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Socktoberfest: a Sundara analysis

October 12, 2008

Though I’ve been trying to focus my knitting on the shawl for the November wedding, I did take a break to start a pair of socks with the highly coveted Sundara.  Let’s take a look at the specs of the yarn:

Hand dyed by Sundara in Seattle for a the last few years, this yarn has exploded in the last couple of years.  Her yarn is characterized by the incredible color sensibility and texture, with colors from all across the spectrum.  She’s branched out from socks (though for all I know she didn’t start off with just sock yarn) into more silky bases and even a silk lace yarn.  As her popularity has grown, she’s utilized new strategies to keep up with that demand by going to a subscription basis.  It’s a concern for those that love her yarn, as the supply becomes fixed while the demand grows, simple economics suggests people could start selling at higher and higher prices.  But Sundaraphiles have respected her wishes to not to sell above her prices, and the yarn continues to be traded and sold fairly freely.  The sock yarn I’ve been working with comes in 100 gram hanks, about 350 yds, and currently runs $25 per skein.

This project isn’t my first with Sundara – over a year ago I made a pair of baby booties for my office mate’s son, not realizing just how limited the availability of this yarn would become.

Pattern: Roll Top Booties by Zoe Mellor from the book 50 Baby Bootees to Knit

Yarn: Sundara Sock, old yardage, in Dusk

Next the yarn made an appearance in my Chevron Scarf:

Pattern: Chevron Scarf by Joelle Hoverson, from the book Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Yarns: Sundara Sock in Dusk and Koigu

And then I hit my Sundara slump.  How could I knit with this yarn that was becoming so hard to get?

Easy.  Garden Gate socks.  I pulled two skeins of Sundara from my stash and cast on.

Charcoal over Blue Lagoon (aquired via Ravelry) and Pale Sky over Sugared Violet (actually miraculously bought in an update!)

So what is knitting with Sundara like?  Wonderful.  The texture of the yarn is smooth and soft, and not too splitty.  It’s got good elasticity to it, which for a tight colorwork knitter like me is a must.  Though I still may not be able to get these on my feet if I don’t loosen up.  The color varigation is amazing.  The downsides?  My dark blue skein was one of the most tangled skeins I’ve ever balled (from swift to ball to cakes, it was so tangled).  And the price per yardage is higher than newbies would expect.  If you step back and think how much work goes into dyeing the yarn and how limited the availability is (keep in mind this is essentially one woman supplying all that demand), it makes sense.

In addition to being a one-woman dyeing machine (she is training her sister to dye as well, so things are looking good for Sundaraphiles), Sundara has some in-depth tutorials on her blog (and adorable puppy pictures!).  For those of you who haven’t managed to get your hands on her yarn, keep trying!

In the next few weeks, I’ll do some more reviews of Wollmeise and other yarns I’ve come across via Ravelry recommendations.  Have a good Saturday night all!

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