Saturday, 29 April 2017

Socks from Handspun

So, having produced some skeins of yarn on my spindles and wheel, I've recently got round to knitting with them, rather than putting them in a bag and adding them to my stash!

First off, was the spindle-spun grey/burgundy/lime green yarn which was the first I made on my drop spindle:

There's nothing particularly exciting about them.  Each strand of yarn was quite thin, so they look a bit tweedy.  What you can't see is that, at the cuff of one of them, the knitting gets much bulkier (and is therefore a bit wider than the other one), because that's the bit of grey yarn I spun first and it's lumpier than the rest!  No-one will see the cuff under my trousers though, so I'm not going to worry about it.

I finished the next pair of socks yesterday.  I'd like to say these were a labour of love but, if I'm being honest, it was more a case of "you're going to be socks if it bloody well kills me".

Several posts ago, when I did my February spinning round-up, I talked about this yarn and how I was disappointed with it.  It's Teeswater, which is a long-wool breed of sheep (in dog terms, think of Afghan Hound rather than Poodle).  I decided to go ahead and knit socks with it, but because I had less than 200m of yarn, I used a part-ball of dark green Colinette Jitterbug I had for the toes, heel and cuffs, otherwise I'd only be able to make ankle-length/tennis-style socks.

I haven't taken photos, but believe me, once I'd done the toe in the Jitterbug and was a few rounds into the foot, it felt like I was knitting with string.  It was horrible; even more horrible than I thought it would be.  So, I sighed a bit, put the knitting aside and had a think.  I decided to unply the yarn a bit, to make it less twisty and twine-like and then see how that went.  As my wheel was busy, I did the un-plying on my spindle (that's 3 or so hours I won't get back!) then re-skeined the yarn, washed it again and left it to dry.

I'd only ripped back to where I'd joined the handspun yarn after knitting the toe, so I was saved having to re-knit 20 or so rounds and the less twisty yarn did feel softer to knit, so I was much happier.  Then I noticed the colour transitions were rather block-like.  By this point, I was beyond caring, so just carried on regardless and this is what the finished socks look like;

I know you're going to be very kind and say they look nice and it 's an achievement to have produced the yarn at all, but they're definitely a bit funny-looking and not something you'd want to visibly wear, so please don't think I'll be offended if you give me an honest opinion (and there's always the danger that if you're too nice, I might offer to send them to you!!!!!).

I'm half-hoping they'll fall apart during the first wear, or will felt horribly within a few weeks.

What's the betting they'll wear like iron and won't felt, break or anything else that happens to hand-knit socks and I'll be stuck with them for ages and ages?

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