Sunday, December 30, 2007

How Much Is Enough?

Quantity of yarn seems to be an issue all around, just now. How much does it take? How much do I need?

In yesterday's post, I didn't think to mention how much yarn the silky scarf required. Let me remedy that now. It took only one 100-gram skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk, with plenty left over. In fact, thanks to the new digital scale I got for Christmas, I can tell you that there are 32 grams left. Based on that, I estimate that Mom's scarf must have taken roughly 300 yards of yarn to knit.

Now, about that 32 grams. That's far too much to throw away, especially since it's so lovely. There's an old saying from times of wartime scarcity: "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." That really appeals to my innate frugality. I'd like to use the Sea Silk up. What do you suppose I can make from 1/3 of a skein of Sea Silk? I'll have to give that some thought.

My brother's socks are another matter entirely. I knew all along that there was a good chance that one skein of Socks That Rock would not be enough to complete a pair of men's socks. Even though the skein is about 4 1/2 ounces, the yarn is dense and heavy, so the yardage is moderate. Nevertheless, I knit heedlessly on, figuring that, if needed, contrasting toes would be my secret weapon. Once the first sock was done (but the yarn not cut!) I would determine whether I had enough for the second by comparing the weight of the completed sock and the remaining ball of yarn. When I got there, the completed sock weighed 71 grams, and the rest of the ball weighed only 51 grams. Not even close! I was definitely going to come up way short. I could feel the difference even without the scale.

Well. Contrasting toes are an awfully nice touch, don't you think? And they spend most of their time deep inside shoes. Nobody but the wearer need ever know, unless he chooses to doff his shoes and wiggle his toes. Surely that bespeaks a cozy degree of chumminess that ought to be able to withstand even the most startling contrasting toes! Besides, my brother is just generally a good-humored sort of fellow.

So, using my handy little scale, I ripped out enough rows to even up the weight. I knit the second sock to the same point, thinking all the while that I could do the toes with one of the other skeins of Socks That Rock that I already have on hand. I do want to use the same type of yarn so there won't be a difference in texture.

Now that both socks are ready, the question becomes acute. Here are my options. The skein in the center seems the most likely candidate, but it's not ideal. I find that I'm pickier now than I had expected. My sweet brother's good humor notwithstanding, I want to present him with a beautiful pair of handknit socks, not one thrown together as potluck.

So even though I'm eager to keep going, it looks like I won't be happy unless I order another skein specifically chosen for these socks. It will still need to be a contrasting color, since another skein of the same Lagoon colorway would most likely be from a different batch and leave a tide mark. I'll order another color that I hope will coordinate, and pace the floor impatiently until it gets here.

Looking at all of the beautiful colorways on the Blue Moon Fiber Arts site, it's awfully tempting to throw in a couple more pretty skeins for myself while I'm at it. But that would be gratuitous, wouldn't it? While my store of sock yarn has not reached national strategic stockpile proportions, I can hardly say I'm lacking. After all, how much is enough?


Mary said...

When you find out the answer to that question, please let me know, because my sock yarn stash is becoming obscene. No more STR! (Unless they come out with a gorgeous new irresistable colorway. Heh!)

I think the problem is that sock yarn is an easy "souvenier" yarn, when visiting out-of-town yarn shops and festivals. Something to say "I was here" but not buy a sweater's worth of yarn....

Frankly, I think your brother's socks are crying out for solid or tonal navy toes, and surely that could be found locally, without the temptation of an online STR purchase? Just a thought....

As far as the leftover seasilk -- what about a little silk bag? Maybe with beads? A couple of shops in town sell the Tilli Tomas silk bag liners....

Knittin' Diva said...

I would have to agree with Mary...I think a solid navy, would be the best bet for the toes in these socks.

Good luck finding a project for the sea silk....a little amulet bag, with beads, might be a nice gift for neicy.