Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Road Maps - Blizzard 2015 Edition - SilverSpun Review

Greetings from Western Connecticut where the Blizzard of 2015 has blanketed much of the northeast.  All told, we probably had about 8-10 inches here, and the further east and north you travel, those amounts are double that or more!  We had a travel ban here in the state, so it was a work-from-home day, which did allow for some knitting time earlier today and this evening.  It's amazing how much more time there is in a day when you aren't spending so much of it in the car!

Anyway, as you may recall, back in Episode 84 I mentioned that I was planning to knit myself a pair of Connectivity Gloves by Mari Chiba from Knitty Deep Fall 2014.  The generous folks over at Feel Good Yarn Company had sent me a skein of their Silver Spun yarn to try out, and this is one of the patterns that features this unique yarn.  (As with all reviews appearing on the podcast or here on the blog, opinions are my own).  The SilverSpun is a sport weight yarn made of 87% American made combed cotton, 11% pure silver, and 2% lycra.  It knits up at 23-26 stitches over 4 inches.  The yarn comes in regular skeins weighing in at 50 grams with 173 yards for $28 or mini-skeins weighing in at 14 grams with 50 yards for $12.50 directly from Feel Good Yarn Company.  Among other benefits, such as being anti-bacterial and thermal, one of the best parts about this yarn is the conductivity of the silver that allows you to use your touch screen devices!  How cool is that?

Silver Spun

Now, during these bigger snow storms, I have been known to snap quite a few photos while outside, and as an avid iPhone user, that usually meant taking off my gloves or mittens to control the phone.  Sure, I know that once the camera is open, I can snap a photo using the volume control buttons on the side.  But what if I want to post that photo to Instagram RIGHT NOW and can't wait to get inside?  Well that's where these mitts will come in handy.  Priorities, right?

Silver Spun

The gloves combine a worsted weight yarn for the hands and the sport weight SilverSpun for the fingers.  You have the option of knitting a long flap that you can unfold to cover your fingers or fold back when using your device.  In keeping with my 2015 goal of knitting from stash, I dug out some leftover Jill Draper Makes Stuff Hudson in the Amethyst color way from last year's Lucy Hat to use for the hands and I was well on my way.

In terms of knitting with the SilverSpun yarn, it was a bit of a different experience than knitting with 100% cotton yarns that you're probably used to. You know how working with cotton goes - very little give and it being hard on your hands.  The SilverSpun, probably due to the lycra content, had a bit more give and was not as hard on the hands while knitting.  It was still not as bouncy as knitting with wool, but overall a much nicer cotton experience.

Silver Spun

Now onto the fun part - how did the fingers of the mitts fare when using the touch screen on my iPad and iPhone?  Well what if I told you I typed this sentence on the iPad while wearing the mitt? (Side note - do you know how difficult it is to video tape oneself typing?)



Pretty cool, huh? Sure it may not be as reactive as one's bare hand, but it sure beats taking off your glove when you just have to use your phone. It is mentioned in the pattern, but it's worth repeating - you'll want to knit the fingers with negative ease so they are tight to your skin to maximize the conductivity of the silver.  As an aside, for those of you who use the fingerprint recognition technology, that won't work with the gloves on since the silver only conducts the... well whatever it is in your fingers that makes the touch screen work. It does not capture your unique fingerprint to open your device.  I tried

The materials provided to me from Feel Good Yarn Company mention that the yarn is hand wash only, and the silver is permanently adhered to the yarn so that it will not wash away. For those who may be concerned about tarnishing, the silver will not tarnish as long as you use your handknit item regularly.  I'll have to report back next winter on that one.

Silver Spun

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I've only finished one glove of the pair, but I just couldn't wait any longer to share my experience knitting with the yarn and testing out the glove with my devices. As I was knitting my way through each finger, I'd stop and try it out on my phone or iPad, with Carlos watching in amazement as I did. If I have enough leftover, I may have to knit him some gloves, too.

Overall, I am quite pleased with this yarn. It was pleasant to knit and the technology is just fascinating - even if I don't quite understand it completely.

Silver Spun

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