A few months back, I received a promising package of samples from Wren of Sunrise Fiber Co., a small dyer in Utah. When the new batch of test knitters was chosen, Wren's yarn was among the first skeins I sent out. One skein was a variegated Chocolate Cherry skein, and the other a semi-solid Fresh Mint. Both colors were smart choice for Wren to send me, as the Chocolate Cherry reminded me of the SSYC logo colors, and we all know I'm a sucker for a good green.
I sent the Chocolate Cherry off to Marianne (here in the US) and the Fresh Mint off to Deirdre (up in Canada) and here's what they had to say about the skeins. First, Marianne's review of the Chocolate Cherry- and please do note that she does include her particular opinion of the colorway itself (and doesn't like that white is one of the colors of the skein- would prefer just pink and brown), which isn't one she would typically choose, as her preference is for semi-solids or striping yarn over variegated. Knitters don't get a color choice of what I send to them- they don't even know the dyer as they are knitting and are just learning who it is today, just as you are. Also please note that the images shown on SSYC website are the correct colors, and that these shown on the review were taken by the knitters are may not be completely accurate for this dyelot. Always refer to SSYC's photos for correct dyelot colors.
So here you go- the review of Classic Sock by Sunrise Fiber Company, and you'll now even see a few colors in the store.
Presentation - The skein was very nicely wound and easy to unwind, with no tangles or apparent knots.
Texture - The yarn felt very smooth and deliciously soft to work with--no splitting or catching on the needles. I especially liked the bounciness, and the stitch definition was great, even before blocking.
After washing, the fabric felt firm yet elastic on my foot, like a warm cozy hug. This is exactly why I love knitting and wearing handknit socks!
Fabric - The colors did pool/swirl in an unpredictable way, but this wasn't a surprise to me based on how the colors looked in the hank. It did turn out to be the thing that I liked the least, though. I thought the effect that the white spots gave was distracting. I would have preferred that the pink and the brown overlapped each other (resulting in no white areas) or that the white areas had been as long as the pink and brown areas and formed swirling stripes instead of random little splotches. I had considered frogging the plain stockinette sock and trying out a stitch pattern that would help break up the colors some more, but I figured that the result would be even more random and splotchy, and I preferred to continue with plain stockinette. I do think the variegation would be much too busy and random for a stitch pattern which is meant to be the focal point. I would be interested in how the colors would look if striped in plain stockinette with a white yarn--I think this might be the most agreeable look for my tastes.
As I was knitting, I noticed that the yarn at the cast-on end had already started to look a little fuzzier, and I thought I will have to pay special attention to how the finished socks hold up. I wouldn't expect them to be as sturdy as my socks with more plies and nylon, but I would hope they'd hold up as well as my other socks made with similar yarn.
I haven't had problems with my usual sock pattern being saggy at the ankle, and after wearing the one sock around the house for a few hours (the weather is getting too warm for wool socks), I don't anticipate this one becoming saggy after being worn all day.
Misc.- My overall opinion of the yarn is that, for a 100% merino sock yarn, I do like the look and feel of the base and would certainly use it again if the yarn were dyed in a way that is more to my tastes (self-striping or semi-solid). Even if I were looking for a variegated yarn that will pool in an unpredictable way, I would want to avoid colorways dyed with the short white/undyed part in between the main colors.
I didn't notice any odors in the yarn, and there wasn't any bleeding at all, either when I was knitting or when the sock was being washed--in fact, the wash water was completely clear. (Since I'm not particularly fond of the white areas, I had kind of hoped that the pink and brown would bleed into it!)
I did find an irregular place in the yarn where the individual plies were slightly messed up. One ply was longer than the other and scrunched up from being wrapped more times around the other ply, and the only thing to do was to cut the yarn. Not the dyer's fault or a big deal, though.
After knitting the second sock and washing and wearing the finished socks around a bit, Marianne followed up with this:
Follow up: Above is the photo of the finished pair of socks! With the second pair I did a bit of experimenting just to see how the stripes would look if alternated with white yarn. (I was too lazy to knit a separate swatch and figured I'd just knit it on the sock itself and rip it out when my curiosity was satisfied.) I ended up liking this look a lot--it made me think of chocolate raspberry ripple ice cream. (shown below with a little bit of white yarn added in with the variegated color).
The finished socks feel very soft and comfortable to wear, and they do stay up as expected. The finished pair weighs 73 grams, and there's 37 grams of yarn left. I'm happy about having this amount left to play with and want to try a zigzag or wavy pattern and see how it looks.
And here's what Deirdre has to add about the semi-solid skein of Fresh Mint:
Texture -like buttah. The yarn was lovely to knit with, and using a 2.25mm needle, made a beautiful fabric - solid, firm and soft all at the same time. The sock is extremely comfortable on my foot, and became even softer after washing. It still feels durable, too.
Knitted fabric - I thought by looking at the skein that it would be more variegated, less striped, but I don't find the striping takes away from the pattern (Francie). And I LOVE the colours, just love them. Now that I know that it has a tendency to stripe, I would probably choose a pattern that would highlight that fact.
My overall impression is that I love this yarn for socks - I almost feel like I've used it, or something with a similar base, before, but not in these colours, which are fabulous! Soft, sturdy, substantial socks – I would definitely use this yarn again.