Soxy Lady Can Take You Places

It is easy to shy away from yarns that have “Sock” anywhere in its name, or on its label, after all a few crocheters work up socks, but not most. However the name really should not place a limit on its possibilities.

Sock yarn is typically a lighter weight, either a fine or lace weight and sometimes even a light weight. By weight I am meaning the diameter of the strand, the smaller the diameter the skinnier the yarn, the smaller the weight. Some yarns will identify this on a numbering system, in which case sock yarn can range from a number 1-3, with a number 2 being the most common.

Diamond Luxury Soxy Lady www.lindadeancrochet.com

Diamond Luxury Soxy Lady yarn

I have been playing with Diamond Luxury Soxy Lady, which is comprised of 60% superwash wool, 20% alpaca, and 20% nylon, with a generous yardage of 437yrd/400m/100g per hank. It is soft in the hand and creates a nice stitch definition. It has a bit of springiness yet not enough to compete with the openness of lace work.

There can be a benefit to working with a sock yarn, especially if you are not use to using “luxury” yarns. One of the most obvious benefits is price. Price per yarn makes this a very economical value. In some cases you can make a complete shawl from a hank or two of sock yarn, and feel like you have created something of heirloom quality.

Another benefit is that it is usually created with some durable fibers. Often the fibers will be machine washable, such as superwashed or boiled wools, making lit more family friendly and easy to care for. It usually contains a filament that gives added strength to the overall yarn construction and use, such as silk, nylon, or some polyesters. This fibers are strong and wear well, and when you ideally make socks you do not want to replace the heels all that often. So the yarn is designed to wear better and hold up longer.

Often the color variety is vast and the selection of yarn is great. Smaller yarn companies offer a sock weight yarn, and fun colors are always available. Some have short color repeats, some have long color repeats, some have muted tones, and others are vibrant. There really is a lot of selection.

The Soxy Lady by Diamond Luxury fit all the above characteristics, and I can see great possibilities for it in the future.

Silk Blend- It Is My Weak Spot

I have to admit I have a weak spot for silk. This weak spot could have grown as a child, with the thought that silk was an ultimate luxury, something to glamorous and out of reach. Regardless, it still has a special place for me.

Manos del Uruguay has a nice yarn, Silk Blend, that the name alone attracts my attention. It is a single ply yarn that is made up of 70% merino extra fine and 30% silk. So merino extra fine, is essentially wool from the sheep breed Merino, and the extra fine notation indicated that the micron count is very high (micron count is the measurement of the diameter of individual fiber, the higher the number the smaller the micron count, the soft the fiber). This yarn does live up to the label, it is soft, a real joy to use.

Silk Blend www.lindadeancrochet.com

Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend yarn

The silk offers strength and a subtle sheen to the yarn. Silk is one of the strongest fibers available and like wool it holds warmth. Silk shares a lustrous quality that adds a warm radiance in the overall appearance, while using its strength to add integrity to this single ply. Even with the fibers being warm this yarn seems very breathable and I would be happy to work a light weight sweater in it.

The single ply of this yarn does give me a bit of a pause. Even though it has great stitch definition, really allowing the stitches to shine, it has a bit of a halo. It does not readily pill, but I think that after continuous use, or multiple times being ripped back, that it may become a bit unruly and not nearly as fun to use. So keep the project simple, and one that you feel comfortable with the stitches, and you will only notice the fine qualities of this yarn.

Each hank is 1.75oz/50grams, with a substantial 150yrd/135meters, easily making a beanie or fingerless mitts. I would feel comfortable with a few hanks to make up a nice scarf or wrap.

Subtle Twist- Sets Lotus Apart

There are always subtleties that create a difference in yarn. One is something that is mostly taken for granted, the direction of the ply. This might seem like a moot point for a topic to discuss, as most all yarn is spun in a similar fashion, the individual strands are spun in a counter-clockwise direction, then plied together in a clockwise direction (this opposite direction of spinning creates the tension that makes a yarn stable). However, just because almost every yarn is spun in this manner does it make a difference if you spin in it reverse?

Essentially all yarn is spun in this method, sometimes referred to as “S” twist, I am not sure if there is any real particular reason for this except that it has been done that way. There are a couple of yarns available that are spun opposite of the “S twist”, meaning that the beginning strands are spun clockwise and then plied together counter clockwise, this is known as “Z” twist. Yarns spun this way will indicate this on their labels, as it is a subtlety that differentiates it from others.

Lotus from Designing Vashti www.lindadeancrochet.com

Lotus from Designing Vashti

So why consider a “Z twist”, there are those that find it reduces yarn splitting  for right handed crocheters, as the traditional method of crocheting the yarn overs can either add or subtract the twist in a yarn. As traditional yarn is spun with a clockwise finish, and right handed crochet yarn overs in a counterclockwise direction, twist can be taken out of a yarn causing it to split. So with “Z twist” being the opposite the right handed crocheter will add twist to the yarn.

Honestly, I have not noticed too much difference in my work between the twist directions, with the exception of yarns that are loosely plied together and thus unply, or split quite easily. However I do notice a bit of a visual difference in the way my stitches look, it is subtle, and if I wasn’t really paying attention I may not completely understand why it looks different. This difference is because of the lines that I see in the yarn due to the ply. The “Z twist” lines are in the opposite direction.

Now that I have told you more then you hoped to know about the direction of twist within yarn, there is a yarn that I find I quite enjoy that is a “Z twist”. Lotus by Designing Vashti is a 52% cotton, 48% rayon, fine weight yarn that is perfect for summer. I find that I create garments, wraps, shawls, and even hand backs out of this yarn. It has a nice drape, and I love the slight shimmer that the rayon gives it. For me it is this rayon that really allows me to see the “Z twist”. I have used this yarn several times and have found that it really “blooms” after being washing, meaning that it fluffs up and fills in the space between stitches.

The combination of cotton and rayon make it perfect for warm weather, that is probably I always tend to pick it up in Spring as I am getting ready for the warm weather of summer.

A Perfect Flair for Summer- Dare to Flair Toddlers Dress

I really enjoy when I have a design that looks fashionable and creative, and more difficult than it actually is to construct. The Dare to Flair Toddlers Dress fits this description. It can be found in the June 2017 issue of I Like Crochet Magazine, and dependent upon the size you make, uses no more than 2 skeins of Lisa Souza Dyeworks Hardtwist yarn.

This girls dress worked in Tunisian Simple stitch is comprised of strips, so you make only rectangles and triangles, these are put together with Reverse Single Crochet, to add an almost rope like edging between all the panels and the edging. I love how this dress allows even a relative beginner complete a project that shines like an advanced piece.

Dare to Flair Toddler Dress www.lindadeancrochet.com

Dare to Flair Toddler Dress Photo courtesy Prime Pulishing

The pattern is sized for a 2T through a girl size 8, and can easily be customized. Add length by making the rectangles longer, add width by making rectangles wider. You may need to make some adjustments on the triangles, but this will depend upon where you want the flair to begin, at the waist, at the thigh, maybe at the hip.

I enjoy the versatility that this dress has, and how it really allows variegated yarn to color pool in a way more like knitting. This design would also be fun worked in color blocks, meaning working different panels different colors and joined together.

www.lindadeancrochet.com

Photo courtesy Prime Publishing

Whenever I design clothes for kids, I always try to make it something that they can be successful getting dressed in themselves. So the piece has not really front of back, hence no way to put it on backwards. If it gets turned inside out, the fabric on the inside is just as pretty as the outside. Pair it with legging, or length it for a full dress effect. Ever little girl will want to wear this dress.

Cotton Classic- a Little Different than “Traditional”

Some yarns always inspire me, some always tell me what they want to be, others, well maybe not so much. Cotton Classic by Tahki Stacy Charles is one of the former, it can always find a design in my mind.

Cotton Classic is 100& Mercerised Cotton and this sometimes causes people to pause. The term cotton is generally understood, it had a great marketing campaign throughout the 1980’s about how it is a naturally grown product that lets the fabric breath. Cotton also is stronger when wet, has limited stretch, and many think of it shrinking when first washed. This first wash shrinking, is not like felting of wool, this is essentially because cotton, being a short in length fiber, has more “twist” worked into the yarn in order to hold the fibers together (if a strand is long it does not need to be twisted together as much to hold, while something short needs to have more twists to ensure the hold) this puts a lot of tension on the fiber. When the yarn (of cotton shirt) finally gets fully submerged in water it actually allows the fiber to relax, this allows it to release the tension, and this caused the fiber to contract. So cotton will only shrink in the first washing whereas wool will continue to shrink with washings.

Cotton Classic by Tahki www.lindadeancrochet.com

Cotton Classic by Tahki Stacey Charles

The term that confounds many is Mercerised. Mercerised is a process that removes the slight halo effect that can accompany a cotton fiber, this is essentially the tiny ends of the fiber protruding from the yarn. To Mercerise the yarn, or thread is brought over an open flame to burn off the fibers. This creates a yarn that has a nice smooth finish that has great stitch definition. Another side effect of this process is that it does not allow the cotton to absorb water as is normally considered. Thus Mercerised Cotton is not recommended for dish clothes, where regular cotton will work wonderfully.

I find Cotton Classic is wonderful for warm weather projects, dressy scarves, home décor items, a great market bag. I even love it for tank tops and cover ups. This yarn has a wide arrange of colors available, and it shows of lace work stitches and textural stitches fabulously. It comes in small hanks of 1.75oz/50g with 108 yds/100m. It is a light weight and has nice drape on larger hooks.

Consider it for your next summer weather project, and don’t worry about this cotton reminding you of a dish rag.