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?