Friday, 13 January 2012

Socks again

Frustration has set in because I am unable to get on with spinning and weaving since I hurt my back during the Christmas holidays. I probably have plenty of projects to get on with, but which one inspires me to start?
Having bought a quantity of sock yarn at Alli Pally last autumn I have decided to make use of it and try something which comes a a result of my dyeing some self striping yarn for cushions last February, self striping, hopefully, sock yarn. Again I have used the knitting machine to knit up 100g of the 4ply Bluefaced Leiscester and Nylon sock yarn. First I wound 2 balls of 50g each. Then knitted them together using alternate needles on the machine. This time I mastered the cast on and nearly a neat cast off.
After thoroughly wetting the yarn overnight I used acid dyes to colour it, put it to set in a steamer kept for dyeing and when thoroughly cooled, rinsed and hung it to dry.
I wonder how many machine needles wide it needs to be to make one hand-knitted row? I know 30cms is needed to handknit one row but I will need to experiment to get it right on the knitting machine. At least I can have a colourful time trying.
I wonder if I could sell such things on Ebay or an Etsy shop?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A Personnal First

I have just finished a challenge I set myself back in August.
I was at the Association WSD Summer School in Musselborough and just had to buy something at the suppliers' fair. One stallholder had some dyed tops in colour combinations that I loved. I don't usually wear wool but have been searching for sometime for a 'woollen' fibre that I can wear close to my skin without irritation. There seemed to be little available that I hadn't already tried. What to choose? I decided upon something in merino and nylon, great for socks! I do wear woollen socks over my cotton ones when I am demonstrating weaving or spinning as I hate wearing shoes for this.
The yarn was spun soon after summer school but other things had priority.
I also wanted to see if I could produce a yarn similar but different to commercial ones that are self striping.
I separated the length of tops into its shades of pink, mauve and grey and then into two batches of equal weight so that I could spin the yarn in two skeins, one for each sock. I spun the colours in turn until the batch was finished, then Navajo plied each bobbin full of approximately 50g. I have found it easier to spin thinner singles lately and the yarn on the bobbin was going to give me a thinner yarn than I really wanted, so 3ply it was meant to be. I was able to keep the colours separate without any marling so I was confident that the stripes would be fairly well defined.
Two skeins of yarn spun, they were duly washed and dried, lovingly stroked and put with other skeins awaiting attention. They stared at me for 3 months! Then...
Over Christmas to New Year holidays I have found the time to tackle knitting the yarn.
Having worked out Wraps per inch, knitting a swatch with suitable needles, I had to find a pattern. Nothing I had was 100% suitable. So, I delved into 'The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook', measured my feet, used their charts, adapted numbers of decreases/increases to suit and knitted my socks. They are comfortable and I am pleased that the stripes are comparatively even, sock to sock. I will not use their method for an hourglass heel with such thick yarn another time, as there seems to be lacy holes where three stitches are knitted together, but hey-ho! a girl likes to wear lace now and again! They will be keeping my tootsies cosy in the evenings now that winter has found us.