Friday 6 October 2017

FO Friday: Captain Nemo socks (Knit Picks Felici review)

Over the two and a half years since I learnt to knit socks, I have learnt that my favourite socks to knit and wear are vanilla socks (socks knitted in stocking stitch with no additional patterning). Vanilla socks really are the ultimate portable project: 100g of yarn and a single set of needles and you have a project that you can take anywhere with you, with long stretches of straight-forward knitting that can be done in waiting rooms, on the bus or while chatting with friends; you only have to pay attention for the heels and toes, and once you've done a few of those, even they don't pose much of a challenge. For ultimate portability, afterthought heels leave the heels to the end, so you don't even have to worry about those halfway through the sock.

Vanilla socks are made even better with the addition of self-patterning yarn. Self-patterning yarn, as the name suggests, does the hard work for you, by being coloured in such a way that it stripes or patterns as you knit. You can get striped yarns, fairisle-effect yarns, animal print yarns, even yarns that create pictures as you knit!

One of the yarns I was most excited about trying when I got confident knitting socks was Felici, a merino-nylon blend produced by Knit Picks, which comes in a wide variety of self-striping colourways. Only one drawback: Knit Picks are based in the US and, when I first heard about them, only shipped to selected countries, and those countries did not include the UK.

And then, late in 2015, Knit Picks started shipping to the UK and I got my hands on some Felici. I bought three colourways* and set about knitting some lovely stripey socks.

Felici collection: clockwise from top left: Spring Blooms, Coutness, Rainbow, Captain Nemo

Felici is released in batches once or twice a year, and when it's gone it's gone. I managed to get two colourways in the last release: Captain Nemo and Spring Blooms. I cast on the Captain Nemo colourway at the start of the summer and finally finished the socks last weekend.

The first thing to say about this yarn is that it is so soft. The yarn is made of a blend of merino (75%) and nylon (25%) - the nylon strengthens the yarn, making for quite durable socks. I would say though that I find the yarn knits up slightly looser than I would expect on my standard needle size (2 mm) - every pair of socks I have knitted with Felici has come out the tiniest bit bigger than expected, so consider going down a needle size or casting on slightly fewer stitches than you usually would.

The yarn comes in an amazing selection of bright colours, however, the colours are varied seasonally, and are not often repeated, so you should always buy as much as you need when you see it, as you may not be able to find the right colourway again. There are a couple of downsides to the colours: sometimes the colours have inconsistent stripe widths between colours in the the sequence, which can look a little odd when knitted up; often the contrast between adjacent colours is not great enough, so it looks like you have one giant stripe in one colour; and sometimes the colour changes are not the cleanest.

So here they are, my latest Felici socks. The colours are fab, and I really do love them. I knitted them from the toe up and added an afterthought heel. I had fun doing the heel of the first sock - I had left my scissors and darning needle at home, but managed to improvise with a fork to snip the stitch for the heel, and did the Kitchener stitch with my circular needle.

Ravelry project page
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici (currently unavailable)

*Two balls of each - the balls are 50 g each, so unless you're knitting small children's socks, you'll need two balls.

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