For both personal, and design / custom order projects, I have been trying out lots of new sock yarns this year. So I've been meaning to start posting about my experiences with the various yarns - focusing particularly on local indie dyers. And what better way to start, than with a dyer brand new to the scene?
Based in Cullybacky, Northern Ireland, Woolly Adventures are Dani and Sam - two young ladies who make no secret of their ambitions: 'wool domination, one colourful skein at a time.' Having just dyed up their very first batch of sock yarn, they brought a sample over to Row by Roe for test knitting, and well - here we are. I think the yarn had barely dried when I started knitting with it!
Now, I should preface by saying that I am sort of ambivalent when it comes to variegated yarns. And the reason, is that I often love how they look in the skein, only to get disappointed by the knitted-up result. The Woolly Adventures 'Secret Lagoon' colourway actually looks better knit up than it does in the cake. So that cheered and impressed me quite a bit as I worked on the socks.
The yarn also most definitely does not look like a first attempt at dyeing! The 'Lagoon' is a vibrant (but not too vibrant) minty/seafoam sort of colourway - predominantly turquoise, with bits of white, green, and darkish slate blue. The colour distribution looks dynamic but well-controlled, with a lovely sense of movement throughout. The colours are crisp, with no 'dirty' looking patches where colours that weren't meant to mix, mixed.
If you are very observant, you can see that there are more dark patches in the first half of the skein (sock on the right, in the photo below). But, I have seen this same effect even in commercially dyed yarns, and some might consider this a feature rather than anything that warrants criticism. In any case: for their introductory batch this is beyond stellar, I think!
The yarn base itself is a fingering weight superwash merino/nylon blend. Of all the other sock yarns I've tried so far, it reminds me most of the yarn used by (Belfast dyer) Fine Fish. It is soft, and quite smooth - without feeling slippery, with a pleasant, faint scent to it. It is also definitely on the finer end of fingering weight sock yarn, so that my first test sock (on the right) - an experiment in 'old shale' lace repeats with a 54 stitch cast-on - came out tiny. So I revised the stitch pattern, allowing me to do a 64 stitch cast-on, and that is coming out spot-on for a woman's Small. I should add that I used 2.25mm DP needles for both socks - but my tension is a bit more relaxed than average, so that would be equivalent to a 'normal' person using a 2.50mm.
Overall I did enjoy working with this base yarn, and would knit with it again should they keep it as part of whatever range they eventually settle on. I cannot, however, comment on its durability at this time, as the test socks have not been finished or worn just yet.
What else... You can see in my photos how this yarn knits up in stockinette on the foot, in single rib on the cuff, in slip stitch on the heel on one of the socks, and in the lace repeats along the leg. The colourway is very versatile and looks just lovely throughout. So mainly I just want to reiterate that this is most impressive for a first attempt at professional yarn dyeing!
Congratulations to Dani and Sam on their new venture, and I wish them all the luck. I believe they are in the process of setting up an online shop, and in the meanwhile you can visit them on instagram at @woolly_adventures, or, if you're local (defined by willingness to travel!), see the first batch of their work at Row by Roe in Limavady.
Edited to add: the Woolly Adventures shop is now up online!
Also, the socks in the photos are my new Michelle pattern, which you can get here. The sample pair is on display at Row by Roe.