Posts from the ‘Handspun Handknit’ category

Handspun Sock Obsession

Red Stripe

It started before Christmas, when a couple of skeins of handspun yarn I got as a gift caught my eye and I started a pair of socks to show the yarn off as simply as possible. The result was so beautiful that when I finished the first pair, I immediately cast on for another. I’m still going strong, with the pair above in the works and singles on the wheel (to be chain plied) for more. I’ve been experimenting a bit with different ways of spinning for color. The sock above is from fractal-spun yarn, for which I split the top lengthwise in half, spinning one half from the end onto one bobbin, and splitting the other half lengthwise into four equal pieces and spinning them from the end onto another bobbin, starting at the same end each time. I then plied the bobbins together, producing a yarn that has big fat shifting stripes, some barberpoled and some solid, where a color meets itself. Other yarns I used are scrappy skeins made from bits of two or more colorways or are spun from fibers that were dyed in similar colors. They produce different, if equally beautiful, results. The mismatched pairs bring me a special joy, though I love them all.

All of these socks are toe-up, using the figure-8 cast-on and a short row heel. I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (video) for all of these and will never use anything else! I’ve got it all memorized- 48 sts. in worsted on size 2 needles, 56 for sport on 1s, and 64 or 68 on 0s for fingering. I move two stitches from each side of the heel into the heel section (4 from each side for fingering) for the short-rowing, so the heel is deeper. All these socks are knit at a very tight gauge so they last and last and last. Almost every pair came in under 4 oz. It’s great to know that something so useful and beautiful can be made from one itty bitty bag of wool. I can take a ball of wool and the appropriate needles with me anywhere and have the perfect small project to work on.

Vera Socks

These are made from Merino sport weight yarn spun by the lovely Vera. The color shifts in this yarn make me far too happy.

Green Vera Socks

Vera also spun this 2 ply 80/20 Merino/silk worsted weight yarn of awesomness. I used about 3.3 oz./220 yards to make this pair of mens size 10.5 socks.

David Socks

David spun some of my fiber (“Faded” merino) into a 3 ply sport weight of gorgeousness.

Ore & Crag Socks

These socks were knit from a combination of my Ore and Crag colorways (yarn seen here, lower left), spun for Tour de Fleece last year into a worsted weight 2 ply. I used about 4 oz., 220 yards for this pair of mens 10.5 socks.

Rising Moon Striped Socks

The feet of these socks are done in Rising Moon Farm’s 3 ply wool with the legs done in stripes of a mystery grey tweed and this yarn. These used 4 oz. of the yarns, total. It’s a fantastic way to get the most from just a little handspun.

Handspun Monster Socks

These are the heavy ones, 4.8 oz., full of Romney, made from a patchwork 2 ply worsted weight yarn I spun from scraps of old colorways.

Isn’t Mr. HelloYarn the best sock model ever?

Things I Love This Week:

* knitted mushrooms
* Werner Herzog’s Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo – He notices and writes down the things I think I would notice, so it feels like I’m there.
* rugged, old-fashioned sweaters– am plotting one for Mr. HelloYarn
* the TV show Trauma, which is available streaming online – so cheesy, but I have a TV crush on Cliff Curtis. (Werner Herzog would call me a vapid twit, but what can I do?)
* the project bag in the first photo, because it is the cutest ever – It’s made by Jessalu and I got it at Spunky Eclectic.


4 oz. Challenge

It’s been a while since the 4 oz. Challenge, but I finally finished my contribution, which reminded me that I needed to post a wrap-up of the contest. We had some seriously wonderful entries, but our super duper favorite was Stacey Simpson Duke’s Sweetgum (free Ravelry download). It’s a beautiful use of just 4 oz. of handspun yarn! Seriously, how cute is she?


Our other winners were:
Valeria by Jacie Falkowski
Shelburne Falls by Rachel Brown
Albina Armwarmers by Vera Brosgol

Here’s a link to a Ravelry page with all of the submissions. There are so many fantastic ways to use just 4 oz. of handspun yarn, and many of the patterns are free!

My entry, so late to the game, is Tip Down Mittens (free Ravelry download)

Tip Down Mittens

Spun from Southern Cross Fibre’s Polwarth wool in the Boys of Summer colorway. Yarn measures 804 ypp and 11 wpi. Mittens used 3.1 oz./ 156 yards. 9” in circumference and 9.5” long. Gauge is 5.25 sts per ”. Happy happy soft soft.

Tip Down Mittens

Spun from Spunky Eclectic Corriepaca in the Orchard colorway. Yarn measures 614 ypp and 10 wpi. Mittens used 3.3 oz/ 127 yards. Mitten measures 8.5” in circumference and 10” long. Gauge is 4.75 sts. per ”. Happy happy color color!

You might remember the tragedy of two left mittens. Thankfully, I had 8 oz. of fiber and now have 2 pairs of mittens. :)


– Much sitting and knitting was done leading up to the holidays, which is always prime TV time here. We have become obsessed with Black Books, which is available for viewing on Hulu. It’s so funny that we’ve watched it two and a half times through in the last month. “Which… one of you bitches… wants to dance?” < — quote for those who’ve already watched and want a giggle.

– FOOD. I made some glorious foodstuffs over my holiday break. Salted lavender caramels, milk liqueur (trust me on this), cordials, pebernødder, salted chocolate dulce de leche tart, TV cookies (I need to make these again), dark chocolate honey lavender tart, and Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe (twice). All recipes are perfection. PERFECTION. Half of the reason I’ve just listed them is to remind myself of how delicious they all were.

Salted Lavender Caramels

Trust me. Make them.

– HOLY COW, it’s nearly potholder time again. We are going to host the potholder swap again this year. I’ll be back with more info once we hammer out the details.


Join Us for the 4! Ounce! Challenge!

Orchard Corriepaca

The lovely David of Southern Cross Fibre contacted me and Amy of Spunky Eclectic recently with a fantastic idea. Since we, and a great chunk of other hand-dyers, sell our fibers in 4 oz. pieces, we should encourage the designing of objects and the writing of patterns that use that amount of fiber. If you’ve been around Ravelry’s spinning boards, you know “What can I do with just 4 oz.?” is a common question. We, and everyone who joins us, will help make the answer a whole lot easier.

On top of that, there are really good prizes- a grand prize of a $150 fiber pack from Spunky Eclectic/Hello Yarn/Southern Cross Fibre (about three 4 oz lots from each) and a random prize draw with three $50 prizes (one 4 oz lot from each SE/HY/SCF). People who spin and create an original item through August/September will get one entry in the random prize draw. Those who publish the pattern get an additional entry in the random draw. The grand prize ($150 fiber) will be judged based on published and submitted patterns only.

The rules are:

1. During August and September, spin up 4 oz. of handpainted fiber from Spunky Eclectic, Southern Cross Fiber, or Hello Yarn and knit/crochet/weave something from this handspun yarn with no other yarn added. You can use less than the 4 oz., but not more. Spin it bulky for a hat or super fine for a giant shawl, we love it all.

2. Write up a pattern. While not necessary, even to be entered into the random prize drawings, it’s kind of the point and everyone will appreciate it. Publish said pattern, either on Ravelry or your blog, either for free or for sale. Please follow current pattern-writing guidelines. Not sure what they are? Knittyspin has a great set of guidelines. Please note that the grand prize will be judged on the basis of the actual pattern submitted, not just prettiness.

3. Email us with your object and a bit about it or email us the pattern.

There’s a ton more info in the Ravelry group we’ve created for the contest. There’s a FAQ and you can ask any questions and discuss your plans in the forum.

We hope to see you there! I’ll be trying my hand at writing a spinning/knitting pattern right alongside everyone else. Enjoy!