Saturday, 7 March 2009

Weaving with sock yarns

A couple of weeks ago I wearily escaped from the work on Friday afternoon just before the shops were closing, and there across the street was the wool shop. I could walk past and go and find my car.. or I could walk in the shop. Hmm. I walked in and bought some sock yarn because I liked the colours. They are Noro Kureyon and Sirdar Town & Country.

I just looked at the combination of yarns and thought "point twill weave scarf" - yeah!

This was woven over the weekend on my new Leclerc Voyageur loom.

I found it easy to warp and weave. I used the 1/4" raddle I made for my floor loom and a couple of home-made lease sticks to get the warp on neatly.

This next photo is one I took to show something that's very different about the table loom, compared to my Toika countermarch floor loom. When the shafts are at rest, they actually pull down on the warp threads.

Half the shed is already there, before any shafts are raised, here's another photo with a shaft raised, ready to put the shuttle through:

Its a neat little loom and a neat shed, but I have found I need to wind on about every 1 1/2 woven. I don't mind this, as I kind wind on without having to walk around the loom, but all the same I've got a pivoting beater on order so that I'll be able weave a bit further from the shafts.

The Kureyon yarn kept twisting around itself, I wondered if this would cause a problem, but the finished scarf shows no evidence of unbalanced yarn, although the fringes twist gently.

Most of the scarf is woven with shaft lift 1-2-3-4, it's a 1/3 twill. The threading includes straight sections and points. I tried some diamond sections, but don't think they worked well. the face of the scarf is o.k., but on the back it's made a bumpy texture.

Here's a section of the face of the scarf with no diamonds:

What the photos don't show is how lovely it feels, smooth and soft. Being sock yarns I know it's practical to put this in the washing machine on a 30 degrees wool-wash setting. I washed it by hand when it was finished, and then pressed it.

I think these photos should have been the other way around, this one is showing the front of a pattern section.

I am very happy with my new scarf, and so last Friday afternoon I went back to the wool shop - wearing it. The lady in the shop greeted me and asked how I'd got on with the socks - so I had to confess that I'd made something else - I took my scarf off and handed it to her. I watched her face as she suddenly saw that this scarf was those same yarns, she broke into a sudden big smile of amazement. The owner was there and she called him over, they loved it. What fun it is to surprise people like this - I should explain that weaving is an extremely unusual hobby in the UK.

It just so happened that they'd been to their annual trade show recently, and taken advantage of an offer to buy 50 different balls of sock wool (normally sold in packs of ten balls all the same). They tipped several bags out onto the counter and helped me with the following selections:

The last is possibly my favourite, not sure, I like the browns as well - oh actually I like them all, but I chose to use these next. And this weekend, another warp on the loom, another twill weave. Having learnt from the previous scarf I choose to use a balanced 2/2 twill so there is no face/back to this scarf, and I wanted long points as I looked at the orange weft yarn and thought of flames.

Here it is on the loom this morning, with spring sunshine coming in the window to pick out those rich colours.
And what is this? Another loom?
I'd better explain what I'm up to. I am intending to weave some rugs on the floor loom, linen warp and carpet wool weft. However, I'm not sure whether to sett the warp at 4 ends per inch or 5. I wove a sampler a couple of years ago at 4 and it drew in more than I thought it should, so think I might use 5 (I do have both 4 & 5 epi reeds). I decided the easiest way to test would be to use a tapestry loom and see how the weft settles into the warp. The cross piece is a tension bar - the warp warps around this and then it is separately lashed to the frame, the lashing to the frame can be loosened to compensate for warp take up. This avoids the tapestry piece being narrower at the top than the bottom. At least, that's how I expect it to work, not done this before!

p.s. the weave pictures in this post can be enlarged if you double click on them.


Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

What lovely scarves :-) my sock yarn stash may yet be used up, with inspiration like this. Thanks!

charlotte said...

These scarves are really lovely! Did you use the warp yarn also as weft?

Dorothy said...

Amelia - go on, have fun!!

Charlotte - I should have said, the plain green yarn was used for weft, the stripey Kureyon yarn for warp. The project on the loom is similar, except there is very slight colour changes in the Trekking sock yarn I've chosen for weft.

Catherine Wakely said...

See I came and looked!

They are beautiful scarves - the colours are all lovely. Aren't people in wool shops nice :-)

I am trying to find a nice glove knitting pattern at the moment - I have 4-ply wool and size 10 (3.25mm) needles so I am working backwards to find a pattern they can be used with!

Life Looms Large said...

The scarves are beautiful! I love the different color combinations you've picked.

I might have to rummage around in my sock yarn stash and see what I come up with!

I'm eager to see what you end up doing for rugs. Some day I want to make a rug on my new loom....although blankets come first!

Those cheery spring colors on that last scarf are really nice for today!


Anonymous said...

Fabulous idea, gorgeous colours - what more can I say?!

Peg in South Carolina said...

I'm glad you are making good use of your new loom and creating more lust for this loom! As for moving the warp every 1 1/2"---would it shock you to know that that is how often you are actually supposed to move the warp? Think about how the angle of the weft grows slowly smaller as you continue to weave, and you will understand. Also, think about how the warp gets tighter and tighter as you get closer to the heddles.

Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

I love the self patterning in the sock yarns!!! The scarves look great!!!

Geodyne said...

Simply fabulous Dot!

And how wonderful to open the eyes of the store owners to new opportunities for their products.

Meg said...

Yummy colors or rock, moss, water, twinkling sunlight... AND NICE SHED!

Leigh said...

I've tried a little weaving with sock yarns but nothing that came out so wonderfully!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! You made perfect use of those pretty colors. And your loot looks like it will be a tremendous lot of fun to weave with.

I like those fringes that softly twist themselves. I have a Scottish machine woven scarf where they do that. Patting the ends of my scarf has given me a lot of amusement in dull moments.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! What was your sett for using sock yarn?

Margreet said...

Lovely scarf and more nice colour combinations to look forward to.
I have woven 2 scarves myself with the Noro Kuryan yarn, but I would not have called them sock yarn as they are so soft. I have used the Noro yarn in the weft and one scarf has slightly felted in the wash on a 30 wool cycle. I'm just wondering if they have changed the yarn since I bought it a few years ago. The yarn I have I will definitely not wash in the machine again but hand wash only because of the washing result I have had.

Dorothy said...

Thanks for all the comments, three I want to give particular replies to:

Margreet, you used a yarn you say is Kuryan. My yarn says on the label "Kureyon Sock Wool". In Japanese every single sound in a word is pronounced so these two words sound quite different when you say them and I am sure they are different yarns.

Now I have looked at the label again it also says "handwash 30 degrees only", but normally items that say this do not shrink in our washing machine.
I have woven two of these scarves now and washed both vigorously by hand in water that was hot to my hand - I wanted the scarf to felt a bit. It hardly
felted at all.

Anonymous - I wove a small sample at 12 epi, it was a bit loose so I changed to 15 epi and the scarf on the loom now (no. 3) is at 16 epi because that is convenient for using my 8 epi reed.

(I used 15 epi reed for 15 epi sett - but I could see that it caused wear to the warp yarn, so changed to get 2 ends per dent.)

Leigh - the Kureyon yarn is not as smooth as other soak yarns, it has thick and thinner sections as well as being slightly unbalanced. I am sure that it is these characteristics plus the colour which are the reasons these scarves have worked well. I'm getting ideas now for handspun and home-dyed yarns that would be good to weave with!!

TBM said...

Dorothy, what a wonderful reward for a week well worked! I loved how you surprised the people at the yarn shop with your creation. What lovely colours, and the practical side of me likes that they are wash and wear :-)

Margreet said...

Dorothy, I misspelled the yarn, it is also Kureyon but without the sock yarn behind it. I have had it several years now. My Kureyon is 50 gram and 100 meter and looking at the label now I see that it says Dry Clean only! (accident with a cat made me put it in the washing machine!) So it looks like Noro have either changed or added a new line. I'll be looking out for it now because I really love the yarn I have but if it is now sock standard it will be more durable.

Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

Hello! I'm posting again because I was meme tagged and thought I would pass it on to you too;) Pop over to my blog to see what you have to's fun:)!!!

Dorothy said...

Margreet, I've been doing some googling and found the sort of yarn you have advertised. It is a different yarn, I wonder why they use such a similar name, it's easy to get confused. The Kureyon sock yarn is in 100g balls and 420 metres. It seems both yarns are handspun- so I guess we could be dyeing fibre and spinning our own yarns instead!!

Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Dorothy,
I expect you are pleased that you went into the shop. A much more exciting use for the sock wool. The scarves are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I think the red scarf is really dynamic and very wearable. I am trying to find out about naturel dying as I have suddenly found 3 dirty and old fleeces to wash and spin. I wondered if you could advise me on dye plants to grow, and where to buy seeds and/or plants particularly madder and woad!!sorry its a bit off the point about scarves!!!

SpinningLizzy said...

Great colour combinations, and what fun projects to look forwards to. It's a nice change (from rigid heddle-woven) to see sock-yarn scarves woven this way!

I did get the impression that weaving wasn't as big in the UK as other places, and have wondered why that is? (And still wonder.)