My name is Carol Sulcoski and my book Sock Yarn Studio will be published by Lark in less than a month. I’m very excited to make my first appearance on the Lark Crafts blog.
Like many of you, I first learned how to knit when I was a child, and then came back to it as an adult. I started out making hats, then baby items, and then bigger projects, like sweaters. I have to confess, though, that in my early years as a knitter, I didn’t appreciate the many advantages of working with fine-gauge yarns. I only wanted to knit with worsted weights or heavier. Likewise, I didn’t quite understand why so many knitters were fascinated with making socks out of skinny yarn; it seemed so fiddly and so time-consuming. But as I knit more and more, and became more and more obsessed with yarn, I decided to give sock knitting a go.
Turns out I loved knitting socks. And one reason I loved knitting socks so much was the yarn.
The first pair of socks I knit were in Koigu, a handdyed all-wool fingering weight yarn. I had never seen colors and color combinations like the ones in Koigu, and I loved how the yarn was squishy and plump and felt wonderful sliding through my fingers. I loved the way each stitch stood so perfect and straight; the ribbing looked like it had been aligned with a ruler. Koigu was the first handpainted yarn I fell in love with, and it’s still one of my all-time favorite yarns to work with.
Alexander Street Hat, knit in two shades of Koigu KPPM yarn (one solid, one multi)
Next I discovered the genius of self-patterning yarns. I first encountered a yarn called Regia, a German sock yarn that was one of the first self-patterning yarns available in the US. I simply could not believe how fun it was to knit with a yarn that made, all by itself, different-colored stripes, checked patterns and other designs. Hardly any ends to weave in, no charts to follow, just watching the patterns develop as I knit my sock.
As I got more proficient at sock knitting, I began to notice all sorts of sock yarns. I learned that solid colored sock yarns weren’t boring at all—no, they were perfect for knitting more intricate stitch patterns like cables and lace. Without sharp color changes to distract the eye, one’s stitchwork was the focus of attention.
Chambourcin Halter designed by Laura Grutzeck, in Madelinetosh semisolid yarn
After I came to appreciate solid yarns, I began to notice yarns that had been handdyed in a single color, what most people refer to as “semi-solid” yarns. The lightness and darkness of the shades, the subtle changes in hue, became as inviting to me as multi-colored yarns.