Monday, 28 March 2011

Strangeness and Charm

A Tale of Two Yarns (2KCBWDAY1)

Sometimes, I really cannot handle the unpredictability of sock yarns.  Take for example Hot Socks Circus 

"Wowzers!" you might rightly be thinking, "that is one exciting lookin' ball-o-yarn!".  There's no shame in it - that's exactly what I thought too.  It's also exactly the thing that made me buy a ball, even though I'd already gone over twice my craft budget for the week ("Shush your lips, Responsibility!")

Next comes The Choosing Of The Pattern.  Most sane people choose their patterns first and then purchase an appropriate yarn - a sensible way of doing things.  But as you may have gathered from my rebellious approach to budgeting ("Kim, do you really need food this week?"), sensible isn't really part of my repertoire.

A quick delve into my ever expanding Rav queue provides me with something promising though: Sharon Maher's Suggestion Square  And I figure that I can do something like this amazing rainbow.  Next thing you know I'm hooking like a good'un...

...until this happens.

It's not even an 'ugh!', it's an 'aaargh!'

What happened to those lovely colours?!  What is the point of a teensy tiny colour repeat?  Why do sock yarn designers insist on including those silly speckle things? 
Just why?!

So now I'm stuck.  I really want to carry on with this idea I've got.  I convince myself that maybe it's not so bad, I just need to make a few more...


I know it's not really awful, and that some people make really good use of the speckles, but it's just not what I wanted...

Then a lovely shiney bright light of hope: another Rav yarn search, and off to ebay I go ("Just pay your rent next week, I'm sure the landlord won't mind").

Oh my!  Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Lace, I think I'm in love!  ("Hot Socks who?!").  Since ebay doesn't provide any pre-purchace squidging ops, that has to be made up for upon delivery.  I squidged and stroked and just looked at this for ages.  All 800m of it!!  Quite perverse really...

But yes, we've been through this before.  And although this time I'd had a sneak preview via Ravelry's project pages, I still wasn't entirely sure if it would work.  So out of cowardice more than anything, I started some of Gaby Vicente's Square Shells rather than the original blocks.

...and holy moly!  I'm LOVING how these come out

I'll be making lots of these.  LOTS.  And then some more after that.

Except that they're TEENSY, and not at all suitable for blanket making.  And now, having previewed this post, I think I want to try the Suggestion Squares with the Zauberball.  Gaaah!

My conclusions on sock yarns then are thus:

Really the problem with self-striping or self-patterning yarns is that you can't tell what it will turn into just by looking at the ball.  Sometimes it's obvious, and sometimes you can have a little check via Rav, but not always.  It's especially difficult when your LYS is a good 35 minute train journey away, because that's when impulses get the better of you ("If you buy it now, you'll save money on another train ticket.  It's practically a half price deal!").

It's not that I don't like the Hot Socks (well, stupid speckles aside, but I can live with that).  I love the drastic colour changes, I love the texture and the feel of it on the hook, I even love the shorter colour repeats in small doses.  It's just not really what I'd hoped for.
And as for the Zauberball, I'll admit it's not entirely perfect ("Shhh, it might hear you!"), but it's as close to perfect as I've ever found in a self patterning yarn.

Perhaps the only real problem left to discuss is user error? ;)


Tickety-boo said...

Oh I LOVE Hot Socks Circus! I used it for a shawl then used it for socks but I agree it isn't so good for granny squares. Have a look at the Elise shawl on Rav it works great with Hot Socks.
I busted my budget today to and bought some hand dyed yarn who needs food anyway?! I'm sure the kids can live on cornflakes for the month.

Kasia said...

Your little squares in Zauberball look amazing! So pretty! This yarn might be my next crafty purchase. The colours are just breathtaking!

Beautiful blog!

Ruth said...

The thing with variegated yarns is that they often don't work up well in crochet motifs. I can't tell you why; they just don't. But they might work well in some sort of ripple stitch. My mantra is: you have to let the yarn talk to you.

Ms C @ HappyElastic said...

I thought it was just me who justified online yarn purchases by offsetting them against what it would cost in petrol plus the parking money.

mamaluke said...

It must come down to taste, as I quite like the square with the hot sock circus. I guess they might be designed for knitters not crocheters...

lily said...

Varieagated yarn can be a little unpredictable when used in crochet, but I still love the effects in your squares.

Lovely blog,