My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The good:

I finished my knee socks!


To recap, there were knit from Scarlet Fleece superwash dk yarn in the “Olives and Pimientos” colorway using 3.25mm needles. I am pleased with them, but the next pair I make, I won’t increase to quite as many stitches — they could be an ootch tighter around the top.

But I love ’em anyway!

The bad and the ugly:

Look at this yarn.


Seems innocent enough, doesn’t it? It’s Opal 6 (dk weight sock yarn) in color #1126.

Yeah, but wait’ll you see it knitted up.

Brace yourself.


What is up with this? Is it just me, or is it seriously ugly?

I couldn’t bring myself to knit any further on it, so here’s the state of the sock now.


Anyone want some slightly used Opal 6 sock yarn already split into two equal balls? First person to leave me a comment saying he/she wants it gets it.

That sounds like a threat, no? If you actually like this yarn, you are welcome to it! I promise not to judge you. πŸ˜‰

So I dug out my other skein of Opal 6 (color #1255) and started this:


Much better, but still — what’s up with that striping pattern? I think I’ll call it “Vague Stripes With Blue Zits.”

Thank you so much for all your nice comments about the kimono jacket and about my hair (or lack thereof).

About the kimono jacket — I may write up the pattern when I get a chance. Stay tuned.

Lucy is sort of bored by the idea.



  1. I’ll take the yarn!! I love it!!

  2. Wendy, I think the colorway you gave up on is very nice!! With jeans? huh? Love those kneesocks!!!!

  3. I like the colorway of the frogged sock better than the second one. I adore the zing of the pink!

  4. Re the self-patterning yarn, I think it’s just that you have done some lovely fair isle work yourself, and the faux fair isle has no charms. Giving it away is a brilliant idea! I guess, if you can handle the colorway long enough to finish the socks, the Blue Zits will look fine with jeans. And boots. (Joking! Joking! They will look great, and be very comfy too.)

  5. I have some Opal, red/white/blue/black (WHY the black?)… U-G-L-Y… could never get myself to use it either. Good thing yours has been claimed already by the first few folks commenting! Mine is buried somewhere.

  6. Yeah, no so much into the Opal. Hey, what does the pillow Lucy is on say?

  7. It looks like… Opal.

    You either love it or you don’t.

  8. I think I’ll pass on the Opal – you have shown us so many other amazing sock yarns it would be hard to settle for that one – but I would love to hear if you have an easy way of dividing your sock yarn into two even balls. I haven’t yet figured out a way that isn’t tedious (maybe there isn’t one!). Thanks.

  9. Loving the knee socks!

  10. Ha ha! That Opal colorway was the very first pair of socks I knit in fingering weight yarn about 3 years ago. I kind of like it… But I like the handdyed sort of solids better these days.

  11. I really don’t like Opal. It feels scratchy to me (and I don’t mind some nylon) and most of their colorways are just plain ugly. I have bought two balls of the new petticoat – the butter yellow and turquoise, and the pink, lime, and navy colorway. Both pretty! I think whoever did Opal’s colors for so long just really LOVED black, and felt the need to combine it with every other color in a “fun” pattern. πŸ˜›

  12. The good is very good. And that first Opal looks nicer than the second, to me anyway. lol
    Since the yarn is gone, I got dibbs on Lucy. I called it FIRST!

  13. I love the yarn!
    it’s wonderful!
    oh oh pick me pick me!!!

    sorry… but I do like it. Weird how ugly to one is lovely to another — and vice versa… (though I’ve yet to see ugly here..)

  14. I do hope you post the kimono pattern soon – I just love it. It looks beautiful. Personally I prefer the first pair of socks, I’m glad someone claimed it!

  15. How do you do the knee socks? I’m thinking of doing some with a skein of Schaefer’s Anne yarn that I just bought – I usually do cuff-down socks, since I find kitchener easy and an elastic cast-off HARD. But for these I was thinking of dividing it in two and doing toe-up so I can do knee-socks in confidence.

  16. You’re right; it’s ugly. On the other hand, my lemming yarn (aka STR in the Lucy colorway) arrived today and it’s just boo-tee-ful. I feel a pair of socks coming on (once I finish Sandy and my bunny socks — Lisa Souza’s merino/angora in the ginger peach colorway).

  17. I realize I’m not the first, but I’d still take it. I used some Opal before, same patterning but even more garish colors (mustard, white, purple, magenta). It hurt my eyes, but it was still fun to see how it knit up. And the recipiant loved them.

    I’d also take them because I am a freshman in college and will eat things for money.

  18. It’s not ugly, but it’s not my favorite. I’m sure someone will be very happy with it.

  19. It is just…Opal. Sometimes Opal does not pattern very nicely and other times I love it. I’m sure you have other stash sock yarns that are more worthy of your time and talents.

  20. The knee socks are very cool, but I agree about the Opal … though I had never thought about “blue zits,” to be honest – it’s a perfect description though!

    I too received my “Lucy” yarn today. I’m going to make myself a pair of socks with it (for a change), but wait until after *all* of my holiday/birthday knitting is finished. That way I’ll have something to look forward to.

    And yes, please do consider sharing the kimono jakcket pattern, ’cause the final result is amazing!

    Hi Lucy!

  21. The knee socks look great. The opal socks? That’s a yarn that would be added to my “Must be Overdyed” basket – some of them just aren’t…..right πŸ™‚ I wonder if all the Opal 6 is like that, I’ve been wanting to try it but maybe not.

    The kimono jacket is stunning, the drape is very nice on Gwendolyn πŸ™‚

  22. May I make a confession that may get me branded as a heretic?

    I kind of hate all self-patterning yarns.

    There. I said it.

    Stripes? I love stripes! Variegated? I like the vast majority of it. Sock yarn that’s supposed to look like colorwork? Blech.

    Maybe I just haven’t found the right one, but I’ve never met a self-patterning yarn that I’ve really liked.

  23. kelly in new mexico says:

    I know I’m too late in response to recieve the yarn but I still wanted to tell you I think the yarn is really very pretty. Maybe it’s my computer but it looks like the yarn would go lovely with jeans. I like it anyhow! Also I LOVE the texture you created in the Kimono jacket by using the stitches you chose along with the yarn. I think the texture just pops out and begs to be touched, so watch out for people wanting to touch the jacket when you wear it. Good job, of course as usual.!!!!

  24. dana meadows says:

    i’ll take it…..just starting to knit socks and think it’s ok!

    of course, nothing beats the lucy yarn..

  25. The knee socks…great. The Opal yarn…yawn. Nothing compared to the STR Lucy colorway that I received Friday. But the best is the BMFA Kidmo (mohair) in the Lucy colorway that they dyed for me. Can’t wait to make a scarf in cat’s paw lace (thanks for the great idea and I may even try the socks too). The yarns looked beautiful on my cat, Pudgie Mocha and she approved of it by licking and snuggling it. Amazing how the colors are so purrfect with her coat and eyes. Will probably have to make a catnip toy with any leftover for her and her mom, sister and cousin.

  26. Here’s my take on the Opal sock yarn: You can knit Fair Isle in your sleep. You don’t need a yarn to “fake it” like some of us do. So to your highly trained eye..the pattern is simply ugly. To those of us less talented — it is nothing less than a miracle.

    Akin to Chateau Lafite next to Thunderbird.

  27. I kinda dig the yarn. But, here’s the challenge for you: What would your ideal self-patterning sock yarn actually look like? Dissect that yarn. Is it the colors that don’t work for you? The faux isle? The random variations within the colors? I like to dissect bad purchases to help me be a better consumer in the future and seek out what I am really looking for. πŸ™‚ Also, I’m pretty sure if you describe the ideal self-patterning yarn, one of your loyal subjects has seen it πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

  28. I have some of the Opal Rainforest yarn in the Zebra colourway, and just swatched it last night. It’s scratchy and splitty – yech! Initially I though I had been spoiled since I just finished my first ever pair of socks, and used STR to knit them. So I am a bit relieved to see that other people don’t like the texture either.

  29. I have some of the Opal Rainforest yarn in the Zebra colourway, and just swatched it last night. It’s scratchy and splitty – yech! Initially I though I had been spoiled since I just finished my first ever pair of socks, and used STR to knit them. So I am a bit relieved to see that other people don’t like the texture either.

  30. I love the Scarlet Fleece colorway names!

  31. That really is weird striping . . . I wonder if it’s supposed to do that?? (grin) Well, they’ll be unique, anyway!

  32. Wendy, I think it all looks good…and I’m amazed at how fast you produce your projects. Your needles must produce heat when you knit. You are really smokin!

  33. Unpatriotic I know, but I really dislike the combination of red, white and blue and black doesn’t do anything to help. The second sock pretty splotchy but could make good subway knitting. How about as a gift for an appreciative but less discerning friend?

  34. The yarn’s just meh. Not really so very ugly, but not really worth the effort either, eh?

  35. Love the first Opal! Guess that is why they make chocolate and vanilla! How boring our lives (and socks) would be if we all liked the same! Pick me! I will meet you at the metro! no shipping! πŸ˜‰

  36. I like Opal, for the most part. Both of those colorways are not in the most part. Sorry. Opal is great for hard wearing socks but one does have to be careful. I find that the more outrageous the colors look in the ball the better the socks turn out. My favorite thing about Opal is the smell. Sheepy goodness! (I make the husband sniff the socks are they are being knitted. Poor man.)

    The Kimono is lovely, your hair is fab, and Lucy is beautiful as always!

  37. Oy…sometimes Opal is a good thing, sometimes it’s lot nicer wound into a pretty ball. I’m not a fan of patterning yarns…like the striping ones and of course the variegated ones but the self patterning ones are a little much for me.
    Lucy is so chill!

  38. The yarn makes wonderful socks…..have done a pair & they were very well received……so good luck to the winner!…….

  39. I think a better name for that yarn would be Sneezy Stripes. I mean, it looks like a sneeze!


  40. Looks like somebody dripped blood on it by accident, eew!

  41. I like the 1255 colourway. Looks like an old IBM punch card.

  42. Pass the Thunderbird…I’m in the “it’s a miracle!” camp. I really like the pattern–L

  43. I am sorry, but I have to say that I really like both Opal yarn’s colorways. Please stop looking at me that way…
    I realized that I suffer from a very severe case of “startitus” for some 15+ years (uncontrolable urge to start a new project). All this time I have been buying more and more yarn, and have been creating numerous UFO’s. The only items I seem to be able to finish are socks knitted for my 2 children with selfpatterning yarn like the Opal, Regia etc. I am able to finish the socks not just because they have small feet, but also the developing pattern keeps me curious to see what comes next. I make the socks without ankles(cut-offs), since this is the way kids wear their socks here in Florida. In order to see what the complete colorway looks like, I’ll have to knit the second sock as well. So that’s why this type of yarn really works well for me.
    I faithfully read your blog. I find it very informative, amusing and am quietly hoping that some of your knitting determination will rub off on me πŸ˜‰
    Happy knitting!

  44. I like the sock you frogged far better than the second one.
    Many commenters have already said many things about Opal sock yarns. I’m always surprised by the way self-patterning sock turns out. You can never tell what the pattern will be just by looking at the ball! As for Tina, this helps me finishing the socks I start!
    Sometimes I love the pattern, sometimes I don’t really care for it, but I always find someone around me who thinks it is neat and wins the finished socks!

  45. I like a good self-striping yarn every now and then, but I think the novelty of the “fair isle” patterning yarns have worn off on me. I can’t really say I like either color.
    Have you knit with the Opal 6-ply before? I have only used the Regia 6-ply and hated it. I found it was much rougher to the touch, and pilled more than 4-ply sock yarn. I was wondering if the Opal was the same?

  46. Love the knee socks! I still can’t believe how fast y’all knit. Actually, I like the Opal yarn, but, I start a bit later in the AM than some. πŸ™

  47. Hmm, I like the first and un-loved colorway and really dislike the second. It reminds me of people wearing polka dots with stripes. When was that fashionable? The 80’s? Or the 2 different plaids. Ugh. But, it’s all personal preference, and that’s why tehre are so many yarns in so many colorways the world over. I’m glad you found a taker for your Opal. πŸ™‚

  48. Hmm, I like the first and un-loved colorway and really dislike the second. It reminds me of people wearing polka dots with stripes. When was that fashionable? The 80’s? Or the 2 different plaids. Ugh. But, it’s all personal preference, and that’s why tehre are so many yarns in so many colorways the world over. I’m glad you found a taker for your Opal. πŸ™‚

  49. I love the Kimono jacket and am excited that you may be writing up the pattern. How do you think it would look in Fiesta La Boheme? Is it drapey enough?

  50. I have to admit that I really like the first Opal. I have socks made from them that I knit myself. They’re just a bit thicker than my usual knit socks, so they’re warmer and hold up well to abuse. And since (until I got pregnant, anyway) I’m the type to constantly be freezing, warmer is a good thing. I might have to go look for the second Opal at my LYS….

  51. Oh no sistah! I’ve got some seriously ugly socks going with GGH Marathon. They are so ugly, I can’t bear to take a picture of them. When I’m done with the one (ugh, still working on it), I’ll post to my blog.

  52. I’m with Anne. Opal is….Opal. It looks much nicer on the ball than knitted up! It’s all ok with jeans…. as long as you don’t look down.

    LOVE the kneesocks!


  53. I think “the ugly” is absolutely gorgeous! One of the nicest patterned socks I’ve seen. Is something wrong with my monitor?? I’m going to go see if I can find that colorway….

  54. I’m not big on that kind of busy either. If I wanted an intarisia sock, I would knit the pattern myself and make sure it is charted and planned than those.

  55. Wendy, you soul sister! I bought the exact same Opal 1126 colorway, made three inches of sock, and then just couldn’t stand the hideousness anymore so I did as you did and now the yarn is making me feel guilty for buying it. I’m not a stasher so I hate having unusable yarn in my basket. I’ve tried using it for a hat or gloves but everything that yarn does just irks me. Wendy, since so many of your readers feel differently, would one of them want my ball too, in exchange for a photo of the finished object?

  56. You are the second person this week who has said they aren’t pleased with the Opal 6. I’m not too crazy about the other fingering weight Opal I’m using to knit Denver Bronco socks…tooo scratchy….hope it softens up!

  57. You are so funny! Love to lucy & all the best to you!

  58. Wow, you snooze, you lose! Miss 1 day and you miss out on some great self-striping sock yarn. I love that yarn, it looks almost like fairisle. Very generous of you to give it away but if you don’t like it, it wouldn’t be good to knit with.

  59. I love that Opal sock yarn, but then I would, wouldn’t I?

  60. As someone just commented, it does look like…Opal. I’ve wanted to try a pair of Opan socks. Everyone raves about it. But the colorways of some of the handpainted sock yarns just keep luring me away.

  61. I think they look neat. I wouldn’t choose that particular colorway but I like them. I knit my mom some socks that patterned like that (Socka Socka Colori, I think) in shades of blue and grey. She loves them!

  62. My heart goes out for you and the lousy colours as I am sitting here myself very irritated and waiting and waiting for a Yarn company in Europe (no name)to be so very kind to answer my now repeated question what colours are in the Handmaidens Seasilk Renaissance (colours, bright/soft,approximately).
    I have done so many bad mistakes already buying Koigu from them with colours far from the pictured.
    What is their reply to me: “we do not have time to tell you what colours there are, look at our website, it is very accurate”.
    It is not! and it is my money! – Arghhhh.
    A pat to Lucy that looks disappointed too in your todayΒ΄s picture.

  63. Is it just me or is Lucy a little cross-eyed?
    Sweet and Lovely, nonetheless.

    Unlike Opal.

  64. I don’t think the yarn is ugly at all. But then if I were a fair-skinned redhead, I would have serious second thoughts about that colorway because I would know that it would look hideous on me.

    My own great misadventure with self-patterning yarn was a skein of sock yarn someone gave me, that I didn’t even know was supposed to be self-patterning. I can only describe the colors as: cream and aqua with dark green blotchy things — I later learned the blotchy things were supposed to knit up as checkered squares at regular intervals if the suggested gauge was used.

    It looked good on the skein, really.

    Of course I was working at my own sock gauge (I like ’em dense and thick) with my own basic pattern out of my own head.

    I was working on these while on a hospital vigil. I kept thinking, “my, these are ugly,” but I kept knitting because it was a good mindless project. When they were done I decided:

    These socks look like frog vomit.

    However, because said Frog Vomit Socks are very soft, and snuggly, they get worn a great deal. Go figure.