Thursday, 8 November 2007
I haven't written much about spinning yet. I was just thinking this the other day, wondering where to start on the subject,and then I looked at the socks I was wearing. See the above photo. Most of the socks I've knitted are in commercial sock yarn, but then the Online Guild had a sock knitting workshop. I wanted to use my own handspun for the workshop, and so spun some wool and knitted the photographed socks as a trial. When it came to the workshop, I'd used all the yarn, so I knitted my toe-up socks in Opal sock yarn instead.
I knitted these socks from the pattern "Simply Splendid" given by Lucy Neatby in her book "Cool Socks Warm Feet". They are a top down knit,using the heel style she calls "common heel" and a "common wedge toe". I think this was about my third pair of socks, and considering that they turned out well and have worn well.
The yarn is spun from dyed merino tops purchased from Wingham Wool Works. I first learnt to spin with tuition from Ruth Gough at Wingham Wools. While I was having my beginner lesson, two other spinners where there learning fancy techniques. When I was thinking about spinning a multi-colour sock yarn, I remembered Ruth had demonstrated spinning wonderful multicolour blends where different coloured wools were blended by spiking handfuls of different coloured merino fibre on a hackle, then pulling the fibre off the hackle through a diz (she used a small washer, but recommended that a button could also be used). The colour choice was based on picking some colours that went together and then one colour that was totally different.
I was thinking about Ruth's advice on colours, and selected for my socks a light blue, a mid-blue, a light blue-green, and a darker blue-green, with a bright pink. As I didn't have a hackle, or combs, I sat with small handfuls of different colours on my knee and kept changing colour, no particular theme or rhythm, just whatever I felt like next. I spun a couple of bobbins of singles yarn like this, and then plied them together. Knitting it was very exciting - I had no idea how the colours would work in the knitted fabric. As it happens, I'm very pleased with the resulting soft stripes. The socks are warm and soft, and they are wearing well, although the yarn has pilled a bit.
As you see, I have spun some more of this yarn, and it's been sitting around for a while now. Maybe it's time for another pair of socks...