New favorite

This is the new Grumperina favorite – no question about it!

Pattern: Mata Hari socks by Craftoholic Steph. Other than knitting these from toe up, and substituting short-row heels and toes (I use Wendy’s method), I didn’t modify the pattern.

Yarn: Greenwood Fiberworks cotton/lycra, in the Penelope colorway. The socks you see were knitted from one skein, with a decent amount of yarn remaining (I’m guessing enough for another 1.5-2″ for each sock).

Needles: Susan Bates dpns, set of 5 in US 0.

Finished size: about 6.5″ in circumference, unstretched, making my gauge 9 spi.

I know I’ve raved about Greenwood Fiberworks and Carolyn Greenwood, the artist behind the whole operation, before, and I cannot stop! Carolyn is simply a gem – kind, generous, receptive, professional, and speedy. In this day and age of online purchasing, it’s so easy for our transactions to feel empty, impersonal: punch in a credit card number, receive an auto-generated confirmation, followed by a package “carefully inspected by #17″, end of story. But with Carolyn, I feel like I’m dealing with a real person. In her hand-written notes, and in her yarn descriptions, she writes about her colorways and her family alike, and it just puts a smile on my face each and every time.

Enough mushiness, let’s get down to business. I know many of you are waiting for just the right information before making your Greenwood purchase, and because I love this yarn so much, I want to tell you more.

Bottom line – my feet are singing the highest praises about this sock yarn! This yarn is so soft and snugly, knitting with it is joyous, and it machine-washes like a champ! It is very stretchy, and a true fingering weight, so it’s simply perfect for a well-fitting, thin pair of socks. Penelope, the colorway I used here, as well as Greenwood’s self-striping colorways, are probably showcased best in a stockinette-based pattern.

I think the eyelets of the Mata Hari pattern are noticeable, but they’d be even more pronounced in one of the solid colorways, which have become available since this early purchase (Pssst! Have you subscribed to Greenwood’s RSS feed, so you can be instantly updated on newly listed striping, variegated, and solid colorways? Follow the RSS this shop button on the storefront‘s sidebar!).

As for more complex patterns, lace and cables and such, a little trial-and-error is in order. The yarn is textured and pebbly when it knits up, and it’s a bit difficult to predict what will show up and what will be engulfed by the squishiness without actually casting on.

Several people have asked me about knitting with a yarn that stores so much elasticity. Simply, you have to grab a pair of needles and give it a try. We all knit differently, and what one knitter will accomplish by stretching the yarn a bit while knitting, another will recreate by using smaller needles, but leaving the fiber completely lax. A real life example: Ms. Bestitched and I produced Greenwood socks which are identical in size – I held them up against each other the other day. She cast on 68 sts and knit using a US 1.5 needle, while I cast on 60 sts and used a US 0. Perhaps I knit a bit looser, or don’t stretch the yarn as much – I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter, since each pair of socks fits (beautifully!). Both of us came up with our magic stitch number and needle size by trial-and-error, so, go for it! The yarn holds up to frogging just fine ;).

I would like to emphasize that both Diana and I came up with stitch numbers in the 60s. Interestingly, most sock patterns are written for 60-70 sts, so it leads me to believe that you can try many published sock patterns with this yarn without alterations – the socks will fit, it’s just a question of how visible the pattern will be.

And that brings me to another question I’ve received on several occasions – what about Greenwood Jaywalkers? The answer – while the stitch count similarly makes me think that you do not need to adjust the Jaywalker pattern, I have no idea how Greenwood yarn will behave with stitches placed and stretched on a bias. Again, a case of trial-and-error, except I won’t be the one doing the trials ;).

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy my new handknitted socks ;).

40 thoughts on “New favorite

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  1. SallyT

    I DID get some of that yarn and I agree that Carolyn is great! I asked for red yarn and she has been trying to achieve it. I am having a bit of trouble getting used to the stretch of the yarn. The first pattern I tried was french child’s sock from Nancy Bush. That wasn’t working for me. I guess I’m just going to have to do what Grumperina suggests and experiment. If anyone comes up with a great pattern, let the rest of us know!

  2. Amanda in GA

    I have the same yarn in the same color I can’t wait to start some sock. I have several other projects going that I have to get finished ( you know those darn babies just don’t wait) and then I am going to get to that lovely yarn thanks for the info. I told I found her from your blog.

    Hope you have a happy day.

  3. Mary-Heather

    That color… oh, it is so lovely! Great sock pattern too. I’ve yet to try cotton/lycra sock yarns but I’m finding myself very, very tempted by this prettiness!

  4. Ellen

    What about the magic sweater??? (Whine) It’s just that I have made the Jaywalker socks, I have made Mata Hari socks and now I can’t help to wonder if I should make the sweater you keep hinting about!

  5. Andrea

    Your socks are beautiful!I think I have to make Mata Hari’s too. The sweater that you mentioned the other day is from Norah Gaughan book?

  6. Suzann

    I just finished my Mata Hari socks last week. A really nice pattern. Top down with a garter edged heel and round toe. Opal prototype in a pretty denim blue.

    I like the little eyelets swirling around the leg.

    That is a handsome sock you have there Kathy :)

  7. Kate

    I don’t even knit socks and you make me want to buy this yarn! I love the socks. I almost think I would wear those socks. (I am the queen of plain black socks) If I ever try socks, definitely will try this yarn.

  8. gail

    Very, very nice socks. And, as soon as my yarn diet is over and I return from our month in Barcelona, I will purchase some of that yarn! I also am tempted by the Mata Hari pattern. thanks for sharing. By the way, I am on my second sock in my first pair of Jaywalker socks and they look and fit great–no pattern alteration. Well, except for the fact that I cast on something like 64 stitches for the ribbing, the increased for the pattern.

  9. joy

    Great socks, so pretty! And thanks for the in-depth yarn review. Looks like I’ll be getting some of that yarn to try. :-)

  10. yahaira

    love that color and Im so happy you found some yarn for your tootsies! It’s about time you got to wear some of your socks…and what great ones they are

  11. Cara

    So glad you found a sock yarn for your feet! The socks look great – I’ve always liked that pattern. Enjoy!

  12. Bliss

    I too love dealing with Carolyn, and her yarn is in very beautiful colors. I have a *few* ahem skeins. What is different about this yarn as opposed to fixation is it is smaller gauged and infintely softer – almost like terrycloth. I am knitting a pair of socks currently in her “Grandma’s Kitchen” colorway. If someone didn’t want to knit socks – this would make terrific baby items because of the softness and washability.

  13. Annie

    I’m curious as to why you won’t be knitting a pair of Jaywalkers with this yarn. Have you fallen out of love with the Jaywalkers?!

  14. marnie

    I just finished sock #1 from carolyn’s yarn. i CO 56 stitches on 2.5mm needles and it’s perfect for my wide foot with the high instep. I can’t imagine casting on more than that. yours look great in this pattern, i don’t think it gets lost at all.

  15. Alyson

    I just finished the first sock in a lacy Sockbug pattern. There is a picture of the lonely sock awaiting its mate on my blog, if you’re curious how a lacy pattern turns out. (If you knit exactly like me…with this yarn, it could be wildly different for someone else.)

  16. Liz

    You are an evil, evil enabler, and I love you. (My bank account, on the other hand, might feel differently).

  17. Sarah

    Those socks look fabulously comfortable! Thanks to you recommendation, I think I will have to try out Greenwood yarn. Might be a nice summer alternative to all that wool I have in my stash…

  18. Karma

    Thank you for the pattern and yarn info! The combination you came up with is definitely a winner in my book. Enjoy wearing those socks!

  19. Kim

    I had to have some of that yarn and I blame it all on you! Can’t wait until it arrives…. ;)

  20. rene

    They look so comfortable! The Mata Hari pattern looks lovely, and that color is penelop-licious. Also, thanks for the notes on working with elastic-y yarn.

  21. CatBookMom

    How does this yarn compare to Cascade’s Fixation or Elann’s Esprit? Both are cotton with How does this yarn compare to Cascade’s Fixation or Elann’s Esprit? Both are cotton with <2% elastic rather than lycra. The hand-dyed colors, of course, aren’t available from those vendors, but I made my first pair of socks from Esprit and I really love how they feel.

  22. Rebecca

    I caved and bought some of the yarn too – Puget Sound colourway – and I’ve never even made a sock before!!! I love hte Mata Hari pattern – any suggestions on how to get started?

  23. Jay

    Ooh, I love the socks… so holey! I might even make a pair for myself… so what! I’m a guy with holey socks… sue me!

  24. Whitney

    Just curious, what kind of toe you used for these? I was thinking about just doing the figure 8 cast-on, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to tighten the first stitches with the yarn. Did you used a provisional cast-on to do a short row toe?

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