My father really enjoys planning trips up to Wisconsin to see the American Players Theatre perform Shakespeare in their outdoor theatre in the woods. Spring Green is not terribly far from Chicago. It takes about 3 hours to drive there, pending traffic. However, my father prefers turning a trip to see the performance into a road trip, stopping at numerous towns along the way and sight-seeing in the area. Typically my only goal is to stop at the Mustard Museum and purchase more interesting condiments, but last year I tried to work another angle into our trip: yarn store.
It turns out there is a yarn store in Spring Green itself: Nina’s Department & Variety Store. “The Uplands of Southwest Wisconsin” includes this line in their publications about the store: “tucked into its own alcove at the back of the store is a complete yarn shop.” That really sums it up perfectly. The location for the entire store is not terribly large, but it is full of narrow aisles filled with everything from hardware to craft supplies. In the back there is an alcove. And it is definitely crammed with the stock of a small yarn shop. The shelves are veeeery close together, and none were anywhere close to being considered “empty” or “sparse.”
I decided that I wanted to buy sock yarn for myself, as at the time I had knit a few pair for my husband and only one pair for me–and I wasn’t really satisfied with the yarn knit up for the pair for me. A single skein of pale gray caught my eye (I really, really like gray~ ♥), and thus it came home with me. (I also bought the book Cast On, Bind Off, which has been one of the best purchases I’ve made as far as knitting books go. I use it constantly.)
The pale gray skein in question was Lorna’s Laces Solemate in one of their Chicago colourways: “The Bean.” Not only do the colours immediately appeal to me, but I work really close to Millennium Park downtown, so I see the Cloud Gate sculpture all the time.
Solemate feels thinner and less “bouncy” in my fingers than Shepherd Sock–probably the lower Merino content and the included “Outlast” material. It will be interesting to see how they both last, but considering that my husband and I wear out socks differently it’s not going to be a very even or necessarily informational comparison.
In the skein, “The Bean” had very large areas of a darker bluish gray against the paler silver gray and almost white hues. When I wound it into a cake, however, everything seemed to even out to show only moderate shifts in saturation and hue. It’s been knitting up without much distinct pooling, but a nice variety of tone. I’m really enjoying the way it looks.
On the whole, this yarn hasn’t been languishing in my stash for too long, but I’m glad to finally be working it into a pair of socks. I’ve had many different patterns in mind over the months since I purchased it, but I chose a pattern that I noticed only a week or two ago: Professor Higgins. I ♥adore♥ cables, and those cables are serious cable business.
The cables occupy a twenty row repeat, so I haven’t been able to memorize it. I’ve gotten pretty close, but my attempts to work it without having the chart handy resulted in several mistakes and some going backwards to fix those mistakes. I wanted to reference the pattern on my phone instead of printing it out, mostly because I started it on a weekend and I don’t have a printer in my home, but constantly logging in and bringing the pattern back up while I was working was getting really, really annoying. My solution was to zoom in on the chart, screenshot it on my phone, and set the screenshot of the chart as my phone’s lock screen. 😀 Now all I need to do is wake my phone back up, and my chart is there without entering the passcode. It’s been so much easier this way~
The pattern has three repeats of the cable pattern for the leg of the sock, but I may need to make my socks longer. I don’t like very short socks, and as I get nearer to the three repeats, it doesn’t look like they’re the length I prefer. I’m going to compare them against the socks I made previously–which are as short as I can stand socks to be–and make the decision from there. I know they’ll seem even shorter when they’re stretched width-wise when actually worn on a foot.