Productivity Report, 10 Jan 2007; Sock Yarn

So help me, yesterday I hardly did anything. Why? I was hammered by oral surgery. Er, literally hammered, even — turns out that’s part of getting an implant into your jaw. Ugh. But the worst is over, I think. Today, too, will be lean on productivity, since I’m going to a different dentist as well. What fun.

I did spin a while in the waiting room. In the evening, I worked on a little more “comfort spinning” — stuff that’s easy to do and that’s going to be for me, namely, the orange sock yarn. I got one bobbin more or less full:

and decided that I’d make it be 2 plies of this orange merino/tencel, and one ply from a tussah silk I dyed that got a little roughed up:

And in this way, a little interest shall be added to the yarn and the resulting socks. If, upon getting bobbin #2 to the same fullness as bobbin #1, there’s some merino/tencel left over, I’ll make that third single one that alternates and has bits of the merino/tencel in it as well as the tussah, of which there is only one ounce. But I think that should be fine regardless.

So perhaps some of you are saying to yourselves, “wait, a 3-ply sock yarn?” It seems a lot of handspun sock yarns these days are not really what I feel a sock yarn should be. I’m particularly feeling this way as I crank out misshapen tubes which could potentially be socks, using the autoknitter. Many of the commercial sock yarns aren’t doing what I feel they should; and I’m seeing some things people are spinning to be sock yarn that don’t measure up to what I want a sock yarn to do.

It’s not just a matter of materials; it’s not just a matter of thickness. There’s how it’s spun, what kind of wear it’ll take, how springy it is, if it’s going to bounce back… all sorts of elements. So I’m taking soft materials, spinning them tight and smooth, and then plying 3 plies together, because a 3-ply yarn comes out rounder than a 2-ply yarn. Being smooth and soft, it’ll feel nice on my feet; being round and so bouncier, it’ll be comfy to walk on; and being firmly spun and plied, it’ll hold up to being machine-knit, worn, washed, and everything. And i want to be able to wear these socks with my regular shoes, so they can’t be thick and chunky and uneven.

Real sock yarn is time-consuming to spin, even for me; and it lasts in ways that make it worthwhile. I’ll be surprised if I have this sock yarn done tonight. I might finish the spinning, but certainly not the plying.

3 thoughts on “Productivity Report, 10 Jan 2007; Sock Yarn

  1. I just wanted to thank you for sharing photos of your family in Peru (via Spindilitis/Yahoo. I thoroughly enjoyed them. What a wondeful experience for you and your sister to be with such beautiful people.

  2. Oh, Abby, I wish you speedy recovery from the oral surgery. It is so painful, I feel for you. Get well. Faina

  3. Having just found your blog, I’m backtracking through some of your older stuff — and this post is a trigger for me. I’ve been looking into how to spin for socks, and have found very little advice that is very helpful. So when you’re looking for a good post one day soon, could you post on every detail you can think of about spinning for socks? Things like: what breeds of sheep? if you don’t know what breed the fleece is, what traits do you look for? Long draw or short? Why? Does it make a difference? Lots of twist? Always plied? Cable-spun? Why? What makes it durable? What makes it soft? And anything else that might occur to you.

    I’m enjoying the reading. Especially the one about being a Chinchero weaver– that was just fascinating. I look forward to learning from you.

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