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

Month: January 2008 Page 1 of 2

Tennis Socks

(These were actually finished a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve been busy spindling and waiting for a decent rain free day to take pictures.)

I was nostalgic for those cute little tennis/golf socks from years ago. You know, those little socks with a small bit of rolled edge at the ankles. But not just any old rolled edge. The top wasn’t a contiguous round, but top of foot was separate from the back. The rolled edge helped keep the sock from sliding down inside your tennis or golf shoes.

I present you…my variation on that sock.

Socks 0802: tennis socks

Yarn: 3-ply handspun; Superwash Merino from Crown Mountain Farm in “Say A Little Prayer” color way.
Needles:US #0 (2 mm)
Gauge: 7.5 spi
Pattern: Variation on my generic toe-up socks with figure 8 cast on; increased up to 64 sts; short row heel; and sewn bind-off.
Yardage: unknown, but I used less than 2 oz. of the yarn. (I think it’s finally time to buy a McMorran Yarn Balance.)

Aren’t these socks adorable? They knitted up very quickly. One evening per sock.

I’m not 100% satisfied with these socks yet. I was playing with a no wrap short row heel, and I don’t like the little peekaboo look. I also want to experiment with the ratio for the front/back roll-top. Once satisfied, I’ll post the sock recipe. For now, it’s time to cast on the next pair.

P.S. Can you tell I’m taking a PhotoShop class right now? I’m having fun playing with all the options in the software.

On The Go Spindling

Splinding - finished skeins

You know those fibers that you buy at a fiber event that you just had to have and were itching to start spinning as soon as possible or you’ll just die? Then you spend the rest of the event spindling everywhere you go…to meals, while drinking wine, while drinking and laughing with your friends, before you go to sleep at night, find it in bed with you the next morning (and the first thing you worry about isn’t that it’s stabbing you in the stomach, but that you didn’t bend the hook), at the airport.

Then you get home and unpack. The bag with the spindle and the fiber are put away as your on-to-go spindling project. Then the bag gets lost in a cleaning frenzy, because you have 10 on-the-go projects piled up next to the front door, ready to be picked up and, well, go somewhere.

A few years later, you wonder what happened to that spindle, you know, the really pretty one that works great for this new fiber you just bought. You tear your stash apart looking for it, and find a half-filled spindle, and a few ounces of unspun fiber still in the bag.

Well, I’m making a dent in my on-the-go stash. Above are two of the oldest known on-the-go spindle projects. On the right are some Angora x wool (Romney?) purchased from Black Sheep Gathering 4 1/2 years ago, spun on my Golding spindle. I bought this as my move to California spindling. I spun on this in the car, while Martin was driving, and while I was staying at my mom’s until our rental was ready.

On the left is Coopworth from RainShadow Farm (no website, but the fibers are dyed using natural dyes), purchased at Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat 4 years ago (back when it was still known as the Gig Harbor Retreat). It was spun on the spindle of unknown origin. I couldn’t resist the pretty colors, and just had to get some fiber to start spinning right away. Unfortunately, it was a case of wrong spindle for the fiber. The fiber would have benefited from a heavier spindle, say the Golding. But the Golding was otherwise occupied (ahem). The yarn was plied with the Golding though. I took advantage of its recent vacancy.

Now that I have these cleared, I’m working on some alpaca/tussah blend that I bought at SOAR on a beautiful Forrester Spindle (also purchased at SOAR). This project is mere infant compared with the age of the other projects. I know there is at least one other on-the-go spindling project from our sailing vacation to the British Virgin Islands 3 years ago, but I can’t seem to remember where I put it away to.

There is also a silk and camel spindling project in the living room, but I’m not counting that as an on-the-go because I’m doing some experimentation with it.

Why this frenzy of finishing? I’m headed to Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat in a couple of weeks and I need to clear these spindles so I can buy more with a clear conscience.

New Sockies!

I love my new socks! These are supposed to be my travel/meeting knitting, but I couldn’t resist. I pulled them out this week and finished them. I stopped every couple of rows to admire the hand spinning, the plying, and the stripes, and …

Yarn: hand spun (source unknown at this moment, because the tag is up at the cottage, but it was acquired at OFFF this past September); chain plied; 14 wpi
Needles:US #0 (2 mm)
Gauge: 7.5 spi
Pattern: My generic toe-up socks with figure 8 cast on; increased up to 64 sts; short row heel; and sewn bind-off.
Yardage: Unknown, but I used just shy of 2.75 oz. I still have 2.5 oz of this yarn. Enough to make some footies. (I’m sure I have it scribbled on the fiber tag, but it’s up at the cottage.)

Update (30 Jan): I found a picture of the fiber tag that I took after my shopping expedition to OFFF. The roving is from Sarah Anderson of Great Balls of Fiber. The fiber is 5.5 oz. of 80/20 Merino/Tussah in “Purple People Eater” colorway. No wonder it’s so beautiful and soft!

I started with 12 sts (figure 8 cast on with 2 circs), and used a short row heel. I normally decrease the heel down to the same number of casted on stitches, but this time, the heel was too wide. So, I ripped it out and went down to 8. Why 8, I don’t know. Now, the heel is too pointy. I kind of feel like Goldilocks. Next time, I’ll work down to 10 sts. That should be juuuust riiight.

On the second sock, I was having serious issues with rowing out on the heels. So, I ripped yet again, and reworked the heel with US #00 (1.75 mm). Much better.

I love these socks because it is the most consistent sock yarn I’ve spun to date. The grist is consistent through out. It’s slightly over spun, which I like for sock yarn. I love the way the chain ply preserved the colors. I love the stripes.

In fact, I love it so much that I immediately casted on another pair of socks using some more hand spun yarn!

This time, it’s Superwash Wool from Crown Mountain Farm’s Superwash Merino in “Say A Little Prayer” color way. I last used this for a baby blanket, but I also bought enough to make some socks. I spun the yarn for a regular 3 ply, but this ball is 60 grams of chain plied yarn from the dregs of the bobbins. That should be enough for some anklets.

Why is it that knitting socks with your own hand spun seems to go much faster than knitting the same socks with commercial yarn? Especially since I keep stopping to admire my own handiwork!

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