Opalicious

After complaining a bit about Opal sock yarn when I was working on the Opal Clouds Socks, I started another pair of socks in, you guessed it, Opal sock yarn. This time, it’s Opal Elemente, which is a more classic Opal colorway. This is the reason so many sock knitters like Opal.

Look at those gorgeous colors!

The pattern is Adrienne Ku’s Skyp Rib Socks (free Ravelry download here)

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The Skyp Rib Socks done in two colors

with a few modifications. I cast on 72 stitches, did 20 rounds of 2 x 1 cuff, and turned a Fish Lips Kiss heel.

The Fish Lips Kiss heel fits me perfectly.

I’ll finish off with a round toe instead of a wedge toe because a round toe just fits me better. And, of course, I am knitting the sock in just one color.

I’m using one of my new Hiya Hiya sock needles, 2.5mm, and I must say that I like this needle a lot. The points are very sharp, which I like, and the cables are flexible without being too floppy. And the length of the cable is perfect for doing Magic Loop. I think I like the Chiao Goo Red Lace needles just a teeny, tiny, little bit better than the Hiya Hiyas, but it’s really six of one, a half-dozen of the other.

I’m happy with the yarn, happy with the needles, happy with the pattern. Life is good.

Note To Self

I got a package from Amazon today. These are the contents.

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The book Sock Architecture has been in my Amazon Wish List for quite a while, but the HiyaHiya sock needles were sort of an impulse purchase. I have been wanting to try HiyaHiya knitting needles for years, and I do have some HiyaHiya needles in my Amazon Wish List, but I just never got around to actually ordering them.

In the meantime, I kind of fell in love with Chiao Goo Red Lace circular needles. The needles are beautifully polished stainless steel, the cables are plastic covered steel cable, and the joins are smooth as can be. The cable has virtually no memory and is flexible without being floppy, so these needles are perfect for knitting in Magic Loop, which is a technique for knitting an item with a small circumference in the round using just one circular needle instead four or more double-pointed needles.

"Gray Vanilla" sock on the Chiao Goo using Magic Loop

“Gray Vanilla” sock on the Chiao Goo using Magic Loop

I have one Chiao Goo circular needle in size 2.5mm (US 1.5) with a cable that is long enough for doing Magic Loop, and when that needle is in use, I can’t start another sock unless I use double-pointed needles. I used to be a die-hard, double-pointed-needle kind of sock knitter. I used the Magic Loop technique for knitting sweater sleeves and neckbands in the round, and for finishing hats. But I didn’t like the technique for socks. I sometimes would knit socks using two circular needles, but not Magic Loop. In fact, I actually started the Gray Vanilla sock on DPNs because my Chiao Goo was in use for another sock, the infamous Opal Cloud socks. But as soon as I knitted the last stitch on the second Opal Cloud, my Chiao Goo 2.5mm circular needle replaced the DPNs in Gray Vanilla.

I don’t know when everything changed and Magic Loop became my favorite technique for knitting socks. Probably when I found a short-row heel technique that fit me well. Anyway, I am now a Magic Loop convert. And when I saw this set of HiyaHiya circulars in sizes most used for socks–I use mostly 2.5mm and 2.25mm needles for sock knit in fingering weight yarn–that came in a beautiful needle case at a very reasonable price, I just couldn’t resist.

Four 40-inch circular needles all snug in the case.

Four 40-inch circular needles all snug in the case. The lining of the case is black; it looks blue in this picture because the flash washed it out.

The sizes include 2.25mm, 2.5mm, 2.75mm, and 3.0mm.

The sizes include 2.25mm, 2.5mm, 2.75mm, and 3.0mm. And there are pockets to hold two more circular needles, and also pockets to hold DPNs and/or crochet hooks.

The case folds and buttons shut. It's really beautiful.

The case folds and buttons shut. It’s really beautiful.

There is a zippered compartment on the outside that is perfect for storing a yarn gauge, stitch markers, Chibis, or even a small pair of scissors.

There is a zippered compartment on the outside that is perfect for storing a yarn gauge, stitch markers, tapestry needles, and a small pair of scissors.

I don’t know whether I will like the HiyaHiya needles as well as the Chiao Goo, but I’m going to have fun finding out. 🙂

Note to self: don’t buy any more knitting books about socks, no matter how many rave reviews it gets.  Just. Don’t. (More on the book at a later date.)

PS: If you are interested in exploring Magic Loop, there is a pretty good video here. If this link doesn’t work, just google Magic Loop, and there will be lots of links to direct you to information on how to do Magic Loop.