Pretty Yarn, Ugly Socks

You remember August, don’t you? Back in August of last year, I posted this picture of the first sock of a pair I had started using some Opal sock yarn from deep in my stash.

The leg unstretched

The leg unstretched

I mentioned that I thought the yarn was supposed to look like clouds in a blue sky, but although the yarn looks beautiful in the ball, when knitted up it isn’t all that attractive. The leg of the sock doesn’t look much better when stretched.

The leg stretched on the sock blocker

The leg stretched on the sock blocker

At first the yarn did knit up looking sort of like clouds in a blue sky if you really wind up your imagination, but the patterning changed as I continued knitting the leg, and then it changed again when I got to the heel and foot, probably because while the instep was still ribbed, the sole was stocking stitch. Purl stitches use a teeny tiny bit more yarn than knit stitches, and that difference is enough to change the way the colors stack up. And naturally, the second sock looks a lot different from the first.

The legs of the socks don’t look like they were knitted from the same yarn, do they.

You’d never guess that both these socks were knitted with the same yarn on the same needles with the same stitch count and same gauge.

First sock is on the left, second sock is on the right.

I guess I knitted the leg of the second sock slightly looser (or maybe tighter) than the first sock. Notice that on the first sock, the patterning changes from looking a little bit like clouds in a blue sky to ugly flashing. I loathe flashing, which is that zig-zag type of pooling that often occurs on handpainted or space-dyed yarn with short color repeats. On the leg of the second sock, the colors just spiral around the sock. I much prefer the spiraling that you see on the leg of the second sock to the flashing on the first sock.

I worked a Fish Lips Kiss heel, which is a short-row heel that fits me better than any other heel I have worked, and it’s easy to knit, too. The great fit makes up for the lack of aesthetic value. I can live with the turning stitches not being very pretty when it means having a perfect fit.

The Fish Lips Kiss heel fits great, but it isn't especially attractive.

The Fish Lips Kiss heel fits great, but it isn’t especially attractive.

The feet of the socks look pretty decent. The yarn pattern didn’t spiral, nor did it flash. While the top part of these socks is flat-out ugly, the bottom part is only semi-ugly. I think they actually turned out the way the yarn supposed to look.

Does the patterning on the feet look like clouds in a blue sky to you?

Once upon a time I was quite enamored of Opal sock yarn, and I have quite a bit of it in deep stash. But that was back in the 1990s. After knitting a few pairs of socks in Opal, I finally realized that while the Opal colorways look really pretty in the ball, when they are knitted up they all too often are just a hot mess. And the yarn itself isn’t that great. It’s a little rough and not that pleasant to knit with.  I am so over Opal. What took me so long?



7 thoughts on “Pretty Yarn, Ugly Socks

    • Opal is a basic sock yarn, hard wearing, but just a little rough for my taste. It comes in a lot of self-patterning colorways, some of which work pretty well, but most of them, in my opinion, are pretty unattractive. I like Trekking XXL much better, or Regia, or Socka. Nicer yarn, nicer colorways. I do think these Opal socks look way better than any of the socks I have ever knit with Lorna’s Laces. I think Lorna’s Laces knits up into the ugliest socks ever, or at least the original Lorna’s Laces did. I haven’t bought any since the the ownership changes, and I think almost all the old colorways have been discontinued. The newer colorways might knit up pretty. But they still have the Rainbow colorway, which, while beautiful in the skein, knits up uglier than any yarn on the face of the earth. Just my opinion, YMMV. 🙂

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  1. Pingback: Opalicious | All Kinds Of Knitting

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