Sheepish Yarn Co & Custom Toe-Up Socks

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.ย 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.

custom toe ups colorI almost have to squint at it, that’s how vibrant the color is. I love it!

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.

custom toe ups toeOf 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.

custom toe ups heelBack 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.

custom toe ups wholeThrow in Jeny’s Surpringly Stretchy Bind-off and I’ve got myself a beautiful pair of socks. And the fit is absolutely perfect. And the yarn is divine!

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

16 responses to “Sheepish Yarn Co & Custom Toe-Up Socks

  1. Your socks always look so neat, I hope mine will look the same some day. I can appreciate what you are saying regarding loyalty to the shop. I used to teach quilt classes and felt the same way. However, now that I find myself living in some remote places, and moving every 6 months I am glad you have become a “knitting nomad”. It is because of this blog and the KAL that I have been exposed to some wonderful new yarns, supplies and techniques. Thank you for all you do.

    • Thanks for this. It was a long period of adjustment for me to not have a yarnie home, but honestly I have been exposed to so many lovely & talented people as a ‘nomad’ that I am really thankful for where I’m at these days. ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW, working for the NPS sounds like a dream. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • When life blows up you make lemonade, and that is exactly what I did. If somebody would have told me 5 years ago I would go back to college for Forestry and be working for the NPS, I would have told them they were crazy. It truly has been an adventure and I have met some wonderful people along the way. I am heading back to Yellowstone for the summer. I will not have the computer access I have had lately , but my knitting will be coming with me.

      • Who really needs computer access when you’re in Yellowstone! We’ll miss you, but will be totally jealous. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We discussed visiting Yellowstone this summer, but are thinking we’ll wait another year or so when the kids are a bit older. Just to share my geek-ness, I am totally addicted to the USGS Volcano Hazards Program & check in on observations every few weeks. LOL!

  2. Gorgeous color…amazing socks…I’ll have to try a basic toe up next time, so that I can graduate to something like this. Surely you’ve posted a suggestion for the basic…can you post it again? You just keep being inspiring. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You know, I don’t currently have a good beginner toe-up pattern. The one I’ve used has a mathematical error that hasn’t been corrected yet. I haven’t personally tried them out, but I would check out Wendy D Johnson’s ‘Socks from the Toe Up’ — I have heard others in the KAL mention it with very warm regards. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’ve knit lots of socks, but never a toe-up. Your wonderful description has me yearning to try. What basic pattern would you recommend??

    • Oh, this is incredible, but I do not have a good beginner pattern! If you are good pattern reader and intermediate knitter you can definite go for this Custom Toe Up one. I’ve also heard great things about Wendy D Johnson’s Socks from the Toe Up. I have it, but haven’t used it yet, but it has been mentioned a bunch of the group thread.

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