I am a very loyal person by nature, so for the years I spent teaching I almost exclusively used yarns available at the shop at which I worked. There were a few minor exceptions, but these forays to the outside yarn world were very limited. Of course I would want to promote the yarns and accessories right there in the shop. Of course I wanted to make it easy for students to pick up the same projects I had worked. It was just good business & common sense, I thought. Since leaving the job though, I have found my sea legs as a bit of a knitting nomad. With no real anchor, I’ve been reacquainting myself with shops & dipping my toes in the waters of indie dyers the world over. While I love all my new options, it is still a special treat to find something new & exciting coming out of my local area. In January one such treat was born, a new indie dye house, Sheepish Yarn Co.
Headed by Jennifer Donze, the Education & Special Events Coordinator for Cream City Yarn in Brookfield, WI, Sheepish Yarn Co has started with a very solid line of gorgeous fingering weight yarn. At 80% Superwash BFL – 20% nylon, BFL Sock is a high-twist yarn that is perfect for a wide variety of projects, not the least of which is socks. The first color collection is appropriately name ‘The Wisconsin Collection’ with each color endearingly named for places or elements in nature around our fair state. It was so hard for me to choose a color — Nuthatch, Paper Birch, and Summer Fields were some of my favorites (you can see them all here). Knowing these would be socks, I wanted a color I didn’t have in my stash and I’m afraid that blue-lover that I tend to be has me flush with blues so I had to hold on the skein of Nuthatch I was really lusting over. In the end, I chose Cedarburg Winery. I have a real love of the winery for which it is named — I had hoped to get there and snap some photos for this post, but our unrelenting winter has made wondering the quaint streets of Cedarburg less appealing than I’d like. In any case, I was lured in my this vivid magenta that is so far from my status quo cool blues.
I thought it fitting to try out one of Ms Donze’s socks patterns while I was knitting with her beautiful yarn. Offering both toe-up and top-down custom sock patterns, I decided to go with her Custom Toe Up Socks. Admittedly, I am not one to do a ton of customizing when I knit. I will adjust little bits here and there, but generally speaking I appreciate a well-written pattern as my guide and I tend to pick patterns that allow me to just follow the directions & knit. The allure of custom fitting socks was pretty fervent though as it would open some doors for making good fitting socks for me & my family. Plus, with this wildly bright yarn a little adventure seemed in order.
Of course, my toe-up socks started with the toe. Of course. It just so happened that I was working on these toes in the car, so I opted for the slightly less involved yo + ktbl combination for the toe increases where the pattern calls for the much tighter, more finished lifted increases.
Back to being stationary for the gusset, I used the lifted increases here and am very pleased with the results. The heel turns call for a full-on wrap & turn treatment which I think leaves a very nice looking heel indeed.
Win. Win. Win.
I enjoyed the pattern very much, but I would recommend it for knitters with some sock knitting experience or who are intermediate level knitters. While a well-written pattern, it does include some slightly more advanced techniques — like the lifted increases and wrap & turns — that it really helps to have experience with & a degree of comfort with before working these socks. Having a basic toe-up pattern under your belt before trying it will insure smooth sailing.
The yarn I recommend for absolutely everyone. It is soft and warm and knits up into beautiful socks. Maybe you should try the Nuthatch. Or Port Washington. Oh! Or Juniper. Or my beautiful Cedarburg Winery. Whatever the case, you should definitely put Sheepish Yarn Co on your ever-growing ‘to-knit’ list!
Check out the collection on the Sheepish Yarn Co website
Sheepish Yarn Co Yarns are available online at Cream City Yarn’s online shop
For questions or more information, you can contact Sheepish Yarn Co here
For Jennifer Donze’s pattern shop on Ravelry, please click here
For my Ravelry project page for these socks, please click here