Sunday, June 08, 2008
Tropical Island socks/ Socks of Many Techniques
I'm on a massive handspun kick right now. I'm not even going to tell you about all the Etsy goodness wending its way towards me right now. I 'destashed' recently, only to replace it all with handspun! Anyway, that's some handspun sockyarn I bought from DivineBird, 'Leapyear' colourway. I loved the colours. It's a very fine sockyarn - drops down to laceweight in parts - and a little overspun (easy to fix). But the colours are just great, and the yarn very soft. Because there's only 200 yards of it, it's coiled around what will be the heels, toes and cuffs. Some pure merino I dyed with onionskins and vinegar as a mordant a while ago. I'm not sure that the colour won't fade out a lot, but I don't mind.
Now, I've been reading some Elizabeth Zimmermann recently, and she's inspired me to think about the way that socks are constructed, and how I might best make them. I've broken down the socks into four elements: toe, heel, long tube (foot and leg) and cuff. Now normally one knits either cuff, half of long tube, heel, rest of long tube, toe; or vice versa. I'm going to break the order up a little, for reasons of motivation, neatness of sock, and limitations of yarn respectively. I intend to, over the next couple of weeks, run a set of tutorials on what I've done. None of it is terribly original (more EZ's 'unventing'), but hopefully it might give some of you some ideas.
Tutorial one involves the mystery of getting that single hank you saw above into this.
Two even cakes. I don't have scales to work it out by weight. But this method works nicely if you have a swift and winder. Take your little twisted skein apart so it's a big hank of yarn. Count the number of strands at any point in the hank (I counted by twos, it's quicker). For me it was 105. I want two even cakes, so I'd want 52.5 'rounds' of the hank in each ball. I put the hank on my swift, and tied a scrap of yarn to an arm of the swift where the start of the hank was. Lined that up with my ball winder. Then I just had to count that scrap of yarn passing the ball winder 52 times, and cut the yarn off halfway around the 53rd pass. Easy! I admit I did count in batches of ten, with a little pause between each to stop my poor little brain getting confused.
I also discovered when winding that in general, the yarn went dark - light - dark across its entire length. If I want the light and the dark on my socks to roughly match up, I'll knit one cake from the inside and one from the outside. Also easy.