Pattern: Improvised, 64 stitch toe-up sock with afterthought heel
Needles: US 2.5
Yarn: Knitpicks Felici Sport Self-Striping - Picnic
6 of 5. I like these so much more then 5 of 5. They are plush and snuggly, squishy and soft. My feet, cozy. I love looking at them and admiring the striping pattern. They are everything a homemade sock should be.
Unlike some other sock yarns in their line (I'm looking at you, Essential-now-known-as-Stroll), Felici is soft and agreeable to work with and the end result is great. A fine example of an inexpensive yarn not being cheap and a waste of your money. The colors are lovely--and let's face it, KP is not exactly known for having fab colorways, though they are getting better these past few seasons. The striping pattern is predictable. For lovers of self-striping yarn but not the price of indie-dyed ones, this is a great alternative. Right now, they are clearing out some of the summer-ish colorways in both the fingering and sport lines, and I suspect new ones will be arriving in the near future. I have very few complaints or items to nitpick--even though the list will look long, they're rather minor complaints.
However. I am Ms. Knitpicky, so of course, I have to give the negatives/faults as I see them.
There is a problem mentioned on the Ravelry page for this yarn, and I have to confirm it: the spin and plying on this is loose. It made casting on and getting set up a bit difficult, but after a few rounds, it wasn't so bad and was easy to control. Past the first 3/4" or so of knitting, I forgot about the loose plying and it became a non-issue.
There is an intensity difference between the two socks, even though the yarn is from the same dyelot and in the skein, they looked identical. Even in the picture I used today, it's pretty obvious that one of the socks has more contrast between the darkest and lightest colors then the other. This is not advertised as a hand painted yarn, so I have to assume that it was machine painted. Related to this, the less-intense skein was perfect, but the more intense one had a few spots where the green dye had dripped or splattered onto the pink, so 2 stitches would be the wrong color in a row here or there. (Thankfully, they all fell on the same side of the sock and became the bottom of the foot.) This issue was pretty minor, but for a perfectionist, it may not be tolerable.
This yarn is called a sport weight, though my experience has it pegged as a fingering weight...maybe a heavy fingering if one were to be generous about it. (Across the board, the yarn reviews on Ravelry agree on this.) I knit these on 2.5s, which may sound large for a fingering weight yarn, but I get the same gauge other knitters get on 1s or 0s when working with 2.5s. At this gauge, the fabric is wonderfully squishy and dense. I suspect had I gone up a half size or full size, it would still render a lovely fabric with a bit less sqooushiness. Had I knit this at the recommended gauge, for socks...? No. The fabric would have been very drapey and loose; I doubt it would wear well at all. This leads into my other observation....
Even though this is given as a wool/nylon blend, it is linty and reminiscent of a tencel blend. Some knitters love tencel; I do not happen to be one of them. Paired with wool, it was tolerable, but these socks have a rather distinctive fuzziness to them that gives them a slightly worn-in look. These socks will never have that crisp just-been-knit look to them. The fuzzing did make me a little batty at times, but it was not enough to deter me from finishing the project, nor would it prevent me from purchasing this yarn in the future. It didn't steal too much from my overall enjoyment of this project. (It could be the aforementioned loose plying that is causing this and not the fiber components.)
So, unlike the last inexpensive yarn, this one gets a thumbs up. I would never give up my indie-dyed self-stripies and knit exclusively with this (Seriously, not enough colorways to even consider it!), but for what it is, it's enjoyable. It's also good to know that for the price of a single skein of one of my indie-dyes, I can purchase 6 balls of Felici and get three rather tall pair of socks out of them. Even with my large calves, I was able to use all but 26 yards of yarn and have socks that reach pretty far up my leg.