Friday, January 4, 2008

Knit One, Kill Two

Our favorite Lois Lane gifted us some lovely sock yarn for Christmas: one skein of Trekking Pro Natura in colorway 1601 and two balls of Zitron Lifestyle in colorway 1876. She also passed along some of the knitting mysteries by Maggie Sefton, which I love without ever having read a page for the spectacular puns in the titles. Needled to Death, people? A Deadly Yarn? Does it get any better than this? No, it does not, Reader. You of all people should know.

I'm sure, however, that your mind has never left the yarn, and I can't say I'm surprised. I was faced with a terrible choice, Reader: which yarn should I choose for the simple sock project that would take my mind off the sweater debacle? If I were a stronger person, I'd have waited until Lilyriver came back from France and let her decide what she wanted, but I, I am sorry to say, am not so good, nor so patient, and I've been eyeing the Zitron Lifestyle for awhile. It did not disappoint. It's a 100% superwash merino sock yarn, and I'm guessing the base yarn is Louet Gems, because it feels just like Koigu. It's just flat-out a pleasure to knit with such a well-spun, elastic yarn. I cast on 64 on 2.5mm dpns, did 5.5" of cuff in 3x1 ribbing and a 2.75" gusset. As you can see, I've finished one sock since Tuesday, and I'm about halfway through the foot on sock #2--I've never knit socks this fast before. Admittedly, this is partly because I've been glued to my Heroes season 1 boxed set, but a lovely, non-splitty yarn really helps. (I broke out the DPNs for the first time in awhile, and I think that for me, DPNs are faster than 2 circs. 2 circs have many other advantages, but I don't think DPNs can be beat in terms of speed.)

The drawbacks: the yardage for the Lifestyle is scant. Not quite Colinette Jitterbug scant, but two balls (100g) total only about 340 yards instead of the more standard 400ish. I had to rip back my first sock and start the toe decreases earlier so I'd be able to make them long enough to accommodate size 10 feet. I finished with maybe 2-3 yards left. Most people would find the yardage just fine, probably, but I like to make the leg part of my socks pretty long. The yarn is thicker than, say, Trekking (100g of Trekking Pro Natura has about 460 yards), and the ball band says you could get away with needles sized 2-4 (US) instead of the usual 0-2 (US), which helps make up for the comparatively little yardage. But that brings me to drawback deux, which is the durability factor. I've mentioned here, I think, that one of my Koigu socks got a hole on the bottom after less than a half dozen wearings and washings. I also knit those on 2.5mm (that's a 1.5 US for non-knitters). (I patched up the hole with some regular wool in the hopes that it would felt, and so far it seems to be working fine.) I tend to be hard on socks, so I'll be watching these to see if the Koigu/Louet Gems hole was a fluke or if I just need to stick with sock yarn that has some nylon in it.

If you want some of this, I'd recommend Astrid's Dutch Obsessions; while she's shipping, naturally, from the Netherlands, she charges $6 a ball instead of $10, and she has all the solid colors of this yarn, which are numerous and not widely distributed in the States.

No comments: