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?)


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.