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.

24 Responses to “Handspun Sock Obsession”

  1. Jenn

    Love the socks! The technique on spinning the yarn went a bit over my (beginning spinner) head, but the result is lovely!
    I am completely smitten with the project bag- where did it come from?

  2. Melanie

    This is the best post. Thanks for all the useful links!

  3. MJ

    I haven’t tried fractal spinning yet, but I will make it a point to take out my Lendrum and do it this year! As always, lovely handspun, Adrian. I love your “Ore and Crag” socks best! I bet they’re being used quite a bit this looong winter…

  4. Mousy Brown

    Wow what beautiful and inspiring socks – I await the day I can remember what to do when knitting a pair of socks, I’m on my 4th pair now and its getting easier but I’m still searching for the perfect pattern…when I finish this pair I think I am going to give the toe up technique a try….I’d love to think I could come up with something as great as you to wear on my feet! :D

  5. Rasa

    Those socks are amazing! I’ve never been lured to spin…there are so many yarns I haven’t tried…if I keep looking at your socks, I’m afraid I may sink into that hole!

  6. Julianna

    Seriously amazing socks and handspun!

    And… Holy Crap worsted weight yarn on size 2 needles! Yowzah! I am intrigued but doubtful that I would be capable of knitting at that gauge.

  7. Heather

    Fractal spun sounds sciency, hard, and therefore super impressive! These are all stunners for sure:)

  8. Anxiety Knits

    These socks are amazing. I never would have thought of this spinning technique to produce the long strands of color. The next thing on my wheel will be a practice of this.

  9. Courtney

    That seriously is the cutest project bag EVER!!! But I would totally zip my yarn in it on accident. I’m bad with zippers.

  10. Crystal

    They are all gorgeous! How do you find they hold up after extended wear? I am always worried I will wear right through them.

  11. yvette

    I really, really want to buy some of your handspun but can never seem to find any for sale. I would forever love you if you would tell me how I can purchase some!

  12. allison

    Oh, how I love this ode to handspun socks! I am slowly working on my new-spinner skills so that soon I’ll be able to make socks from my own yarn :) Your photos are all so inspiring.

  13. Janet K

    I LOVE all the socks!!! I am new to knitting and have yet to make my first pair! I look forward to being able to make them!

  14. Ann

    Wow, socks!! They’re beautiful. I love handspun so much for the unique colour shifts and great feel as you knit. My favourites are the browns with Vera’s handspun.

  15. Kyle Kunnecke

    first of all… these socks are amazing. the spinning is amazing, the colors are gorgeous, and I’m in awe (as usual) with your skill… even a simple sock can be so beautiful in the hands of a true artist…

    congratulations on so many beautiful finished projects!

  16. Alma

    Love the socks, I knit mine on 3 needles,use 4th to knit the stitches, the grandkids love them.

  17. Wendy

    Ooh, love the sock modeling post! I am a handspinner, but strangely enough I rarely knit with my own handspun!

    I will have to try the fractal spinning. Looks awesome.

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