Friday, March 6, 2015

Handspinning Milestone

...Aaaaand they're done! (Finally!!)


This is my first pair of handspun socks, several years in the making. I love how sturdy they feel, yet comfortable. Getting them right took a lot of ripping and re-knitting. The process was definitely more involved than working mill-spun sock yarns, but I'm delighted with how they turned out. Who cares if they're a little bit funky? I don't.  (Yeah, especially those side ribs.)


If you look closely, you can see that I worked the gussets differently between the two socks, adding stitches further away from the side rib to avoid an awkward distortion that appeared in the first sock.


The fiber is a Dorset-silk blend dyed by Dan of Gnomespun yarns. I originally worked on this yarn as part of a Tour de Fleece challenge, using my lovely Golding spindle. 


The yarn was "chain-plied on the fly", a technique that is a favorite of mine when spinning on a spindle. I ended up with dense, stretchy socks; the Dorset wool is rather bouncy, and I tried to run with that in my spinning, too.


I consulted Cap Sease's book, Cast On, Bind Off to find a bind-off that wouldn't ruin a perfectly good sock. Peggy's Stretchy Bind Off for K2, P2 Rib gave very satisfactory results. (Just last night I was complaining about a great pair of socks that I was struggling to pull off, simply because the bind off is too tight. Word to the wise.)


I love the look of what I call the PGR method for the heels/toes; while still work them with the book on my lap or on my phone (yes, I got both formats), I find it has indeed become pretty easy to do. I remember feeling doubtful when first reading Priscilla Gibson Roberts' claims that it would become intuitive, so it is nice to look back and know that I was right to trust her. I'm grateful for the book, which was part of the swag I received back at the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat a few years ago. It has given me a lot of pleasure in my socks.


I'm also grateful for Carla, who first introduced me to spindles, and spinning in general. Look at me now, Carla!