I decided to try the new Noro Sock Yarn my local store started carrying. I really, really hoped that I would like it. Noro yarn in general has never really been a favorite of mine. I have found it to be full of knots, somewhat rough, and with a fair amount of debris such as sticks and hay and other vegetable matter. In addition, there can be very thick places in the yarn around color changes But, the colors seduced me and I bought a ball. I wanted to make socks that reminded me of the wonderful trip I had to Hawaii and from the outside of the ball, it looked like this colorway would do it. Blues, greens, sandy browns... Too bad I didn't see the TWO knots on the outside of ball before getting it home.
I like to break my sock yarn into two balls before I start so I don't use too much for one sock. I got out the ball winder and wound the entire thing into one ball. Then, I placed this ball on the scale, weighed the grams, and divided by two. After that, it was easy to get two balls the same weight by winding off with the big ball on the scale and watching for the grams to reach the number that would be half. If you ever try this, make sure stop winding and weigh without tension on the ball to get a true weight. Also, if you're going to wind a ball one way, you should wind the opposite way the next time. Every time you wind, you either add or remove twist. If I ever use the ball winder, I always wind it twice for this reason. The first time adds the twist, the second time takes it away again. That tip came from Judith MacKenzie McCuin, the Crone of All Things Wooly.
I had never made a toe up sock before, nor had I ever used two circulars, so I decided to give those techniques a try. I went in search of patterns and found the Snake River Socks, with the added benefit of instructions for Judy's Magic Cast On on the same website. It's Judy's site. I recommend the video at Renaissance Yarns. It's very well done. The toe, the socks, everything, ended up to be easy to do and fun. I miss my DPNs, but with the hand issues I've been having lately, size 1 circulars were much easier to use than size 1 sticks. I didn't drop them once! I had to wind off a walnut of the Noro yarn to make these socks match colorwise. I like the charm of fraternal socks, but the intended recepient of these sock will like that they match. The colors are the colors of Hawaii and the Faux Cable pattern has the rolling movement of the waves. Oh, how I'd love to be at the beach today... I did need to keep track of where I was in the pattern as it was somewhat difficult for me to "read" my knitting. I shortened the socks a bit as my friend likes shorter legged socks. This pattern also made a long footed sock (for me). I wear a size 8.5 and it was about an inch longer than would have fit my foot.
I ended up having 4 knots in the ball, 4 more than I think any ball should have. The knots visible in the other picture were at the end of the ball and didn't make color sense at all. That's one of the problems with Noro yarn, in my opinion. We buy it for the beautiful colors and the way they progress from one to another, until BAM! A knot with a color out of order that messes up the whole thing so that if you WANT to maintain color order in your work, you're left with finding the color that should come next and making your own breaks. It's a pain. I also found this sock yarn "sticky". It tangles because of the stickyness and I had to stop a lot and undo knots. These socks will be warm and colorful, but they may be the last I'll ever do in Noro Sock Yarn. With softer and just as beautiful yarn out there to make socks with, Noro is just not worth the hassle.