Monday, October 28, 2013

Sock Yarn Test Drive - American B.R.A.N.D.

I received a skein of American B.R.A.N.D. by HiKoo to test drive. This is a fingering weight yarn, 80% wool and 20% nylon. The yarn is made from the wool of the Rambouiller sheep, raised in the U.S. and dyed with natural dyes. Natural dyes limit the colors available.

The dye sources and colors are:


Gall Nuts  Cochineal
Pomegranate  Indigo
Cutch  Rhubarb Root
Walnut  Fustic Wood
Madder RootWeld Flowers

I took the skein home and put it on the swift. I had some problems winding, so I had to do a hand wind. I don't know if this is characteristic of the yarn, just something to note. However, the most notable thing that occurred when winding the ball was what it did to my hands. My hands were filthy. It didn't look like color crocking, but I'm not familiar enough with Rhubarb Root as a natural dye to know if it was the cause. I washed my hands and the color / dirt washed away.

The yarn is a 4-ply yarn with a nice twist. I wanted a ribbed based pattern for stretch and to be able to see the stitch definition.

I decided to knit the Cookie A Elm sock pattern to test this yarn. This pattern looked like it would had some good stretch so I wouldn't have to do any sizing. (famous last words! More on this later.)

After knitting halfway through the leg I've seen only slight crocking and no more dirt transfer to my hands. The crocking is so light that it had to be pointed out to me, probably a result of the color. The American Volcanoes colorway does crock and was seen on another yarn tester. Dirt transfer has not been seen by other yarn testers, so I'm assuming it was an aberration with this skein or dye transfer to this skein from other skeins, which transferred to my hands.

The yarn itself is slightly rough in the hand, feeling somewhat like cotton. The yarn isn't very splitty. I can split the best of them, especially when doing M1R & M1Lp stitches and i did split it when making these stitches, but not to excess. I'm a tight knitter, so the more plies, the more likely I am to split a yarn. Overall, this one is performing pretty well, although once it "untwists" all bets are off. Luckily this didn't happen too often and it didn't happen when I ripped back my heel turn twice!

The only other oddity I found while knitting was a piece of vegetal matter plied into the yarn.

I completed the first sock and soaked the sock in cold water for 10 minutes before blocking. Quite a bit of color leached into the water in that time. I find that this happens with many yarns I use, although in this case the color of the water was not the color of the yarn. The water is brown. A little investigation online showed that rhubarb root gives a pale yellow to a bronze yellow color, so maybe brown water water isn't too far from the expected.


Would I knit with this yarn again? Yes. I like the yarn and can cope with the crocking & dye leaching, but given the limited colors, it might be difficult to match yarn and project. Hopefully we will see more colors in the future.

Pattern Issues

I knit the leg on a US 1.5 (2.50 mm) as is typical for me, but with only 60 stiches and a fixed row repeat, the leg is stretched to its max. It does seem to fit my husband though, so on I go. I want a finished object that I can block to see how the yarn feels after blocking.

Upon further examination, I can knit this sock again, starting with row 11 of chart B. The result would be a shorter sock that would fit me.

Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry;

Photos copyright Prairie Willow Knits. Color card photo, copyright HiKoo by Skacel. Pattern copyright Cookie A

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