A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 23, 2008

The Socks Are Done!

My First Attempt At Knitting Socks
My First Attempt At Knitting Socks


Thank goodness – over the weekend while Ric was away I managed the final few rows of the second sock and that project is complete.


The sock project started off because I had some leftover yarn that I wanted to use up.  The yarn was not the best, having been made by a mill owner in his early years of processing alpaca fiber.  Some of the skeins were over spun and had a harsh feel to them, but we made allowances for the fact that the mill owner was new to the business and was in a learning curve (and these days his yarn is vastly improved).


I had read in various knitting publications how fast and fun sock making was, so thought I would try my hand at knitting a pair of socks just to see how I enjoyed the experience.  Well, I didn’t!  Perhaps the fact that I was knitting plain socks with no pattern or color variation was a factor, but I found the creation of the socks quite mundane and fiddly.


Normally my knitting projects involve lace knitting, cables, interesting stitches or variation of color so that might be why I found the socks less than inspiring.  Still I had started the project and wanted to see it through to completion and so I persevered.


The socks were always intended to be used by me, the quality of the yarn was such I didn’t feel right trying to sell the end product, and after all this was my first time trying such techniques as turning a heel.  As things turned our it’s a good job I wasn’t planning on selling the socks as they are not my finest creation, but they certainly have “character” that wonderful term fiber artists use to describe areas of their work that are less than perfect!


You can see from the picture that the shape of the heel on the bottom sock is too elongated, the top sock is better and it was the second of the two socks that I knitted – at least I was showing improvement.  To me the cast on for the ribbing at the top of the socks is too loose, but the pattern instructions said to make sure that the cast on was loose.


The yarn that I used for the second sock was supposed to be the same as the yarn for the first sock, but there is a difference in both the color and weight of the yarn.  On seeing the socks Ric joked with me that I will have to alternate which foot I wear each sock on as he thinks they will wear differently over time.

The result of unsorted fiber, a fuzzy sock with protruding guard hairs

The result of unsorted fiber, a fuzzy sock with protruding guard hairs


When I went to photograph the socks, I realized what a beautiful example they were of fiber that was not sorted prior to being spun into yarn.  Just look at this close up of the first heel – talk about guard hair!  You can see the sock has a very fuzzy outline and some very long straight hairs protruding from it, which are guard hairs.  These protruding fibers will produce a prickle effect to the skin (not good) and over time will shed and pill.  Fiber that was properly sorted by grade, length and color would not have produced two different colored, different weight socks and there would be little to no fuzzy outline or guard hairs.


My sock project ended up being more of an education than I ever thought it would be, so it was not a totally wasted experience – and at the end of the day I have a pair of barn socks that will be great to wear as the cooler weather arrives!



Blog at WordPress.com.