A hank of Supersock
Supersock once knitted up
click each image to enlarge

Yarn Profile: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock

First Impressions
Some of you may already be familiar with Cheryl Potter, the Vermont-based author of Handpaint Country: A Knitter's Journey. She sells her hand-dyed yarns under the Cherry Tree Hill Yarn label.

Potter's original sock yarn, a sport-weight yarn named Sportsock, was recently renamed Supersport Merino. Potter's sock focus has been redirected into this new fingering-weight merino called Supersock. The yarn comes in generous 370-yard hanks, which is enough yardage for a standard pair of socks.

Holding a hank in my hands, I recalled the old TV commercial in which a store owner scolded customers for squeezing the Charmin toilet paper. If it'd been Supersock, I suspect the store owner would've given up and taken early retirement.

Supersock begs to be squeezed again and again. A pure merino without any of the nylon reinforcement normally found in sock yarns, Supersock has two plies that are tightly spun in a pearl-like fashion to maintain strength without sacrificing loft and elasticity.

Visually, the pearl spin gives the yarn a rippled look similar to that of a pearl necklace. The merino's matte luster keeps the opalescent effect from looking too brassy.

Only one thing surprised me: Supersock appears almost identical to Maie Landra's Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Painted Merino, both in terms of the yarn's spin and coloring.

Is this just a knock-off, or does Supersock have its own merits? I set out to answer this question.

Knitting Up
Supersock knits up easily and with only a moderate amount of fuss. The yarn allows itself to be worked in all sorts of stitch combinations, producing a firm and well-defined fabric.

My eyes-closed test (knitting by touch alone) produced a few snags that, because of the yarn's high stitch definition, definitely needed correcting. I also found that any rough spots on my hands dragged against the knitted fabric and mussed up the surface fibers ever so slightly.

The resulting knitted fabric is well-suited to socks because of its excellent elasticity and fiber memory. No matter how you stretch it, your sock will bounce back into shape again and again.

Every four to five inches, the yarn's color gently shifts to a different shade or hue, producing a random, speckled effect. Such brief color intervals are especially important if you want to avoid broad blobs of color in your socks.

Blocking / Washing
My swatches didn't release one hint of color into their cool-water bath. After rinsing them, I set out the swatches on towels and blotted them dry.

Here's where it's important to remember that Supersock is 100% merino. Although your unwashed garments may appear crisp and precise, as soon as you wash them, this crispness will relax into a soft and inviting fabric with a peach fuzz-like surface.

Despite the relaxation, there was no change in gauge.

Supersock is made of 100% merino, a luxury wool that's extremely soft but that can be less durable than other wools. If you're tough on your socks, you'll definitely want to add nylon reinforcement around the heels and toes.

The more friction I applied to the swatches, the more the surface fuzz appeared. After a while, the fuzz began to blur my view of the underlying stitches, giving the swatches an almost felt-like appearance. In some yarns, the end result can look cheap and sloppy, but this didn't.

A note about washability: While many other sock yarns are machine washable, this one isn't. In fact, your socks would most likely emerge from the washing machine as a teensy pair of poodle boots.

Unless that's your desired effect, keep these puppies away from the washing machine, and avoid contact with hot water even when washing by hand.

Back to our original question: Is Supersock nothing more than a Koigu knock-off? Initially, I thought the similarity was too close to be a coincidence.

Maybe so, but I've decided that Supersock definitely deserves its own spotlight.

My reason is simple: color. While Maie Landra often combines three, four, or even five colors in one skein, Cheryl Potter sticks to two or three. The resulting effect is much more calm and balanced yet still colorful and vibrant. For those who felt that Koigu was too loud, Supersock will be a welcome alternative.

Potter currently offers 20 blended colorways and 20 heathered solids. In all cases, the fiber is fully saturated with color.

Overall, Supersock would make a fine addition to your stash, producing soft, lightweight, and colorful socks, mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, or anything else you'd have the patience to knit at such a fine gauge.

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