Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Contest Winners + NewsFlash!

Today is the day to announce the winners of my latest blog contest! To recap, the challenge was for you to guess which state had the second most members represented in my FF Seven Deadly Sins Sock Yarn Club. The first place to state - California - was too obvious an answer so I began the contest with guessing state number two. There were three prizes to be given and so I also specified that if three people did not guess the answer correctly, the prizes would be given to those who guessed the state in position number three and so forth. If more than three people answered correctly, prizes would be given based on first entries received.

The results were rather interesting (to me anyway ... but hey, I'm easily amused). The correct answer for the state right behind California with representation in the sock club is: ILLINOIS! Of all the entries I received, only one answered correctly. Congratulations to Leslie for her correct answer and capture of a prize!

The next most highly represented state in the sock club is: Virginia. And guess what? Not a single person guessed Virginia, which means we now move on to the next most highly-represented state.

The next answer is: Ohio. Only one person guessed Ohio correctly. Congratulations to Maureen for her correct answer.

For the final prize, we move down another notch on the list of most highly represented states. This one was the guess made by scores of people. The answer is: Oregon! This one was guessed by lots and lots of you, since it is after all the state where I live. The first person to submit the correct entry gets the prize. That was Cindy. Congrats, Cindy!

I quite enjoyed reviewing the submissions for this contest. Thank you all for your entries!

In other news, I want to give you all a quick heads-up to let you know that new colorways on my Alpaca/Wool and Mohair/Wool blends are right around the corner. I have fifteen new ones that just need to be photographed and named before they're ready to list. I'll post a note here when they're listed and will also send a message to mailing list. If you're not part of that list and want to be added, just send me an e-mail and I'll be happy to add you.

In addition to the new colorways on the Alpaca and Mohair blends, I'm also finally doing something I've meant to do for ages. I'm slowly beginning to take some of the very popular colorways on my Superwash Merino Sock Yarn and duplicating them on my Superwash Merino Sportweight. So far, there are just three of these added into my shop this morning, but there will be more slowly added over time.

The ones I've added already are all greens (no reason for that -- just happened to be colors I was working with at the time as I replenished Superwash Sock stock). Here's a photo of one for a bit of a taste. It's Deepest Forest:

This yarn is worth saying a bit about, as there are some important considerations about gauge and needle size if you choose to knit with this yarn. It's a 4-ply Superwash Merino, wonderfully soft with a slightly silky feel to it. I call it a sportweight, but some would look at it and say it's more of a DK or Light Worsted.

The thing about this yarn is that it's very soft and springy, with a good bit of memory. It can be knit on a pretty wide range of needles depending on your purpose. I recommend US #3 or 4 on the labels and in the listing, but here's a bit more info.

Many folks like this yarn for a heavier, winter sock. It's a great choice for that, but if you're using it for socks, I recommend you go down to the smallest needle that you feel comfortable with. That would likely be a #2. The reason for this is that superwash merino is a very slippery fiber and can have a tendency to stretch out over time and with wear. Knitting it at the firmest gauge possible for socks is going to give you better wear over time. I also always recommend that you keep in mind when washing that even though the yarn is superwash, it is still a delicate hand knit! Wash in cold water on gentle cycle, and avoid including it in a wash with big bulky items such as jeans that will cause lots of agitation and banging about in the wash. I would also put the socks or other garment into a lingerie bag for added protection. Once washed, lay flat to dry.

If you're using this yarn for a sweater, I would go with a #3 or 4 needle. You may be tempted to use a larger needle, but again you must keep in mind the slippery nature of the yarn. With a sweater, gravity will come into play when you wear it. The weight of the sweater will continually pull down with wear and you may find that if you knit it too loosely, the sweater may grow a bit over time.

Some of you who have been reading this blog for a long time may recall a sweater I knit with this yarn some time back.

I knit this on US #4 needles and it worked out perfectly. It's a loose enough knit that the sweater is soft and not too rigid, yet at the same time, it's tight enough that it's holding it's shape beautifully.

Some of you may also recall the ripple stitch throw blanket that I've slowly been knitting over these past several months. I must admit that I haven't touched it in a long time, but I *will* finish it one of these days!

This blanket is also knit with my Superwash Sportweight. I'm using a #5 needle for this. In fact, since I knit continental style and on large pieces tend to have a very loose hand, I'd say this is more like the equivalent of how a #6 needle would work for most people. This works perfectly for the blanket, since a little play and stretch over time won't hurt it at all and also since a blanket won't have the same gravitational effects with use that a sweater would (unless of course I decide to run about the house wearing it like a cape, playing superhero perhaps?).

Although all of this information on needle size and gauge may seem a bit much, don't let it scare you away! This is a wonderfully versatile yarn that can be used for a wide variety of projects.

Whewsh! That's about all for today. Stay tuned for news on the new Alpaca and Mohair blend colorways very soon. On top of that, I've actually found a few spare minutes here and there for knitting, so I'll have some WIP photos to share soon.

Everyone have a smashing day! I'm off to e-mail the contest winners now!


Barbara said...

congrats to the winners.

One of the things that I like to know about a yarn that I am buying for the first time without handling it, is the WPI. I don't have enough experience with commercial yarns to know the difference between a DK, Aran, Worsted etc descriptions.

I am a spinner and do understand WPI and YPP. Both of those together will give me a very good idea of how the yarn will work for a project.

AmysBabies said...

YA to all the winners :D

~Tonia~ said...

Congratulations to the winners.

The sweater is so pretty and so is the blanket.

Lynne E. said...

Darn it, I almost guessed Ohio. Congrats to the winners, anyway. :-) Thanks for all the info on how the information about how to handle the superwash merino, too. Can't wait to see the new colorways!

DragonsChest said...

I guessed Oklahoma -- that starts with an "O" -- does that count for anything? LOL LOL!!

Congrats to the winners, and enjoy your goodies! ~Suzy