Monday, May 30, 2011


I totally understand how animal fibers are spun. I sort of understand linen and bamboo. Soy is still a bit of a mystery to me. But the one that totally confuses me is chitin. According to Wikepedia, chitin is "a long-chain polymer of a N-acetylglucosamine, a derivative of glucose". I don't understand what that means, but there may be some biology or chemistry buffs out there who do. Chitin is found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans (i.e. shrimp, lobster, crabs). Some one has figured out how to create fiber/thread from chitin. Thread made from chitin is very flexible and strong. One major use of chitin is surgical thread. As surgical thread it is biodegradable, wears away as the wound heals and has properties which actually accelerate the healing of wounds. You are probably wondering what all this has to do with knitting. South West Trading Company has a lovely sock yarn, TOFUtsies, which is a blend of 50%superwash wool, 25%soysilk fiber, 22.5% cotton and 2.5% chitin. We usually advise customers knitting socks to look for yarns with a bit of nylon which adds durability. TOFUtsies uses the very strong chitin fiber for durability instead of nylon. So you can now knit socks with yarn containing fiber made from shrimp and crab shells

TOFUtsies is very soft, feels much more like cotton than wool. The plies which make up a strand of yarn are various colours, so these yarns knit with a tweedy look to them. Some called POWERSTRIPE have a Noro-ish type self-striping effect. Right now we have 7 colours. I went on Ravelry to see what people were knitting with it. Most people were knitting socks.

Colour 728 shown above was used in a cute little pair of ankle socks with a feather and fan cuff.

Colour 730

Looked gorgeous in the Knitty pattern Cachoeira (above) found at

or Pomatomus (below) also a Knitty pattern

Colour 798 (above) looked great in Cookie A's Monkey socks (below)

Monkey is the most popular sock pattern on Ravelry with over 14,000 posted projects

Some one had created their own ankle height version of Monkey which I liked for a summer sock.

Colour 848 looked great in socks.

Not a great picture of the socks but couldn't resist the dog. The picture below shows the yarn colours better.

Colour 921 in socks from Wendy Johnson's Socks From the Toe Up

Powerstripes Colour 930 below.

Powerstripes Citron #931

Another look at 930, a Powerstripes colour

Socks a la Carte has several great sock patterns.

A lot of postings on Ravelry were shawls. Annis (below) as it appears in Knitty created with a lace yarn

Looks very nice in TOFUtsies

Pattern at

A few had knit Knitty's Citron shown below in the original Malabrigo Lace

One posting showed the start of what I believe would end up being a very attractive Citron knit in 2 colours of TOFUtsies

I was not surprised to see a few Clapotis

in TOFUtsies

Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket. In sock yarn it is about a newborn size.

One posting combined TOFUtsies and Louet Gems sock yarn to create a slightly BSJ for about a one year old.

I am working on a pair of socks, and Gabriela on some lace. We will post them when done. Come check it out, I think you might like it.

50%Superwash Wool, 25%Soysilk, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% Chitin (made from shrimp and crab shells)

8st to the inch on a 2.75mm

100 gm ball, 425 meters

Machine Wash & Dry

We have 7 colours: 728, 730, 798, 848, 921, 930, 931

And the book: Knitting Socks a la Cart