Thursday, July 20, 2006


I love my handknit socks. I wear them 10 months of the year (living in the PNW means we have cooler summers than a lot of areas). July, though, isn’t one of those months. I’m reduced to my lightweight store-bought socks, as I’m a dedicated sock-wearer, and I don’t do nylons unless absolutely necessary.

Margene mentioned that I spin sock yarn on my spindle. That’s one of my most satisfying projects, from beginning to end. I actually take natural colored superwash wool roving, dye it in my crockpot, then spin the yarn and knit it. I’ve done a few pairs this way now, and they are just to die (dye?) for! They are my favorite socks, hands down, but they also wear out much more quickly than my commercial-yarn socks.

I have two pairs of these socks right now. Well, three if you count the pair I did with non-superwash as an experiment. (These socks went through the wash a few times before noticeable felting, but they are so dense and warm that I only wear them on the chilliest days of the year.) The pair in blues and greens (pictures to come this evening, I promise!) are done in merino, and the pinks and purples are out of corridale. I think the corridale will wear better than the merino, but this is my first pair, so I don’t really know yet.

I have another batch of roving on the spindle, but this is intended as a birthday gift for my mother. She’s a sock knitter too, so she’ll get it as yarn. Yellow is her favorite color. I intended the yarn to be a little lighter than it is, but I had a bit of an accident at the dye pot, with more yellow dye joining the party than was invited.

The best part of this project, to my mind, is watching the colors change over and over again as I go through the different stages. Once I start the fiber “cooking” in the crockpot, I usually peek once or twice at the color on the top layer. I’m always impatient to see the fiber, so it’s hard to wait the 2-3 hours I let it cook. I hang the roving over the shower curtain rack to dry (usually overnight), and again, I keep looking at the colors, as they usually lighten up as the wool dries.

The colors do fascinating things on the spindle, where they start blending as I draft. As some strands get pulled forward, the fiber on the second end of the strand gets blended with the strands that stays in my hand longer. (I hope that makes sense.) And then again, they blend further when I ply them together.

Finally, they make a random self-striping yarn that looks a lot one type of the Trekking yarn, though I prefer to think that the Trekking yarn looks like my handspun, natch!

I’m not wearing my wool socks right now, but I’m still knitting them. I have too many on the needles—I’ll have to round them up for a group picture. No handspun at the moment, not until I finish Mom’s yarn and spin up another batch for myself. I’ve got about a month. I’d better get spinning, or I’ll be finishing it the night before, as I usually do.

I’m not a warm weather creature. No, let me change that. I’m not a hot weather creature, but my definition of ‘hot’ starts at a lower temperature than many people’s. I miss my handknits during the warm weather, and can’t wait to get back to wearing them.

Like my socks.


  1. I miss mine, too and if I can't wear my own socks then I'd rather be (and usual am) barefoot. You have inspired me and I will be knitting from my own handspun as soon as I know I can make a better yarn.

  2. And now I know what a spindle is. I promise to use this information for good and not evil.

  3. such beautiful handspun socks! I think yours are prettier than the Trekking!