Introducing Imagination

I’m really excited to finally get to share with you a yarn line that we’ve been working on for 9 months! Imagination is a hand-painted Superwash Merino and Alpaca blend sock yarn. It’s machine washable (we weren’t sure if it would be, but it passed the machine washing tests with flying colors), and it knits up to be slightly thicker than our existing sock yarns, probably because the Alpaca content makes it a little fuzzier and lofty. The photo on the right is my ad photo, so you can see the names (click for bigger).

I thought I would give you a behind the scenes look at how we picked colors for this yarn, which has up to 7 colors in each colorway. At our fall color choosing meeting, Tina and Kelley approached Katie and me and asked that we come up with 8 colorways for the new hand-painted sock yarn because we design fabric for our sister company, Connecting Threads, so we have a lot of experience with coordinating colors within one design. The challenge was that we had to mock up a hank on the computer that simulated what the hank would look like when the dyers at our factory paint it. So we created long donut shapes in Photoshop and “painted” them with our colors of choice. At first we thought it would be hard to come up with so many combinations out of the blue, but then we hit upon the fairy tale theme. The first colorway I created was a purple, blue, green and charcoal one, and it reminded me of the “Wicked” broadway poster that I’d seen a couple months earlier, thus “Wicked Witch” was born. Once I had a theme, it was very easy to come up with color combinations. In fact, that hard part was stopping!

Once we had the colorways finished and approved by the rest of the Knit Picks gang, we printed them out, mailed them to the factory, and the factory dyers pasted those printouts directly over their workstations for reference while dyeing. I was very nervous how the yarn would come out, since I only had limited dyeing experience, so we sent two extra colorways. That way we figured we could drop at least two if they didn’t work out. Well, we were blown away by the results when our test skeins came back a few months later. We tried to eliminate two colorways, but we all loved them so much that Kelley convinced Bob that we should just keep all 10!

When the yarn arrived, we all took turns passing around a “sock leg” that Kerin started to see how they all knit up. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the colors blended nicely without dramatic pooling. (Results will vary, of course, based on gauge and stitch count.) At first Kerin’s sock leg was 68 stitches around, but we realized that the yarn is a little heavier than our other sock yarns, so the sock was looking huge. I decreased down to 60 stitches on my portion (see where it narrows at Gingerbread House?), and that produced a more average sized sock leg. I must note that the only yarn that is missing from this photo is Wicked Witch. Karen Johnson, our Connecting Threads VP, was so enamored of it that she absconded with the yarn and knit full socks! She’s been out sick, so I couldn’t get a photo. Her socks are 68 stitches around, and they’re pooling in a very cool spiral design. If knit at 60 stitches, Wicked Witch would be more blended, similar to Lost Boys.

I hope you enjoy our newest sock yarn! It will be on our web site this Friday, and it will be $4.99 per 50 gram skein. I’m having a hard time narrowing down my favorites. I HAVE to have Seven Dwarves, Frog Prince, and Wicked Witch, but a couple others might “fall into my cart” as well. Which colors are your favorites? <