Early last spring, just before things got crazy with my job and the move, I achieved a milestone: I spun singles that were both fine enough and consistent enough for me to ply into a viable, fingerweight sock yarn! The fact that I'm only just now writing about it should be some indication of just how fantastically life intervened.

The story:

When my Aunt Mae died late last January, I flew back to Ohio, and my sister and mom (who still lives in Ohio but had been visiting my sister) drove up from New Orleans. They picked me up at the Cleveland airport on their way into town. No sooner had we finished our hugs than we started plotting which yarn stores we could hit on the way to Mom's house. Mind you, Beth had been driving for 20 solid hours, proving two things: our compulsion for fiber borders on the masochistic and, apparently, is also genetic.

We landed at KNOTS (Knitting on the Square) in Chardon, the quaint little town where my husband grew up which is, conveniently, just a 20-minute drive south of my mom's current home. At KNOTS we chatted with the wonderful owner, Kate Jackson, and found so many great things. We were surprised to find spinning fiber at all, let alone her healthy stock of indie-dyed beauties. Kate was flabbergasted that we went straight to her shop before even getting to our destination! We picked up several kinds of fibers and colorways. More on my purchase in the future -- the subject of today's post is this lovely:

Dancing Feet Roving by TomBoy Yarns.
4oz or superwash Blue Faced Leicester.
Colorway: Jewel Tones.

They may be common colors, but they spoke to me that day... and the BFL was just so luscious.

Jump forward to April. Joseph and I had just signed a contract to purchase our new home. With the pressure to pack and move within six weeks crushing down upon me, I made what seemed then to be a logical choice: I spun the entire 4 ounces on April 5 and Navajo/chain plied it the next day. The whole time, I was thinking, "This could be socks," and behold:

380 yards. Sock yarn!

I cast on and madly knit the toes, foot, and gusset before I had to get serious about moving.

Flash forward to November. With four glorious months of parental leave stretching out before me, sanity and space returned and I found my creative energy restored. Out came the socks!

Pattern: Mash-Up Magic Toe-Up Socks (MUMTUS) by Zhenya Lavy (workshop pictorial, Ravelry page, downloadable PDF of the condensed pattern)
Primary Stitch Count: 52
Started: April 28, 2010
Completed: November 28, 2010
Materials: My Navajo-plied handspun from Superwash BFL, Jewel Tones (Dancing Feet Roving by TomBoy Yarns)
Needles: US 2 / 3.00 mm

I used a mock cable stitch with alternating twists for the leg:

This Mock Cable has a simple, four-row repeat:

1: *MT, P2, K2, P2* repeat
2 & 4: K2, P2
3: K2, P2, *MT, P2, K2, P2* repeat

(MT = Make Twist. K2tog but don't slip off needle. Insert needle back into the 1st stitch and knit. Slip both off needle.)


My handspun was a joy to knit. I found myself stopping to admire my work much more frequently than usual!

I have 26 grams of the handspun left -- that's about 23% of my starting quantity. I only used 77% of my fiber... about 266 yards. This confuses me. The yarn looks and feels like fingerweight, but it knit up like a higher grist. Hmmm... Thoughts?

Doesn't the color flow beautifully through the fabric? I didn't do any special spinning techniques to manipulate the color. I just let things fall where they may in the spinning and Navajo plying processes.

Before blocking. Squishy and luxurious!

They're definitely a fraternal pair, which would drive my sister crazy, but I'm good with it!  It's most obvious here:

I know it's generally preferable to block before photographing, but sometimes I feel like the blocking renders a "sterile" picture. In their pre-blocked state, they shine with all the charisma of the kinesthetic experience they have to offer!

When all was said and done, they didn't take all that much touch time to spin and knit... but they ended up being a seven-month project. Yikes!

Sadly, last week Kate announced that she's selling KNOTS to spend more time with her two little ones and prepare for the arrival of a third. Congratulations, Kate! I've really appreciated your approach and your fun voice in the newsletters. 

I'm praying someone wonderful buys the shop. As my mother-in-law says, "It's such a nice addition to Chardon Square." As I see it, a yarn store is perfect for a serene, historical setting. I'd be all over it if we still lived in Ohio!


Rene Sharp said...

Your socks are absolutely gorgeous. Well done!! I don't know if I will ever spin wool that I can knit socks with!! Sending you smiles from Sunny South Africa!

meredithp said...

The yarn and the socks are simply stunning. And thanks for posting the cable twist modification you used. That's exactly what I want to do on my first sock pair (knit in sock weight yarn) using your MTMU pattern. Just as soon as I finish the worsted weight "class" socks I'm learning TU ML on.