One of the beautiful things about this day & age is that if you don’t have ready access to a brick & mortar local yarn shop, you can still support many of these fantastic small businesses online. In fact, if you are like me you kind of feel like every little online shop is your neighborhood. It is awesome and dangerous, especially since ‘visiting’ these shops does not require me to change out of my slippers.
When it comes to online shops, I look for the same things that I seek in brick & mortar ones — personality, warmth, and a distinct impression that the people running the business are unabashedly passionate for their craft, the materials they sell, and for sharing that enthusiasm with others. When I was offered the opportunity to try out a skein of custom dyed yarn from A Good Yarn in Sarasota, Florida, of course the first thing I did was check out their (newly redesigned and beautiful) website. The photo that pops up on their homepage is an image of a group of ladies knitting together who are clearly having fun. That first impression they give you isn’t one of their awesome custom yarns or colorways which would be an easy, no-brainer because those yarns are gorgeous. Instead the shop takes that first image to show people enjoying the craft. To me, that sets an important tone and it makes me want to support this shop!
Now the skein I received to test drive is pretty special. The story goes that the shop’s owner’s husband is an avid diver who also photographs the underwater flora & fauna on his dives. Gill’s Night Out…
Is a custom colorway dyed by Three Irish Girls based on this photo…
My skein is an absolutely scrumptious merino/cashmere/nylon blend. It’s worsted weight and is just a soft & bouncy dream. No, ‘soft’ doesn’t quite cut it. I don’t have the word — it’s just everything you imagine when you see the “MCN” abbreviation and then some. So what to make with this beautiful yarn? I’m generally not a worsted weight sock kind of girl. Actually, I’ve actually never knit a worsted weight sock for anyone older than an infant before. For whatever reason though, this yarn wanted to be ridiculously warm, insanely soft, crazy-squishy socks.
With only about 200yards of yarn I knew I needed to use every last inch, so there was no question that I needed to find a toe-up pattern and that I would be working them two-at-a-time to really maximize what I could use. I also didn’t want anything fancy or complicated. That’s when I remembered purchasing a copy of Ann’s 5-Gauge Socks by Ann Budd a few months earlier. Driven by gauge & measurements, this pattern was a perfect match.
It didn’t take long to know I’d made a fantastic choice.
Knit in a simple 3×1 rib and considering the worsted weight, these socks flew off the needles. They literally took less than 3days start to finish for the pair and that is during the school week when I only really get to knit for a few minutes in the morning, over lunch break, and then in the evening. I documented progress pretty religiously over on my Instagram account and at this point…
I asked if I should bind-off or try to eek another round out. Advice was mixed — everything from ‘you don’t have enough’ to ‘go for it!’.
And in the waning autumn light…I went for it!
Ultimately I got not one, but two more rounds + a Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off out of that little bit that was left.
The strands above the socks are what I had leftover (pardon the awful lighting). Now that is making the most of a luxury skein!
The final product… well, you tell me what you think…
Now if after all this you’ve fallen in love with this yarn and simply must have it, the Gill’s Night Out colorway is currently available in Glenhaven Fingering — a fingering weight MCN, as well as Adorn Sock — a merino/nylon blend. If you are dying for a skein of this in the worsted weight version you see here, I’ve been reassured by Susan at A Good Yarn that although it’s temporarily out of stock, it’ll be back soon. It’s also worth mentioning that these folks have recently added an exclusive blend of fingering weight yarn to their label. A special mix of merino, cashmere, and seacell (of course!), A Good Yarn Fingering is dyed by Katie Frachesci of Yarn Love. I don’t know about you, but based on my beautiful socks, I’m kind of excited to see this new treat knit up ,too!
After this little test drive, I think I know why the ladies at A Good Yarn – Sarasota are smiling… not only do they have access to a wonderful shop with a newly retooled beautiful & easy to use online shop, they must be knitting with these gorgeous, luxurious yarns!
For more details on these socks, please check my Ravelry project page here.