself to camisoles and shawls.
If I have one very slight niggle it is that I would like information on the skein ticket and website about where the yarn is grown and spun. I happened to come across it on a Ravelry thread anyway. This was the response that Rachel Coopey gave to another inquiring mind:
"It is south american merino (with a no mulesing guarantee) and it is spun in Peru."
I wasn't sure what 'mulesing' meant and why you would need a guarantee against it so I looked it up. You can find details here via Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulesing