Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spinning for Socks: FAIL

In my opinion, spinning for socks is one of those hallmark tests for a spinner. The fibers need to be spun worsted and tight, then tightly plied in order to give the socks a lot of durability. My problem is that I tend to spin & ply fairly balanced yarns, which has a lot of applications, but isn't the "ideal" for socks as they need to be long-wearing.

So, in my attempts to become a better spinner, I tackled sock spinning. I took some Frabjous Fibers that was super wash merino and nylon and spun them. (Aren't those beautiful colors?)

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They turned into three lovely bobbins of singles. These were fairly tight twist (or at least I hoped it was tight enough). My ply back tests gave me a fairly tight 3-ply.


For plying, I used the same exact ratio as I did for spinning. (Normally, I go "up" one ratio per plying as we learned in SpinU, but since that normally gives me a balanced yarn, I opted to stay at the same ratio.)

While I was plying, I stopped every now and then to ensure that I was getting enough twist. And yes, the resulting yarn was very 'active' even before it was wound onto the bobbin. I was getting about a 27 degree twist angle.

Here's what it looked like when I wound off the plied yarn onto the skein winder.


During my class at SpinU @ Purlescence Yarns, our instructor, Sandy, told us what sock yarn should look like straight off the niddy noddy or skeinwinder --- a super gnarled mess of spaghetti that you need a heavy weight (like a can) to set. So, I held my breath as I pulled the yarn off the winder.

Instead, what I get is only a slight twisty mess. This skein had about 2.5 twists, which is more than my usual-somewhat balanced skeins, but it's not enough twists for socks.

I ended up with about 450 yards of sock weight yarn, but not quite the sock-specific yarn for which I was aiming.  (Here are the left over bits that I navajo plied)



I think I need to go back to my spinning instructor, Sandy, and get some more helpful tips on spinning sock yarn.