Sunday, July 06, 2008

Did I do that?

In today's episode of Bowerbird Blogs, Rebekkah is full of herself. Her head is the size of a moderately large watermelon (seedless), and she is simultaneously incredulous that she actually made those things, and extraordinarily proud of her accomplishments. (But in all silly seriousness, sometimes I think the gnomes invade my house at night and use their gnomy magics to turn everything I make into something a thousand times better.)

First up is my very first pair of handspun socks:

Macaw Sock Mosaic for blog

I couldn't be more pleased with them. I blogged about the yarn before, and if you click on the photo, you will find links to the original photos in Flickr, with details about the yarn. In short, it's a 3 ply merino fingering weight, dyed by The Arts At Eagles Find, which is a shop on Etsy. I attempted to get the colors to match up in the plies, for perfect striping, and while that didn't happen, I adore the results.

The pattern is a non-pattern. 64 stitches, 2x2 ribbing, plain old slip stitch heelflap and gusset shaping, with a flat toe. It's my standard, basic sock pattern, and I think it was perfect for the yarn. The yarn is incredibly bouncy, and these socks hug my feet like no other socks I've knit before. They completely justify my habit of falling back on comfort spinning from time to time, which for me is spinning yarn exactly like the yarn I spun for these socks. (Not that comfort spinning is bad, but I like to use my crafts as an opportunity to learn and grow, in addition to relaxation and plain old enjoyment. But the comfort zone, and doing what I already know how to do with ease, can feel so good sometimes.)

Out of curiosity, is there any need or desire out there for a free writeup of my basic sock pattern? I know that there are tons of basic sock patterns out there, many mostly the same, but all of them probably slightly different. I don't know that my writeup of this sock "pattern" would add much to the mix, but I really like what I do, and if there is a desire for it, I could easily write up something for free download. Let me know in the comments if you're interested, and I'll add it to my to-do list. (And if there is no interest, just count this as part of the theme of this post: me being a bit too full of myself!)

Next in this tour of my inflated ego are the socks I knit for my mom:

Francies for Mom

They're not handspun, but they are my own pattern. I had hopes of giving handspun socks to my mom, but the yarn I originally had designated turned out to be too thick, so I went with millspun yarn instead. It's Socks That Rock lightweight, though I forget the name of the colorway. It works as a great substitute for the Smooshy, which is what the Francie pattern was originally designed with. My mom says they fit like a glove (or a sock!), so I'm quite pleased.

Another thing I'm proud of are my first successful laceweight singles:

1994 merino tence laceweight mosaic

This is 50/50 merino/tencel blend in the 1994 colorway, from Muzzlepuffs on Etsy. I learned that the trick (for me) when it comes to laceweight singles is to use a larger (slower) whorl than I'd use for similarly sized singles that I'd ply. Plying undoes some of the twist in the singles, so for a yarn that isn't going to be plied, you want something with less twist in it, to keep it under control. I have a potential disaster of a yarn that I may still be able to fix, and which I hope to eventually blog about. That yarn is overspun, but was a good learning experience in making this yarn.

I absolutely adored spinning this blend. I often find that I can't spin for a long period of time, because I'm prone to getting "yarn burn" in my fingertips. It just hurts to have the fiber running through my fingers for an extended period of time. I take frequent breaks, even with super soft merinos, but I could spin for a really long time with this blend. It just slipped through my fingers like magic. This yarn is going to be a small shawl for a friend, and I adored spinning this blend so much that I immediately went out and bought 8 oz. of another similar blend in pinks and reds, so I can spin for a full sized shawl for myself.

The yarn above is 108 grams, 816 yards, and about 32 wpi. I find it really difficult and tedious to do wpi counts for yarn this thin. And really, for yarns like this I don't think it's important. I mostly know that it's really thin, and that I'll determine needle size by swatching until I like the density I'm getting in stockinette. I've already started the shawl, but will post more about that in the future.

As an aside, I think the colorway name the dyer gave to the roving (1994) is absolutely perfect. I don't remember the exact wording of her reasoning, but I think she chose the name because the colors reminded her of the year 1994. I totally get it. They also remind me of 1994, and I'm not completely sure why. I don't know that I wore those colors all that much when I was 17, but it just fits. Are the dyer and I both on the same weird brain wave, or does that yarn remind anyone else of 1994? I'm really curious.

So that's the update on the stuff I've made recently that I'm overly proud of. I have a couple of handspun projects on the needles, but I'll wait until I have some updated photos of those to post about them here. But I have one more thing to be incredibly proud of. I have some awesome friends. Look at what Syne sent me:

Handspun from Syne

That's her own hand-dyed handspun, one ply silk and one ply baby camel down. I'm not sure how much there is, but one of these days I'm going to re-skein it using a niddy noddy, so I can get a good count. I could only do a halfway decent job in capturing the richness and beauty of the colors in that photo. It's truly spectacular yarn. Syne has quite the talent for color, and I almost feel that I don't even need to knit up the yarn, because just staring at it as-is makes me incredibly happy.

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Blogger LizzieK8 said...

The green and blue socks are exquisite! The stippling at the heel is really fantastic.

Your mum's socks are very nice, too. What a unique pattern.

7/06/2008 10:19 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Love the handspun socks! The stripes came out really nice -- and those eye-popping blues and greens are gorgeous.

7/06/2008 11:08 AM  
Blogger MmmYarn said...

Those handspun socks sure caught my eye. Beautiful colors and beautiful marling! Thanks for posting about using a larger whorl for laceweight singles. I'll have to give that a go. -- Kirsten

7/06/2008 11:41 AM  
Blogger Justine said...

I love those socks! They're amazing - beautiful colours!

I would be interested in your standard pattern. I have one myself, for toe-up socks, but I'm always looking for refinements!

7/06/2008 12:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love the speckle effect you get when you almost match the plies-I got the same thing in my cucumber falls socks. And yes, nothing feels like handspun on your feet. Nice work, as always!

7/06/2008 12:30 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Oh those handspun socks make me giddy! They are gorgeous. Spinning such an evenly spun yarn, lightweight enough for socks is way out of my "comfort zone". You inspire me to try.

7/06/2008 1:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I am just swooning over those blue and green socks! Who am I kidding -- I love any combination of blue and green, but those colors are so wonderfully vibrant. Makes me want to break out the spindle and practice again!

7/06/2008 1:07 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Lovely socks! And yes, I'd be interested in your basic sock pattern.

7/06/2008 2:09 PM  
Blogger Yarnsnob said...

Those are some good locking socks, absolutely fabulous!

7/06/2008 6:16 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Your head's only the size of a watermelon? Mine would be MUCH bigger if I had made all these lovely things. Mmmmm.

7/06/2008 11:49 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Those socks are just glorious! fantastic knitting and spinning so you have every right to be big headed about them. the singles yarn is pretty, I think that fibre combination is one I will try if I ever spin single yarn.

7/07/2008 2:32 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

I am completely digging both pairs of socks - nice!

7/07/2008 7:20 AM  
Blogger wiscjennyann said...

Oh wow, this is all so fab looking! Droooool! (Basic sock pattern, woot!)

7/07/2008 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! You have every right to feel pleased with yourself!

7/07/2008 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good heavens!... The blue/green/yellow pair are simply amazing. Better than Trekking, even. The fabric is so lovely and even, I'd never have guessed these were handspun if I hadn't seen the yarn first! :-)

7/08/2008 10:23 AM  
Blogger jardinrouge said...

Your socks are beautiful! You write that they are simple and plain...I disagree!

And Yes...I'm raising my hand to your asking if anyone would like your pattern!

Now to find some gorgeous yarn for me, me, me!!!!

7/08/2008 11:43 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

De-lurking here to compliment you on all of the gorgeous socks! I'd love to have any pattern you'd love to share! :) I usually just do a basic rib/st st sock but really like your patterns. Pretty Please????

7/10/2008 2:45 AM  
Blogger alpineflower said...

It's definitely 1994 - teal and mauve were huge in the home decor arena in the early/mid nineties, as any trip to a Greek-owned, non-chain American restaurant (at least in the midwest) will attest to. Oy. The yarn is much lovelier, and should maybe be named "1994: Through the Fogs of Time"

7/10/2008 4:43 PM  
Blogger Teslagrl said...

Beautiful socks! I also am interested in your sock pattern.

7/10/2008 4:54 PM  
Blogger Teslagrl said...

Also, just wondering where you got your sock blockers? Thanks!

7/11/2008 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that ribbed pattern and would be eternally grateful should you write up the pattern. Michele in NYC

7/12/2008 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those socks are perfection. Nice job:)

7/17/2008 7:16 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...


7/17/2008 3:23 PM  
Blogger Irie said...

Dear melonhead,
Your head is justifiably large! The socks and singles are GORGEOUS... wow. :)


7/18/2008 11:42 AM  
Blogger Ilix said...

Great spinning!! I love the colours, and the socks are good too. I agree... good on you and your big head. you deserve it!

7/20/2008 5:29 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Hi--I would love your basic pattern. I have some that I use regularly but am always looking for good new ones. And your socks are so lovely that I would love to have yours. The socks for your mom are pretty terrific too. Any chance I could find that pattern somewhere?

7/22/2008 9:23 PM  

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