I’m picky about the yarn I use for socks. I prefer to use many of the gorgeous hand painted yarns for shawls and other items that I can wear and more easily display their beauty. I wear my socks hard twelve months a year. Since my first pair of socks (see also: their ravelry page), I discovered by experiment what Clara Parkes‘s teaches in her book [full review coming soon] The Knitter’s Book of Socks that the content and construction of sock yarn is quite important. I have a few favourites I turn to for my socks because they are of content (wool/nylon blends) and construction (tight multi-ply) that survive my feet.
I’m not hesitant to try new yarns but I am hesitant to invest in a pair of socks in a new yarn. I was intrigued however by the content found in Lorna’s Laces Solemate. Outlast? When my feet are always frigid? I decided that the next chance I had to look at the yarn in person I would decide if it met my criteria to be worth the budget splurge and the unknown result. One sunny Sunday this past December, E and I took our annual trek up to Northampton to Webs and en route I told him why this item might come home with me. He agreed that it was not something to dismiss due purely to budget, we’d see what other yarns insisted on being adopted by me, he understands the warehouse. After standing at the shelf talking to the yarn, trying on the outlast oven mitt samples, touching the knitted swatch, I picked up a skein and tentatively decided I might want to try it. I carried the skein all throughout the rest of my shopping, petting it, talking to it, trying to confirm the colour was the right one, and almost returning it to the shelf several times. I drove E nuts by constantly asking if he thought it a good idea and asking him to try the oven mitt on again and if he thought it worked. For once I didn’t succumb too greatly to the warehouse and since I’m writing this post, we know the result, the yarn came home with me.
I’m very happy it did. I found the yarn an absolute delight to knit with, silky smooth and strong. I did not experience splitting while knitting, even when I knitted during my morning commute. I had heard a few negative reviews but my feet continued to beg me to try. They have been happy for this mild winter, but still are eager for new warmth opportunities.
After completing these socks on January 8th I’ve worn and washed them several times. I’ve treated them gently, by handwashing, and roughly, by washing in the machine. I hang all my socks to air dry. Even today they look just about brand new. Much better than almost every other pair of wool-blend socks I own after two months of wear. My feet have been comfortable wearing them. We haven’t had super cold weather for me to say if the Outlast helps a considerable amount, but I’m almost without care if the technology delivers. Why? The yarn has held up beautifully. There is no felting at any of my normal trouble spots.
As for design, my basic toe-up sock with one of the heel flaps, I’m not sure anymore if I more closely followed the guidance of Cat or Wendy — I’ve used their heel flap instructions multiple times and I have probably merged the two in my head. In any case, they fit me perfectly and that matters most. I wanted something reminiscent of an inky doodle to go with this great colourway that I want to put into a fountain pen. I went with a shadow cable that runs up both sides of the foot and the leg of the sock, turning into an almost braid. It didn’t quite come out as I expected, and by the time I got to the cuff I was too impatient to design something nicer so it’s just ribbing.
I’m happy I used only about half the skein. I can knit another pair! Though my hands are begging me to give them mitts instead. I’m asking them for patience because I hope Solemate Sport will be released soon.
Ravelry project page
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Solemate in Grand Street Ink. Purchased at Webs, December 2011. Used 0.57 skeins, or 242.3 yards
Needles: 2mm (US 0)
Project Completed January 8, 2012