Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Category: Knit Page 53 of 87

The Perfect Sock Yarn

This is a two-fer post — Black Bunny Hop and Dye-Spin-Knit-along. Not that I actually signed up for either, but there you go.

I think I have perfected the perfect handspun sock yarn. Before I go any further, I have to admit that I have never knit a pair of socks from my own handspun. Never. (Actually, I still haven’t yet, since I’ve only finished the first sock of the pair.) I’ve spun yarn from fibers that I’ve intended for socks, but for some reason, I never actually made socks from them. They never really seem “right,” but I didn’t know what “right” was either.

May I present to you…the perfect sock yarn…

Sock Yarn

The blue-green yarn is my handspun (aka the perfect sock yarn). The variegated yarn is Koigu.

Now, why is it perfect? Because it is soft, lofty, and squishy, just like Koigu. The fiber is blue-faced leicester from Black Bunny Fiber. I spun the singles using my variant of a long draw, so the yarn retained a lot of the loft. And I remembered what several of my past spinning instructors have told me … “underspin, overply.”

I never asked any of them exactly what that meant. In the comfort of my own home, and not having the experts nearby to explain to me, I decided that the “overply” part meant that your singles have set somewhat on the bobbin. Thus, the resulting plied yarn will appear a bit overspun while you are spinning it. Once wetted, the twist will relax back to a balanced yarn.

In the case of this particular yarn, I didn’t get a perfectly balanced yarn after I washed the finished yarn. When I hung it up to dry, there were still some kinks in the yarn. The skein didn’t twist back on itself, but there were kinks in the individual strands (sorry, I don’t take a picture of it while it was drying). Anyway, I didn’t weigh it down to block. I just left it to kink and dry, because I want to preserve the sproingy-ness of the yarn. (Note the high angle of twist in the ply, just like Koigu.)

The end result is what you see above. A puffy yarn that has really good structure and will wear well.

Sock(click image to see details)

The sock is knitted from the toe up on size 1 needles. It’s a really dense fabric because I don’t want this pair of socks to wear out too quickly. After all, I spun it!

Blocking Wires

are very good things.

Flower Basket Shawl - Blocking

Flower Basket Shawl. Cashmere/Wool.

I actually finished the shawl back in August, but finally blocked over the weekend. You can’t really tell that I was two rows short in the edging.

Chewing Gum

I picked up Anne again, after several weeks hiatus. Why did I wait so long? Well, that second row of each chart is a bitch. (First one is always a solid color. The second row is the one that established the pattern.) It usually takes me upwards of 5 attempts before I get the stitch counts exactly right. I usually end up back at the steek when I figure out that I’m off by one or more stitches. Careful counting as I go along doesn’t seem to help. Placing stitch markers as I go also doesn’t help, because I still end up with a missing or extra stitch somewhere along the way. (I seem to have problems counting to 6 or 8 or whatever.)

But once I get past that first row, I just fly along and the world is perfect. I was taking lessons learned from my first full chart series and applying it to the second repeat — don’t pull as tightly when I strand the colors. Let it “give” a little. See? No puckering!


The new repeat is smooth as silk, even without blocking.

The observant amongst you will rub your eyes, and say, “Hmm…Something’s not right, Ann.” And you’d be right. While I was making sure that I was as loose as someone on Percocet, I was, well, knitting as loosely as someone on Percocet. The stitch gauge was still okay because there just wasn’t much room for the fiber to go, except up. Yup, the row gauge was way off.

So, I leave you with this…


Back to square one.

I did learn something the second time around though. Count and place the stitch markers during the first row (solid color row). It’s easier to find out if you came out at the right place at the end of a repeat then at the end of the round. And if you count and place the markers during that first row, you aren’t trying do colors at the same time.

Believe it. I was never able to walk, talk and chew gum without biting myself inside my cheek. Break it down. Do one thing at a time. It saves time.

Page 53 of 87

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