knit | spin

Slowtober: Remaking 2

October 24, 2017

Here is a pair of socks I love wearing but are seldom worn…perfect for my focus during Slowtober on remaking.

The problem with these socks is twofold. Firstly, the cast off around the cuffs is too tight making them difficult to pull up and stay up.

Secondly, I spun these socks early in my spinning life, not understanding that I needed more twist and more density in the fabric to make these socks durable. The yarn is simply too fragile to be walked on much. I have mended them frequently but there is little to hold the mending stitches. You can see the problem around the heel particularly.

These socks are very precious to me. They are spindle spun and have many stories and memories attached to them. I wrote about these socks two years ago in a post called Slow Socks. Have a read and then you might understand why I keep them despite not being able to wear them.

But it is silly to store them, what they really need is reknitting from the ankle down and a new cuff.

First, I needed yarn, something strong and durable, and to be true to the origin of the socks, I wanted the yarn to be handspun. So I combed some Corriedale x Ryeland x Finn from Lucinvale Spinning Fleeces, South Australia which I had bought at the Guild. Reading only the Finn part of the label and seeing the beautiful gray variation in the fleece, I had expected a coloured Finnsheep fleece and was so disappointed with the feel after washing that I just put it away. But during the Spinning Certificate, I brought it as contribution to the felting study exploring which fibres full/felt. It didn’t felt and I suddenly saw this fleece in different light. I went back and looked at it again, researched Ryeland, and realised I had a wonderful crimpy, crunchy sock yarn waiting to be spun.

After combing and dizzing, I spun up a tight but balanced three ply worsted sock yarn. Then I cut off the sock at the ankle, picked up the stitches, shifted the leg increases to the inside to change the placement of the heel stitches to less worn stitches and reknitted the foot.

Then I unpicked my cuff cast off and reknitted a cuff and cast off using Jen’s Suprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. I used all my spun yarn on the one sock, so I have to spin some more to do the other sock. But I am very close to a pair of wearable, durable handspun socks which preserve the original spindle-spun-Jillybean-Blue-Faced-Leicester-travel-memento-yarn-and-knitting.

I count this as a successful remaking. How are your Slow Fashion October projects going?

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  1. Your sock(s) is beautiful and I really admire your perseverance! I have knit 4 pair of very nice socks and gave them all away because I didn’t want to have to buy a bigger shoe to accommodate a bigger foot!! I fully intend to do some sewing for Slotober Fashion so I’d better hop to it.

    1. Hand knit socks are not for everyone, i agree. Good on you for passing them on. Oh yes…the sewing, i hope to get to that at some point too!

    1. Thank you Sophy, I have spun up the other half of the remake now, it is ball wound and just needs knitting now. I wish it could do it by itself though.

    1. Thanks Kate, that result is a wonderful co-incidence, not design! Although I guess if it had been awful I could have dyed it, but I am rather glad I didn’t have to!

  2. Your skills inspire me! I would hesitate at cutting knitting, fearing I’d never find the stitches to pick up! I hesitate to frog a piece by pulling the needles out totally for the same reason. I should be braver. I too have socks like these in the drawer. However this month is turning out to be incredibly busy with very little time for personal stuff. But all information carefully filed in brain for future use.

    1. Dear Jane, I don’t know about you but these special months like Slow Fashion October, Wovember, Me Made May and even Spizilla, often strike during the most difficult of times like moving house, or school holidays or just stressful life periods. All we can do is store up the info and release into a quiet time for exploring at leisure and not to the calendar. I hope the month clears up for you.

  3. wonderful! I love the combination of pink and pastels with natural gray. I am spindle spinning for my first pair of handspun socks with cheviot fleece that was full of VM I bought a pound from a local shepherd at a festival. I am handcarding handfulls here and there, then spinning and navajo plying. I imagine it will take me some time because it’s low priority but I am enjoying the fact that there is no hurry and that some day that sheep’s fleece will make it’s way into a pair of boots.

    1. What a brilliant project Peg! You are so right, it just doesn’t matter the time it takes as the journey is so profoundly interesting. I will be very interested to hear how Cheviot wears as a sock. We have Cheviots nearby and they are high on my curiousity list.

  4. I love not only that you did this, but preserved all those elements along the way, so they are still the integrated, from-scratch hand-made socks you love. The colors are gorgeous.
    Am I wrong that this is the kind of project that would have overwhelmed you a year ago? If so I am glad you have more energy and are feeling better.

    1. Dear Frith, You are not wrong. There is so much in this project that means that I am getting better, the thinking it out, the spinning, the actual knitting and the posting. All things that were just too much a year ago. Slowly slowly I am coming back into my body. Thank you so much for noticing, it heartens me that the improvement is so visible.

  5. It looks great rebecca and as you said will now get plenty of wear i f
    Have aldo changed three pairs of sovks this year to be more wearable and still hsve one pair to go but my first opal socks will get your treatment once they are no longer darnable as i made them on the last trip with my sister and both parents dad kept checking to see where i was up to and how they were going we were in emotional memories.

    1. Dear Elizabeth, clothes do become so much more precious when their making has been so intimately tied to our living. Memories are so very powerful. Long live your socks.

  6. I love these socks – remember well reading your original post and your visit to Glastonbury Tor. It is so good to read how you have re-worked them and managed to keep these good friends still useful and worn.

    1. Yes, kayderouge, there are so many precious memories in those socks that I just couldn’t ditch them nor continue to not wear them!

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