I've longed to knit Hélène Magnússon Katla Sokkaband ever since it arrived in the shop just before Unravel in spring this year. A solid yarn made up of 4 strands of Love Story Einband plied together has made it extremely intriguing. So I bit the bullet and cast on a sock, undeterred by the fact that it is the hottest time of the year and I was undertaking a woolliest of wool projects. There are no rules that you can't knit wool in the summer right! It was a sock after all, not too weighty and easily transportable. A great an easy summer knit to pick up and put down.

I chose my colour, of course it had to be my favourite green. Moss Green to be precise. It just so happened to match my shirt that day! Katla Sokkaband is a dense DK/Sport weight (I'll talk more about the weights later) sock yarn made from 100% Icelandic Lambswool. This woolly yarn is super strong and perfect for durable boot socks as well as sturdy jumpers and cardigans for real warmth. Katla is made by tightly spinning four strands of Love Story Einband together creating a yarn that is tough with great structure. Those wanting to knit with Icelandic yarn but find Love Story Einband and Gilitrutt Tvíband a bit too fine will love this heavier version.

The sock I chose to knit is from the book Socks of Iceland and is called Kaltlastroff. Stroff which means ribbing in Icelandic and these socks have a strong ribbed design that runs along the length. Knit on 2.5mm needles which I would usually use for lighter 4ply socks but here it creates a dense and sturdy fabric suitable for mountain hikes. The socks feature an afterthought heel and a toe that tapers down to a point rather than grafting together a row of stitches. I really like the graphic detail of the ribbing especially when it decreases for the toe. It's also not as monotonous as being all 1x1 or 2x2 rib but has a wider ribbed section which spurs you on. I was also pleasantly surprised by how crisp the stitches look.

You can work the sock from either the top or the bottom and I chose the top. A simple and easy to memorise knit. Written in one size as the stretchy nature of ribbing makes this fit a wide range of sizes and you adjust the length to fit the appropriate shoe size. I knit mine with a fairly short leg and to fit a foot length of around UK5/6. This one sock took 36g yarn, so in a 100g would be plenty for a pair of most sizes of sock. The yarn was fun to knit as I like the feel of wool yarns. I would say though that due to the tightly spun nature of the yarn it did tend to twist a little as I was knitting, though not so much that it bothered me. This is something to bear in mind on larger projects as it may slightly skew the fabric, but it's a good trade off to have for the strength.

Unfortunately this sock will not have its pair as I got too distracted knitting swatches, though maybe one day I will complete it. For now it shall remain as a shop sample and look particularly stunning on a Hélène Magnússon Sortulyng Sock Blocker.

As I mentioned before the sock was knit on 2.5mm needles and the yarn is described as a DK/Sport. So it is knit at quite a tight gauge. It did't feel overly tight or awkward to knit at this gauge but it got me thinking what the fabric would be like knit as a DK or sport weight on different needle sizes. So a frenzied afternoon of swatching began. See the results below. All swatches are knit flat and have been pinned out and wet blocked, though not stretched. I have photographed the swatch in natural light as well as over a light box to give you a sense of the density of the fabric without having to have it in your hands. All have been knit flat in stocking stitch with the same number of stitches.

Above is the swatch knit on 4mm needles. A 4mm needle is one that would quite often been used in a DK weight project. The swatch is light, drapes well but is not overly gappy or open. I really like the feel of the fabric created and I think it would make rather nice lighter DK garment that still has some woolly warmth to it. My gauge was 21sts - 29rows per 4inches which is pretty much bang on what I would expect from a DK weight yarn.

Above is the swatch knit on 3.5mm needles. 3.5mm needles are probably around the middle of what would be recommended for a sport weight project. The fabric as you would expect has slightly more structure to it due to the tighter stitches but still would make a really nice garment or accessory. My Gauge was 23sts - 31rows per 4inches which I think would work well for a Sport weight project.

Above is a swatch knit on 3mm needles. I would say 3mm needles are often used for 4ply projects, of course depending on the project. Lighter a drapey projects like shawls would go for larger needles but tighter structural ones like garments would more often go smaller needles like a 3mm. For a nice even fabric the 3mm works well with this yarn giving me a gauge of 24sts - 34rows.

Above is a swatch knit on 2.5mm needles the same ones used for the sock. Projects using small 2.5mm needles often need the strength and structure created with finer work. Socks, gloves or even hats for example all benefit from being knit at a tighter gauge. The resulting fabric is dense and feels like it would last well. My gauge is 28sts - 39rows which might be a bit of a push for a lot of finer 4ply sock patterns but certainly socks written for a plumper yarn would work in Katla. Incidentally my gauge was off for what was written in the sock pattern being at 26sts - 32 rounds but being ribbed I was comfortable to not worry about the gauge too much.

This leads me to the conclusion that Katla would be suitable for all sorts of projects from DK through to 4ply. Plumping out to fill the roll of a DK or becoming quite dense for a sturdy 4ply project. Of course swatching is always recommended to get the gauge and fabric that you are happy with. But this has certainly made me think outside the box when it comes to substituting different yarns.

My last swatch is a little experiment in texture as all my swatches before were just plain stocking stitch. I wanted to see how it would perform over these different stitches. I was worried it might bloom a lot and hide a lot of the texture but actually I think due to the tight twist the stitches are very crisp. At the bottom is double moss stitch followed by moss stitch. Next up a cable and last is a simple lace. I think they all look great, adding to the potential versatility of this yarn.

I'm now dreaming of all the Katla projects I could knit....