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After brief discussion of Crystal Palace’s new yarn Mini Mochi on socknitters, I was offered some samples as a designer to play with this wonderful new yarn. First the practical details. Mini Mochi is superwash merino-nylon blend yarn, 180 meters to 50 grams so a tiny bit on the thick side compared to other commercial sock yarns. Its single ply and not at all tightly spun, it is very fuzzy and acts a bit like mohair in the knitting – NOT for patterns you will need to rip repeatedly! It also has that property of all single ply yarns I’ve tried – the thickness varies slightly along the strand. I’ve not noted any bad thin spots like I have on other similar yarns tho. And it doesn’t break on the thinnest places when tugged at. The COLORS. Oh, the colors… If you love rich vibrant colors you need this yarn. I got color 105, a ever so lightly muted rich rainbow called “tapestry” – all the colors are bright and gorgeous. This yarn is clearly meant to compete with Noro yarns, and it does so swimmingly. No contest. I’d buy it over the noro sock yarns if it cost 50% more. It is just so much nicer in feel and consistency that there’s no comparison.

Now, the yarn is named for a very cute cat you can see on CP’s website, and they claim that the yarn is as softer than a kitten. I happen to HAVE a kitten so we decided to conduct empirical tests of this claim:

As you can see the yarn is highly kitten approved. I will also note that despite being loosely spun, the end of the yarn survived a kitten mauling in still knitable state. The yarn IS wonderfully soft, softer than most sock yarns I know, soft enough that I can’t put it down, but I’m sorry CP, its not softer than my kitten according to 2 knitters and one husband. I repeat though, its soft and enjoyable to knit with and far far far softer than your basic sock yarns like opal and trekking and lana grossa and the lot. And it doesn’t wake you up at 3 AM just to lick your face because it loves you, so that’s quite a bonus over kittens…

As for knitting… MY GOD I HAVE THE WORLD”S LONGEST SWATCH. By sheer dumb luck my first ball started at a thick place so it took me a while to find the right gauge for my tastes. Besides, I wanted to see how it acted on bigger needles since lately I’ve taken to using sock yarn for lots of projects. I have comments below on various gauges. One note… WASH THIS YARN after swatching. It loosens up a bit the first time it gets wet. My stitch gauge didn’t grow measurably, but the yarn just fuzzed up and relaxed, and the stuff that felt like cardboard before was flexible and flowing, and the stuff that was okay but a little loose was so drapey it would now be suitable for a sweater. I’d say go down 1 needle size from whatever gauge you like in a dry swatch.

So the swatching results I got were:

  • US1/2.25mm: 9 SPI, bulletproof before washing, perfect for this tight gauge queen after.
  • US 1.5/2.5mm: 8.5 SPI, perfect for me before washing, a little loose considering 1 plyness after but perfectly acceptable to me.
  • US 2/2.75mm: 8 SPI, lovely but a little loose for me before washing, and I personally wouldn’t use it for socks that way after washing but I know lots who would.
  • US 2.5/3mm: 7.5 SPI, A little loose for my taste but OK before washing, good for a tight knit sweater after (I’d probably use 3’s or even 4’s for a sweater, really)

Oh yes and know that the yarn really fuzzes up a lot after even a quick swatch wash. I dub this yarn not suitable for complex sock lace – if you DO use it for lace (the slow color changes are marvelous for lace!) use really big needles so the holes don’t get lost in fuzz after washing. Stitch definition is still clearly visible under the fuzz, so its suitable for textures and cables. Oh yes and DO NOT plan to rip this yarn. EVER. It can be done but its fuzzy enough to be difficult.

Overall review? Excellent new yarn, its going to put the competition out of business… My only complains about it are generally that I’m a tad biased against 1 ply yarns. I’m hoping it holds up well to wear, because its going to make supremely lovely and comfortable socks! I’m also wishing for a wider range of colors… I LOVE LOVE LOVE the rich vibrant bright hues but I like variety too! I hope CP keeps the brights and adds a few new shades in addition.

SF AIDS Marathon 2008

On August 3, myself and about 500 other runners will complete the San Francisco marathon in an effort to raise $1,000,000 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. This is the culmination of nearly 2 years of lifestyle changes and weight loss for me, and a chance for me to use my new-found energy and fitness to give back to my community. I hope you will join me in this effort by reading and offering your support through my blog. If you are able, I also welcome your contribution to the cause! Thanks and keep on running!

Progress Bar:

Marathon time: 5:40:22
Total Raised: $2,815.70

My Sponsors

I'd like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their support of the SF AIDS Foundation!

Dianne Whitfield of the Bunny Hay Loft

Ulf Anvin
Rob Millner
Scott Lamb
Jeff Barlow
Erika Duplantis
Nick and Carol Esser
Kathryn Mercer
Nicole Pauls
Kathryn Coll
Timothy Berger
Susan Druding
Jenny Forman
Kathryn Mulgrew
Jamie Piperberg
Lucia Sanchez
Fran Taillon
Douglas Leeder
Barbara Kirsch
Ellen Atkinson
Valerie Esser
Peter McCourt
Carla Schroder
Sandra Spicher
Matthew Wilson
Valorie Zimmerman
Kathryn Kramer
Roxanne Seabright
Gayathri Swaminathan
Jason Spiro
Dianne Schoenberg

Thank you so very much for your support!

January 2009

Knitting projects!