Summer Socks in Rowan Fine Art

I know, I know. Knitted socks, in SUMMER? But seriously. One of the great features of wool is that it regulates temperature – it keeps you warm when it’s cold, and it cools when it’s hot. Pretty handy, isn’t it?

Rowan Fine Art Socks

Fine Art is Rowan’s first handpainted sock yarn, and may I say so, it is my new favourite. It’s a blend of wool, mohair, silk with a dash of polyamide to make it more durable. I don’t know who first had the idea of adding silk to a sock yarn, but whoever it was is a genious. Silk is a strong fiber, and it feels amazing in combination with the mohair. Seriously, you’ll never want to wear socks that are made of anything else again. They’re so.. slinky. And a little fuzzy at the same time. I love mohair, wearing a garment made from this fibre is a bit like carrying your favourite pet around with you 24/7. The fibres for this yarn are sourced, spun and hand painted in South Africa. If you’d like to know more about the process of creating Fine Art, check out the story behind creating it.

My favourite of the Fine Art colours is Lapwing, a beautiful blend of green shades. I was so happy when I opened the package  to find Rowan had sent me just this colour together with the Rowan Fine Art Collection book. The skein itself looks like a piece of art, the colours are brilliant and thanks to the silk it shines and reflects the light like a gemstone. I am actually thinking of ordering another skein just for the sake of displaying it, that’s how pretty it is (there goes my resolve not to buy yarn this year until my stash has been reduced considerably – oops).

Fine-Art-Book-3

Rowan Fine Art Collection contains 14 designs made with Fine Art Sock yarn, but don’t you think they’re all just socks. It’s a mixture of beautifully patterned scarves, wraps and several sock designs by some of Rowan’s favourite designers Martin Storey, Gemma Atkinson, Marie Wallin and Lisa Richardson.

I am in love with Warbler, a pair of overknee socks designed by Gemma Atkison. Alas, this is a rather time consuming project using three skeins of Fine Art and knit with cable details, so I decided against making it for now as I have been working on so many different projects recently and just wanted a quick fix that meant I could knit on the go without having to follow a pattern. I’d really love to make these socks, but am hoping Rowan will bring out Fine Art in Solid colours in the future. I’d love to wear the socks with a dress or skirt so you can actually display the beautiful yarn and pattern, however personally I find the handpainted colours are a bit too busy for a piece that will already draw lots of attention simply because of the gorgeous design.

Knitting with Fine Art was an absolute pleasure, the yarn is so silky it glides through your fingers easily and knits up relatively fast despite being knitted on 2,5mm needles. It creates a sturdy yet very delicate and soft fabric, and just holding the finished socks makes you want to put them on immediately. I actually had strangers coming up to me while knitting on the train asking about the yarn and wanting to touch the socks. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before. One skein is enough to make a pair of adult size socks, I am a size EUR40/UK7/US9 and I had quite a bit of yarn left as well after finishing.

Socks-2

Feet wriggling away happily

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Making ends meet

I love wool. All knitters do (or so I assume) and I am no exception. I find it exceptionally hard to walk past a yarn shop without entering. Usually I leave with at least 2 balls of yarn, already visualizing future projects and possible recipients of my work. And while inspiration is great, sometimes I get carried away. Last winter (it was during the sales though, it was TOO good an opportunity to miss) I bought 15 balls of Rowan Silk Twist, planning to make a jumper or an oversized cardigan for myself. I chose a beautiful gold and ochre shade and couldn’t wait to get home to get started. Once back however another project caught my attention, and another yarn, and all too quickly I was busy making more Kamis and socks and the beautiful bag of yarn lay forgotten in my stash chest. It is now a year later, and winter is almost over again. The yarn is still patiently lying in its bag, waiting for the day when I will finally run out of other projects.

Frustrated that I simply don’t have the time and energy to work on a gazillion projects at once, I have set myself a task: Not to buy new wool this year before my stash at home has been reduced to odd bits and bobs. But what to do when you’re busy knitting a piece and all of a sudden you run out of wool? And you’ve decided not to allow yourself to buy another ball of the yarn needed to finish? You frantically rummage around in your stash to find a yarn that works as a substitute. The results are something like these.

Handknit Socks

You may ask: But why didn’t she simply knit two green cuffs and finish each sock in the other yarn? The answer is: Because I was wrong. I thought I had enough wool to finish a whole pair, but I didn’t. I kind of like the idea of emphasizing a flaw in a piece though. The Japanese fill cracks in ceramics with pure gold to better show the flaw in a piece, and to honour that even something that is imperfect has its very own beauty. The bold green stands in stark contrast to the rest of the colours, and that was exactly what I wanted. I have a feeling that this kind of look will be a thing throughout the year for me. Can’t wait to see how other pieces turn out. I would love to hear about your favourite projects to recycle leftover yarn!