knit | spin

Tuff Socks Naturally: Ryeland the Spin

March 15, 2018

Today’s post is one in a series called Tuff Socks Naturally, an open, collaborative project exploring more sustainable alternatives to superwash and nylon in sock yarn. You can join in on the discussion, share pics and projects on this blog or Local and Bespoke or on instagram using the hashtag #tuffsocksnaturally.

The spinning of Ryeland fleece for Tuff Socks Naturally has been completed!

If you remember from last time, I washed lovely, crimpy, crunchy Ryeland fleece from Hallyluya Farm by the lock and drum carded two batts of 50 g each.  The idea was to spin two kinds of sock yarn Opposing Ply Yarn and Two Ply High Grist Yarn which have been tested to be more durable than a traditional 3ply sock yarn and compare the wear over time.

The first batt was spun with a dense, high twist 2 ply according to the method described by Rachel Smith in‘A Down Breed Sock Experiment’ PLY, Issue 6, Spring 2017. I spun the singles using a ratio of 11.5:1 at a rate of 1 inch per treadle and then plied the two Z spun singles in an S direction using a 8:1 ratio at rate of 1 inch per treadle. I was aiming for a yarn of about 19-20 wraps per inch or a light fingering, just a touch finer than my sample.

The second batt was spun with an opposing ply to make a 3 ply cable yarn as described by Sarah Anderson in The Spinners Book of Yarn Designs (2012). I spun 2 singles in a Z direction using a ratio of 11.5:1 at a rate of 1 inch per treadle. These two singles were plied S using a ratio of 15:1 at rate of 1 inch per treadle (creating an over twisted yarn). Then the 2 ply was plied again in a Z direction with an S spun single (spun using same ratio and rate as initial singles) using a 6:1 ratio at a rate of 1 inch per treadle. This created a dense, fine yarn of around 19-20 wraps per inch.

You can see the difference in structure between the two yarns.

So now I have my two fraternal twin sock yarns ready for knitting into socks. I hope all this detailing of ratios and treadle rates helps you develop your own sock spins. I am hoping the 2 ply high grist yarn wins, as it is super quick to spin and will enable lots more sock spinning to go ahead. Let me know how you go.