Yarn Name: Artfibers Carezza
Yarn Color: Peach
Content: 30% Silk, 30% Baby Alpaca, 40% Extrafine Merino
Gauge: 7 sts/in
Needle Size: 3
Purchase At: http://www.artfibers.com
I included this yarn because it really is incredible. Artfibers is a small yarn shop on the second floor of an old building in the Financial District in San Francisco. They have a fairly extensive selection of yarns that are exclusive to them and are all hand-dyed; however, I listed them as indie/commercial because they reproduce all their colorways using a second party (I don't who or what company does the dyeing for them). I chose this particular yarn because it was one of only three that were suitable for sock knitting; it was also the softest one I felt. One of the unique things about the store is that they have "yarn tasting"; you are able to borrow a pair of needles, choose a yarn, and knit a swatch to see if you like it. You are also allowed to take the swatch home. As for the yarn, it's a study in eroticism. Because of the fiber content, it's extremely soft and silky; having a loose twist adds to the softness. Their yarns come on cones; if you don't want enough yarn to knit a shawl, you can have the yardage you need wound off onto foam cores. This yarn will have poor wearability because the twist is so loose; however, because of the fibers, it won't fall apart immediately. It's just better suited for occasional wear with shoes (sandals) and will be happier at home as house or bed socks. Because this particular type is a semi-solid (with the emphasis on solid), stitch definition is superb. It is best suited to patterns such as cables, lacework, textural stitches - anything that needs the pattern to shine as opposed to the yarn. The swatch I saw was gorgeous both in look and feel. I'm looking forward to using this yarn for a very special pair of socks.
Yarn Name: Urban GypZ Bam! Boo! Hand Painted Sock Yarn
Yarn Color: Twisted MaMaLove
Content: 60% Superwash Merino, 30% Bamboo, 10% Nylon
Put-Up: 420 yards
Weight: 4 oz.
Gauge: 7-9 sts/in
Needle Size: 1-3
Purchase At: http://www.urbangypz.etsy.com
As you may know, I'm not a fan of bamboo. However, I loved this colorway, so I thought I'd give it a try. I've had bamboo yarns before and, while usually soft, I just didn't like them. This one, however, has made a liar out of me (to myself). It is incredibly soft and squishy with a medium twist that adds to the softness. Wearability should be good. The colorway is exquisite; the colors are bright and compliment each other. The painting is expertly done; the colors melt into each other and form secondary and tertiary colors at the joins, as well as having surprises of color popping up through other colors. This yarn is a joy to view and hold; I can't wait to use it. You should be able to get a pair of socks from one skein. I think that "lively" is a good descriptor of the colors used.
Item Name: Hoot
Material: Recycled Articles
Contact At: http://www.PopsieDaisy.etsy.com
Hoot is a delightful creature that I found on Etsy. The artist makes a variety of creatures who function the same way as Hoot; they are designed to hold a cake of yarn and, with the grommet on the back, allow the yarn to be fed through and prevent tangling/collapse of the cake. You can also use Hoot and his pals to hold pretty much anything you want to put in him. There is a zipper on the back to allow you to put items into Hoot. Here is a picture of his backside:
Rather than try to describe Hoot, I'm using the artist's own words from her ad on Etsy:
The Knitter's Critters....
* are made with repurposed wool that has been washed and felted
* have their own personalities
* have a zippered pouch on their back where you can store your yarn or other goodies
* have a grommet on the back that your yarn can feed through
* use zippers and wood that are repurposed
* have their own unique personalities
* have a padded bottom so they sit nicely on your lap
* are lined with coordinating fabric
* don't mind when you have to frog a project
Hoot works like a dream. He sits on my lap or the footrest of the Monster and doesn't topple over, no matter how hard I pull on the yarn. He's also a lot of fun to look at. I'm hoping to carry Hoot and his friends in my shop. He's not inexpensive, but I think he's worth the cost. A lot of work went into making Hoot; things like this are a pain to sew, and even though I could do it, I choose not to and buy the finished product instead. He would also be a fun gift for a special friend.
Yarn Name: meliabella Toasty Sock
Yarn Color: Jack Frost
Content: 75% Merino, 25% Nylon
Put-Up: 420 yards
Weight: 4 oz.
Gauge: 8-9 sts/in
Needle Size: 0-2
Purchase At: http://www.meliabella.etsy.com
I have seen "Keegan Lane" associated with this dyer's yarns, so I'm not sure which is the correct one to use. However, meliabella is the name on the ball band and the website, so that's what I'm using.
This yarn is exquisitely dyed; the seller states on the ball band that each skein is dyed one at a time. I don't doubt it for a minute. The colorway is inspired; I own other skeins from this dyer and they are all exquisite. The colors fade into each other, forming secondary colors where they meet. Being a hard-twist yarn, wearability should be excellent. Even though the twist is hard, this yarn is incredibly soft. A complementing stitch marker is tied onto each skein. You should be able to get a pair of socks from one skein. Customer service is excellent; this dyer is friendly and responsive. I had a problem with identifying this yarn, thinking that I had received the wrong one; she went out of her way to ensure that I had the right one (it didn't look like the picture but was indeed the correct one). I will be buying a lot more from this dyer.