I love sock yarns. It is incredibly hard for me to resist adding them to my stash. I do try to fight the temptation, I do try telling myself that there is no way I can go through all the yarn I already have in the next year, two years… and still my stash is growing faster than I can knit it. And I knit fast. Very fast. I love my stripy Harry Potter Opal, I was also thrilled to bits to find a bag of bargain Regia in Kaffe Fassett Landscape Fire Colourway at the Knit and Stitch show. We split the bag with my friend and I strongly suspect that by doing so I gave her the sock yarn virus. Oh well… Another big brand name I have in the sock section of my stash is Malabrigo. The glorious flow of colours in their semisolids is breathtaking, especially with deeper shades.
And of course there are indie dyers – small companies hand-dyeing yarns and selling them directly. I can’t get enough of the Plucky Knitter yarns for their stunning, unusual colourways. Devon Sun Yarns and Mollycoddle Yarns are the British dyers I look up frequently . I recently discovered Trailing Clouds and their “Mind The Gap” colourway just jumped into my basket, somehow. It may have something to do with the fact that “Mind the Gap” is so beautiful yet difficult to find in stock… I love the hand painted self striping as much as the feel of this yarn and have my eye on two other colourways. I know that if they are there when I open the page I will not be able to resist.
It also doesn’t help I’m an active member of “Addicted to Sock Knitting” facebook group – the “addicted” in the group name is there for a reason and the group really should come with a big “causes addiction, if you don’t have it yet” warning. It collects amazing sock knitters from around the world and admiring their work is usually connected with stash envy. In that way I have built an arms length list of American yarns I have to try . Recently I added Modeknit, Madelinetosh, Knitpicks Felici, Turtlepurl, Stray Cat, Groovy Hues Fibers, White Birch Fiber Arts, Knit Mona and Miss Babs to my immediate queue of yarns I’m having cravings for.
There are also my favourite Irish dyers. Dublin Dye Company is my firm favourite when knitting socks. Their semi-solid colurways are sophisticated, somewhat muted and the yarn is consistently strong and durable. Another dyer I use a lot and wish I could use even more is Coolree. Luxury bases combined with amazing colours – irresistible.
I do knit socks a lot. But some of these fingering weight yarns are so unique, so stunning I don’t really want to put them to hard wear and tear socks need to suffer. I want to cherish them, stroke them and enjoy their feel during the day. This is where sock yarn shawls come in – I collect patterns for sock yarns as enthusiastically as patterns for actual socks. The small light shawls are just perfect for finishing the outfit while adding a little warmth in a windy part of the world I live. The dash of colour can cheer up a dark or tired outfit – really, a girl cannot have too many of these light practical shawls… They are also a small, quick knit, so while the yarn itself may be luxury, all is needed is a skein – unlikely to break the bank.
Here are some of my free favourites, just in case you wanted to try one before you go and commit to shawl craze. The warning though – shawls are as addictive as socks, go and knit at your own risk.
1. Afternoon Tea Shawl by Helen Stewart
2. Glam Shells by Maiden Brooklyn
3. Izhitsa by Patusha
4. Easy as Pie Shawl by Maiden Brooklyn
5. Haruni by Emily Ross
6. Multnomah by Kate Ray
7. Dragonfly Wings by Boo Knits
8. Gingko Shouderette Shawl by Maggie Magali
9. Janeway by Delusional Knitter Designs
10. Oaklet Shawl by Tricksy Knitter
11. Calais Shawl by Judy Marples
12. 3S Shawl by Amy Meade
13. Sirppi Shawlette by Lankakomero
14. Queen of Hearts by Valerie Johnson
15. Wellenbrecher by Edda Foken
16. Red Emperor by Ailsa Daly
17. Blossoms by the Brook by Ilga Leja
18. Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherley
19. Good Day Sunshine Shawl by Amanda Bjorge
20. Glitz at the Ritz by Helen Stewart