Knitting, Wool

Wool Washes I Currently Use, and Where to Buy Them.

Hey Everyone!

As I have had time to use different wool washes on different projects and types of projects, there are three that have stood out to me.

My Top 3 picks are:
1. The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo (can be found here)
2. Eucalan Wrapture and unscented wool washes both can be found here (Wrapture can also be found here) (unscented can be also found here)
3. Kookaburra Tea Tree Wool Wash (can be purchased from here, here or here)

I prefer the laundress wool and cashmere wash for items such as shawls, hats, and scarves, that you don’t wash super often. It has the Cedar scent which helps protect the wool from bugs and moths going after it and damaging the garments. I also store all these goods in airtight containers with cedar blocks.

I prefer using the Eucalan for when I wash each pair of socks for the first time. I like the consistency of the wash for getting into the socks and helping pull up the excess dyes, waxes and other chemicals that the yarn was treated with, in the dying and spinning process.

Lastly, I prefer the Kookaburra tea tree wool wash for washing socks. Beings that I wash my socks after each time I wear them, I like that the Kookaburra tea tree wool wash contains tea tree oil which helps to get rid of microorganisms that get in the wool and can harm the wool itself or cause skin issues on your feet. It is also biodegradable, which also makes it good for taking along on the trail when hiking, or while travelling, so if I were to need to wash a pair of socks while I was out, and it couldn’t wait until I got home, this wash is more environmentally friendly. There is a lavender scented one as well, but I prefer the tea tree scent, as it is more woodsy, and would blend in better while out hiking.

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Knitting, Yarn, Whats on My Needles, Wool, Socks, KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk

Next Up: Cyan Socks

Hey Everyone!

This past week, after completing the Finnley Heather socks, I cast on a pair of Cyan colored socks. The variety of colors that the Palette Yarn comes in, is one of the things I love about the Palette line of KnitPicks fingering weight yarn. There are more colors to choose from than I have ever seen in any one line of yarn before.

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I had started the Cyan socks before finishing up the pair of Hollyberry Stroll socks that I am working on. Once I got the leg going on the Cyan socks, I have been focusing on the Hollyberry socks as I am trying to get them done by the end of the day tomorrow (Tuesday), as Wednesday is supposed to be the hottest day of the next 10+ days. When you are looking at having a day with a high in the mid-nineties, here in Portland, Oregon, you take advantage of it.

You work your rear end off to try to get as much stuff done as you can, so you can wash it and put it outside to air dry. I never put my hand knit items in the tumble dryer as it tends to ruin whatever it is that I knit, I always air dry (and 99% of the time, hand wash) my handknit goods. Highs in the nineties is not an often enough occurrence here in Portland, that when it happens, you take advantage of it. As it is I have a shawl, and two pairs of socks done, that is all ready to be washed. I am hoping to make the Hollyberry socks the third pair of socks I am able to wash on Wednesday and put outside to dry.

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Finnley Heather Socks

Hey Everyone!

Last night I finished up the pair of KnitPicks Palette Finnley Heather socks I had been working on for a while.

With all the sock yarn I have stashed away I am trying to work through it this summer. I am trying to stash bust my sock yarn. The finished socks are easier to store than balls of yarn. They are also wearable, versus just taking up space.

This upcoming week is supposed to be down right hot, and I want to take advantage of that. I am trying to get as many pairs of socks done before it is hot enough to dry socks outside, so I can wash them and put them out to dry.

I have one more pair that I want to get done before next weeks heat wave.

I also have started the next pair of socks, for when I get the Hollyberry Stroll socks done.

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The Lonesome First Sock Club

Hey Everyone!

I have gotten two socks done using two different colors and different kinds of yarn.

I have one Finnley Heather sock knit up using KnitPicks Palette yarn done as well as one Hollyberry Stroll sock done.

They are both sitting while I make progress on their respective mates.

With the Finnley Heather sock, I have made it longer than the other socks as I am trying to use up as much yarn in one sock as possible. Each ball is 50 grams, and it takes about 30 grams of these particular yarns to make an individual sock. So I would have to buy two balls of yarn to get a pair of socks anyway with the old pattern. Now I am getting way to much extra yarn sitting around, that isn’t enough to make another complete sock on its own. So I decided to lengthen the leg to help use up more of the yarn in each ball.

I usually am only working on one pair of socks at a time, but I wanted to see how the newer pattern worked using the Stroll Yarn and the Palette Yarn so that is why I have these two pairs going at the same time.

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Preparing to Make the Most of Summer

Hey Everyone!

Over the weekend I finished up knitting the pair of Rouge KnitPicks Palette socks I had had been working on. They are currently sitting in my to be washed basket, as I really didn’t feel like washing them today because I am waiting until I have more socks knit up before I wash socks. Beings that it is only still May, and we still have all summer ahead of us, I don’t have to use every 80+ degree day we get at the moment, as we still have all summer to be able to wash socks and have the hot weather to put them out on the line.

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I had knit a 20 round cuff for these socks plus a 50 round leg. The 50 round leg is a bit shorter than the leg I have switched most of my socks to now. I had made the legs of these socks a bit shorter than I am making my other socks now because of having to split one of the balls of yarn in the winding process. Beings that I was working with a solid color I didn’t want to have to tie on any yarn in the knitting process. I like having it all be one strand without any knots or tie-ons when I am working with solid colors.

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My longer legged socks, I am making the length of the sock blockers that I have so the cuffs will sit along the angled part at the top where I have yarn strung through to be able to hang the blockers from the clothesline outside. I am liking the longer socks because they give more protection and coverage. They help keep my legs and feet warmer in the colder months and also help protect against blisters in more areas while wearing my hiking boots.

Once I finished up the Rouge socks I had been working on, I cast on a pair of Finnley Heather Palette socks, which you can see to the left. I am loving how these socks are turning out. I have definitely fallen in love with the Heather yarns. I love the variation in the colors. While the variation is not so obvious in the ball, it becomes very obvious when you are working with it. I love how it looks, and how unlike stripes or true variegated yarns, the variations are within the same color shade and are just lighter/darker of itself, but doesn’t change from one color to a completely different color.

Here in Portland, we have already had quite a few days over 80 degrees, several close to 90 degrees, and a couple at or above 90 degrees already this month, and summer doesn’t officially start for another month. So if this summer is going to be as hot as I am thinking it is going to be, I need to be pumping out the socks so I can get them washed this summer, and put away. I am kind of tired of having a ton of sock yarn sitting around and feeling like I am not really making any progress on knitting through it. It doesn’t help that I have kept adding to it for a while. Now I am in stash busting mode and trying to knit up as much of my yarn as possible. I would like to go back to knitting sweaters for kids in need, but I have way too much sock and shawl yarn sitting around to get knit up first.

KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Socks, Wool, Yarn

Taking Advantage of the Summer Like Weather

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday and today have been way to hot, yesterday got up to 90 and today got up to 91.

Yesterday I really didn’t feel like washing socks, but today I made it happen and then put them out on the line to dry.

It still amazes me, even after all the pairs of socks I have knit up using KnitPicks Palette Yarn, as to how much excess dye remains in the socks once they have been dyed. It might also have to do with the processing, and the chemicals used to spin the wool.

I know when I work with it, it is so rough and stiff, and once I wash the socks I have knit up, that stiffness from the waxes and whatever else they treat it with is gone, so it softens up and is no longer so stiff. With those waxes and chemicals that come out, as does the excess dye that is left behind in the wool after the dying process.

I really learned about excess dyes, waxes and other chemicals put into natural fibers in the processing, dying and spinning process while I was working at the studio. When I had only been working with Acrylic and Fishermen’s Wool, I never really realized or thought about the fact that yarns were processed with waxes and such to make them easier to work with. It wasn’t until I was working with Cashmere and my hands would be sticky in under 15 minutes from the amount of waxes and such in some of the yarns that it dawned on me. Now that I am working with more natural fibers for my own projects its not so much that my hands are getting sticky, its more a before and after being washed effect and seeing what comes out of the yarns when I am washing them. The stroll yarn doesn’t seem to have as much excess dye left behind, as compared to the Palette.

I had washed the cobblestone heather pair of stroll socks I had knit up as well as the pair of ash palette socks. While the cobblestone heather socks are darker, the ash socks had so much excess dye come out, and it was this weird blueish grey color. It was weird.

I do like using the warm weather to my advantage when I have socks that need to be washed. I never tumble dry wool, I always block it, and let it air dry. I like washing on the warm days, because the items that I washed dry a lot quicker, and I don’t have to bring them in at the end of the day still damp and try to figure out where to put them up so they can continue drying. I like bringing them in at the end of the day, or a few hours later if I wash them in the morning and it’s particularly warm / hot that day, they dry super quick.

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One Done, One More Started

Hey Everyone!

I am finally (like a day and a half later lol), getting around to writing this post.

Sunday evening, I finished up the pair of Cobblestone Heather Stroll socks I had been working on.

I have been making some longer legged socks with a shorter cuff. This is partly due to the fact that my sock blockers stretch out the ribbing of the cuffs when I block them. I am not a fan of that. The longer leg is also in part to be some added protection against potential blisters on the backs of my heels when I wear boots. I also kind of like the look of slouchy socks with boots.

The Cobblestone Heather socks were the test run for the newer pattern. I have started tweaking it a bit more with the latest pair of socks that I started yesterday. I cast on the first sock of a pair, using KnitPicks Stroll yarn in Hollyberry. It is a really pretty deep red.

To me, it’s interesting to see how the Palette and Stroll yarns work up, and doing side by side comparisons. The Stroll and Palette yarns are like comparing Fuji’s to Granny Smith’s. They are made by the same company (KnitPicks), they are both Fingering weight yarns with a similar thickness, they come in balls of the same weight and yardage, and I used to same size needles for both yarns. Even though they are similar they do work up completely different. The Palette yarn is rougher and knits up a little bit looser / doesn’t shrink up quite as much as the Stroll. The Stroll yarn is so soft straight out of the ball. I have noticed the the Palette also seems to hold in more excess dye, which comes out when washed the first time.

I still have a pair of black trillium fibres socks in the works. Comparing the black trillium fibres yarn to one of the KnitPicks yarns is like comparing apples to oranges.

I am not the biggest fan of the black trillium fibres yarns for socks, and once I finish up the yarn I have (I have another ball in addition to what I am working with), I am using up what I have and not buying anymore. You don’t know how you will like a yarn until you work with it.