Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I made yarn!

I know, big duh, because I've had the spinning wheel for over a year now. But (in case you're tuning in late) I spent the last month-ish spinning three ply sock yarn, finished it last weekend, and have been knitting it up in a swatch for gauge purposes.

It's so SMOOTH!

It looks just like commercial yarn. Some would say that's a bad thing in a handspun, but I like variety in my spinning and in THIS case I was shooting for commercial, so it was nice to manage commercial type yarn. It's all nice and smooth, and knits up beautifully, better than many yarns I've knit with over the years that were machine made.

The swatch is in the round, of course, because the socks I want to knit will be in the round. Which means lots of cut edges sticking out. And lookie!

The yarn is staying spun, not too tight, not too loose. This means I got the twist right when I spun it. Which means I'm getting the hang of this whole spinning thing. Yay!

I absolutely love the bits that have colors spun together and come out looking marled and heathery.

This is exactly what I want to do with the roving that Bells sent me, only in a more wearable color - I can't decide between a sea green with darker bits of aqua, or a peach with flecks of pink. I don't have to decide yet, though, because I've just ordered an equal weight of merino to practice on before I dye and spin The Bells Fiber. For practice, to fine-tune the technique I have in mind, and to get an idea of yardage.

Then there's the issue of what to knit with it, but I've got something in mind for that, too. It's time I started knitting things that are flattering, instead of things that are freaky.

QUESTION FOR SOCK KNITTERS: I've heard/read that it's best the yarn be knit quite tightly so the stitches don't rub and wear faster. Is this true? I assume not so tight the socks will stand up by themselves, but tighter than usual, yes?

20 comments:

rach said...

wow, that yarn is really beautiful. I go for a gauge of 7 or 8 stitches per inch for socks, so I end up with a 0 or 1, depending on how thick the yarn is. Opal is great on a 0, Koigu is better on a 1 because it feels rough when it's knit too tightly.

Some people use nylon thread to help the heels and toes stay strong, but I've found that the slight felting of daily wear works just as well.

my word is "nittre". I like it.

Anonymous said...

I vote for a sea green with darker bits of aqua. If i really get a vote.

;-)

Pam

Barbara said...

Oh, your sock yarn is dreamy. I would buy it in a heartbeat. I have no opinion about wearing out socks because I've only knit a few pairs and only wear them on special occasions because I love them so much. What a dork.

walterknitty said...

Your yarn is beautiful. You did a good job. To answer your question, it's been my experience that sock yarn is knit a little tighter so it stands up to more wear.

Bunny Queen said...

Ooooo. Pretty yarn! And yes, socks should be knit at a firmer gauge than usual. I usually figure that the ball band gauge is off by 10-15%, but you may need to use a different number based on how you knit. What I notice most in one of the first pair I knit (and one of the only knit to ball band gauge) is that I can feel the stitches when I stand on them and it is not a comfortable feeling.

Bells said...

fantastic! I've been waiting to see it since you mentioned it on FB. It's gorgeous and it's so clear from the cut bits that the spinning is very, very good.

With socks, yes, tighter is better. Too loose and the whole thing'll be floppy and not wear so well. Fitted and firm is good.

walterknitty said...

PS. I forgot something. I dont know if this makes any difference in how the socks wear, but some of the sock yarns that are nicest to knit with are squishy. I'm sorry I dont have a better way to describe it. The yarn smooshes when you squeeze it between your fingers.

Rose Red said...

Your yarn is great - really really nicely spun and the colours are tops.

And yes, I'll add to the chorus of socks are knit pretty tight - negative ease is very important - I usually do mine at about 8 or 9 stitches to the inch using fingering or sock yarn.

Olivia said...

That really is some beautiful, smooth yarn. Very skilled spinning indeed. I would buy it happily, and I love the colour scheme too!

janet said...

I love your yarn. I love that orange, too. I'm hoping to try for a similar feat myself soon.

luneray said...

I have made at least 40 pairs of socks, and in my experience the tight gauge (usually 8-9 st/in) is for comfort more than durability. With looser gauge (less than 7), I can feel the individual stitches more and it bugs me. YMMV.

For the ultimate in comfort, knit the sole in reverse stockinette, so that you walk on the smoother knit side instead of the bumpy purl side.

In my experience, durability is related more to the type of fiber/wool and how tightly the fiber is spun. Generally, the "softer" the yarn, the worse it is for socks. (It's ok for socks meant for wearing to bed or lounging around the house but not for the hard wear and tear in shoes). Merino tends not to be good for socks.

An exception is Socks that Rock but even those don't hold up as well as either wool/nylon blends or BFL wool.

Amy Lane said...

Lovely yarn-- I love that it stayed after steeking-- you should be so proud! And yeah-- sock knitting should be pretty tight--one of the things I'm frequently told to do (but I don't because I'm a screw up) is to knit the foot with a size smaller needle than I knit the leg--enough to make it a little snug but not too tight, and to keep it from wear.

PICAdrienne said...

The current socks I am knitting are out of Patons Classic Wool, and I am using size three needles, to get nice tight stitches. (Big brother firefighter must have black wool socks, to save my eyesight, he is getting worsted weight.)

Louiz said...

Beautiful yarn, and I agree with the chorus of tight for socks! Sock yarn tends to be what I call 4-ply, which normally knits with a 3.25 - 4 mm needle but for socks it's a 2.00 - 3.00 (normally 2.25 or 2.5 mm) for me.

Terby said...

Joining the chorus. I prefer to knit socks at 7-9 st/inch on US 0-1.5 needles. I think thinner yarn makes better socks, and I like the socks to be pretty darn dense. Having the fit right helps the wear. I have a tendency to knit my socks a little shorter than is really optimal, which puts too much stress on the fibers. If they're too big though, they feel terrible.

Do you want to borrow the Cat Bordhi book we were talking about?

Jenn Hall said...

All my socks wear through amazingly quickly, possibly because I am an exceptionally loose knitter -- take that as you will. Perhaps I should go down a needle size or three.

historicstitcher said...

I agree with all the previous posters on the 7-9 sts/in recommendation. I don't like the feel or wear of socks knit on needles larger than 2.5mm, and have knit Opal on as small as 1.5 to get the firm fabric I wanted. I good rule of thumb for me is to get a firm fabric that still has some stretch to it - if it won't stretch, it's too tight; if it stretches a ton, go down a needle size.

LOVELY color, and beautiful spinning! You're making me want to set aside all my responsibilities and go spin!

My word is "mishes". Is that a gentle mashing, or a male fish?

Roxie said...

Pretty!

Roz said...

Are you selling this orange sherbet delight you call yarn? I just want a skein so I can put it on my dining room table and pet it.

Alwen said...

I guess I'm a natural sock knitter, because I have to needle up sometimes a millimeter to get gauge. Anyway, yeah, I don't shoot for drape-y when I'm knitting socks.

But in truth: I'm the last person to ask about sock wear. I did just throw away a pair of socks that I know for a fact I got in high school. So who knows how long it will take me to wear out a tightly-knit pair of handknits?