Spin to Knit Socks A-Long

Anyone interested in joining me in spinning in preparation to knit socks can “like, comment, and subscribe.” I’ve been testing out some non-superwash natural color wools for this project, and need a little incentive to keep going. For more information, there is a series of videos on YouTube by Carrie of MyWoolMitten starting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM3dA6shu-c&t=314s. She goes through fiber choices,* swatching, and patterns/designing. She’s a lovely sheep farmer with a lot of interesting videos staring her sheep!
*hint, she says you can use anything.

Here are a few pictures of test swatches and the first couple of skeins. White is Rambouiette/Corriedale, Dark Brown is Merino/Wensleydale, finished almost a month ago! I really should get going on this with my new wheel!




I am definitely in! I have some I’ve started some Ramboillet that I want to knit up into socks.

Last night I started carding a 4 oz. hank of Shetland with a considerable amt. of VM. I wasn’t sure how else to do it so that I wouldn’t be frustrated trying to spin it. It was working pretty well, only a short bit left to do. It is the 3rd from the left. After I spin that, I just have 4oz of Wool/Alpaca blend. Not sure of the percentages, but it sure is soft, so I"m guessing at least 50/50 which would be quite warm for socks, but for a colorwork accent might be nice.

I LOVE Shetland! It is so soft and warm. I am knitting up a shawl of handspun Shetland. I can’t wait to use it; maybe by this fall I’ll have it done…

I did watch some of Carrie’s videos–I was suprised about her comments about using anything. That motivated me to try the Polwarth and Rambouillet that I have on hand.

Polwarth has become one of my favorites! I finished carding and started spinning the Shetland yesterday, It seems pretty crunchy! But I was really getting my backward draw going, so it was great practice at any rate. If I can’t use it for anything wearable, there are always coasters!!! Beautiful brown coasters.

Sounds interesting. I’m in. Now I just need to find some wool to use!

I disagree with Carrie about a couple of things. Using any fiber can be a problem, since some fibers won’t hold up well for socks. I’m specifically thinking of 14.5 micron merino. Yes it’s soft and amazing, but even if the yarn is constructed perfectly I’d be very worried about how well it’d hold up. Maybe only for socks to sleep in but not for heavy wear. I’d probably say “use anything over 18 microns”. Then there’s the whole not liking top thing. With the majority of top that’s available, there is some truth to what she’s saying. Most top is over drafted so the fiber looses memory & elasticity and is harder to draft. The other issue comes with what spinning wheel she’s using. It was harder for me to get yarn I liked with my Louet S10 and Victoria than it is on my Majacraft Rose. One part of that could be in how I constructed yarns. With the Louet wheels I spun on the largest whorl and plied on the smallest. I now do the opposite, so I make the single nice and strong and also since the single will get relaxed a bit by the plying process. I also have a lot more ratios to work with on the Rose, so I’m not restricted to only spinning on the smallest and plying on the largest whorls. Where I spin depends on how thick I want the yarn. Since what I do now is mostly test spinning and prototyping, I try to spin to make my hand spun as similar to machine spun as possible.

Interesting observations from @MaineTopMill – I think I am going to try doing your suggestion of using the smaller whorl for the singles and then use a larger whorl for plying. @PurlgirlButtons - on your last sock spinning project, did you just do 2-ply? I am leaning towards doing a 3-ply (or a chain-ply), but maybe I don’t need to?

I’ve always done 3 ply for strength and wear.

Hopefully it works out well for you @rkennell. I always spin the singles on the smallest whorl on my wheel (fast pulley on Majacraft Rose). Then I’ll ply on I think one of the middle whorls. Wish I could show you pics of both my setup and hand spun, but my wheel is still in a box and I have no idea where the box my yarn is in is!

PurlgirlButtons–I think 3-ply is smart–I think I might actually do chain ply for some of mine since that’s pretty much equivalent to that, right? I have a darker shade for the toes and heels, so it’s a smaller amount and I think it will be easier to chain ply rather than trying to divide it into 3 bobbins. I think I might go ahead and ply it so I can do some sampling.

@MaineTopMill - Unpacking after moving is always such “fun”–trying to figure out where everything is packed is a major guessing game! I guess I’ve already started this sock yarn on the fast whorl (for the Schacht Matchless), but it is the smallest setting for that one (15:1), so should I just go the next size up (12.6:1) or should I go even bigger, like the medium whorl options–11:1 or 9:1?. Maybe next time I’ll try the smallest (high-speed) whorl with settings of 19:1 or 17:1. @PurlgirlButtons - what are you using for settings on yours?

So, I didn’t look at the label terribly close on my wool-- It’s an 80/20 mix of BFL and Rambouillet; but it is the fiber from @MaineTopMill and it spins absolutely lovely! Can’t wait to see what it feels like in a pair of socks!

@rkennel The irony is I know I have a couple of boxes labeled “yarn” or something. I just have no idea where they are! Plus I’ve been engaged in barn building so I have not had time to try to find them. I know where my wheel is. I just don’t have anywhere to put it when I have unpacked it. :smiley: Oh and all of my tools for putting it back together are also “in a box somewhere”. :slight_smile:

It should work quite well. BFL has a higher micron so is stronger but is silky so should feel softer than a less shiny wool of the same micron. The Rambouillet is softer but is very bouncy so it should help with elasticity.

This is the ratio chart for the Rose. I can’t remember if I also have the high speed head too or just the fast pulley. I spin my singles on the smallest ratio and ply on either the 4th largest or 3rd largest. I wish I had kept better notes when I was doing my test spinning, depending on how elastic the fiber itself is. I can’t remember if I went with the 4th largest for more elastic blends or less elastic blends. Sorry I don’t have a better answer.

Screen Shot 2022-05-13 at 9.03.44 AM.png