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Handspun Sock Yarn

I finished this a couple weeks ago, but I’m absolutely terrible at getting photos in a timely manner.

The finished yarn that I talked about in this post.

At this point, I’m undecided about whether I feel like using knitting or crochet to make socks. I should probably make little sample squares out of both to see which suits the yarn better, but I’m also keeping my eye out for anything that sings to me.

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Handspun sock yarn WIP

I received the supplies for this project with Paradise Fiber’s fiber of the month club, back in May 2022, and I’ve been sloooooowly working on it since August.

The wool is the Walkin’ On Sunshine blend, which is 75% cheviot and 25% faux cashmere.

I’m only partway done. I decided that I would pause the spinning process to dye the singles before plying them, and as of this moment, the other half is still in the dye pot. I plan on using my spinning wheel to ply, so I handwound the finished portion onto a bobbin.

I used a drop spindle, which is part of why it’s been taking me so long. The other part is my tiny humans providing plenty of interruptions.

Instagrammers be crazy jealous of my breathtakingly beautiful yarn turtles.

Actually, despite how it looks, those little yarn balls are easy to hold in the palm of my hand and wind up into a proper skein. They’re quite handy.

With any luck, I’ll have the yarn completed before too much longer. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get it made into socks for my birthday this month.

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Turtles

After I inflamed the tendons in my foot with sloppy treadling, I decided that I should mix up my yarn spinning by using a drop spindle every now and then. Eventually, I got a turkish drop spindle set.

Naturally I made a quick reference of video tutorials to ensure that I was winding the yarn on correctly to create a center-pull ball. I very quickly noticed that everyone was neatly lining up their yarn to make very neat “turtles” that visually look very neat. (Turtles are what they call the yarn balls that are woven around the cross sticks)

Context:

I’m an INTP. When I saw this video by Frank James about how the different personality types kill their relationships, my initial reaction was, “I would never go out in public wearing pajamas … but yeah, he’s spot on.” I’m not all that big on social presentation. I can’t remember the last time I wore makeup, and while I do clean house every day, I’m terrible at organization. I figure that I don’t have any room in my life for people who are going to be pissy about my house being full of children. There are toys everywhere. Deal with it.

So, when it comes to spending extra time making a temporary ball of yarn look pretty, I’m skeptical.

If there’s some other purpose, then I’m open to the idea. Does it tangle less when being unwound? Fits more yarn? I’m genuinely curious. I don’t mind spending the extra time if it somehow benefits me later — I’m just not going to do it purely for aesthetic. I’m waaay too INTP for that.

I almost asked about possible other benefits on one of the youtube tutorials, but was overcome with anxiety instead. Would my question be taken as an insult, and get me attacked and ridiculed? I daren’t say anything.

Which paints a depressing picture of how I’ve experienced socializing with other women.

Personality wise, I strongly prefer spinning wheels anyway. I’m only doing this to avoid aggravating the tendons in my foot again.

So I’ll just quietly do my own thing, and stay far away from those pretty little “turtles”.

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Crochet

Halloween went very well, and the majority of the 6-month-old’s trick-or-treat candy was generously donated to me, the hardworking mother who made it all happen (aww, so thoughtful!)

And I’ve been working on crocheting socks ever since. I came to the conclusion that if I want to be serious as a yarn arteest, I need to reorient my hand movements so that I wrap the yarn around the hook, instead of holding the yarn still and hooking it. Some guy on youtube did it that way, lmao.

I also learned how to make hush puppies. Yum!

Anyway, at some point in the past, I came to the conclusion that youtube crochet tutorials were a blight on the craft. I have a reputation as someone who crochets — it’s pretty obvious when everyone in my family is running around with handmade items — so I occasionally get people asking me for help.

Cue phrase, “I was following a tutorial on youtube, and I don’t know where I went wrong.”

Which is how I got to learn how to troubleshoot without a written pattern or any sort of clue about what the designer’s original intent was.

So.

The reason why I hate youtube tutorials so much is because the video creator is posturing as a teacher, but then they aren’t available to help their students with their problems. A huge part of properly teaching a skill is learning how to navigate beginner’s mistakes and misunderstandings, so you can explain everything more clearly and concisely in the future. These “teachers” however, care more about showing off their manicures than they do about actually helping someone learn a craft. They don’t reply to comments.

Unfortunately I’m a softie, and I have a hard time dismissing someone who invested time and money into a project — I know how emotionally involved people get with their crafting, and how frustrating it is when something goes wrong and you can’t figure it out. So, I help. I stare hard at what they’ve done thus far, figure out the basic stitch pattern, and ask some questions about what it’s supposed to be at the end. Then I make up something that will get them from here to there, and carefully explain the changes and why they fix the problem. I like to think that I’m helping them learn how to overcome problems in the future.

I mentioned that I’ve been crocheting socks (three pairs so far). I actually really like designing crocheted socks, especially with how pretty some of the stitches are, but there’s one thing stopping me from typing up a pattern: I’m still troubleshooting my own work on the fly.

Until I can properly explain every single last nitpicky detail, I’m going to refrain from writing any books on the topic.

What can I say, I have a conscience.

Now that my rant is out of the way, the one thing that limits the time I spend crocheting is fatigue in my hands. I’m curious if reorienting my movements so they are more evenly distributed will help. My feet get cold easily, and all the socks I made in the past are getting old and holey. It’s time to recharge my sock drawer.

Not to mention, I need something to do while that six-month-old is nursing.

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Rigid Heddle Weaving #3

I taught my 8-year-old how to spin yarn with a drop spindle. She fell in love with the process and quickly used up the 8oz of corriedale that I gave her, so we dyed it together, and I got her set up on my rigid heddle loom to weave with the yarn she made.

However, after all the stress of what happened to our cat, I commandeered her project — I needed something more potent than crochet for stress relief, and weaving really hits the spot for me.

The thick-thin texture of the yarn my daughter spun was wonderful to work with, and enormously fun to watch it come together. I definitely need her to spin more yarn for me.

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Petals

Petals from Paradise Fibers

I decided to practice “spinning from the fold” with this one. Here, give me a second, and I’ll find a video tutorial for those who want to know what that means.

And here you go.

So, it took me forever to get this one spun up. I’m pretty heavily into “Five minutes here, five minutes there” territory, so it took at least a month — I can’t remember exactly when I started. Maybe even two or three months. I don’t know. Forever.

Flash, yo.
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Rigid heddle weaving #2

This one is made with pima cotton yarn. Washed and dried, but not ironed. 😀

As I was weaving it, I thought, “These colors would work great for sewing a stuffed animal!” But when I looked up patterns for toys, I realized that it might just be a little too 3D for my brain to wrap itself around …

So maybe I’ll just sew some hems and have hand towels for the kitchen.

byautumnrain.com

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Weaving with handspun yarns

As I’ve been learning how to weave, I very quickly came across the axiom: “THEY say that you can’t weave with handspun yarn, but THEY are wrong.”

And instead of scoffing at THEM for being judgmental and stupid, I was immediately all, “Who are THEY and why do THEY say that?” For some reason, people don’t seem to like me much, lmao.

Through research, I learned the truth. Good for me.

In terms of personal weaving, you have basically three types of looms: Inkle, rigid heddle, and shaft, in order of complexity. All three of them work by putting vertical yarns (called the warp) under tension and weaving back and forth horizontally between them (the weft). With inkle and rigid heddle looms, you can definitely use handspun yarn for both the warp and the weft: if it can be tensioned, it can be used (side note for “sticky” sheds that I’m not getting into right now).

Now, I haven’t used a shaft loom — they are expensive, and I’m just a poor sod surviving in the midst of an economic crash/the end of the world. But, the word on the street is that they are quite harsh on the warp threads.

So, THEY were talking about shaft looms, where you are much more likely to break a warp yarn through friction. Heck, THEY even recommend using a humidifier when working with linen because it’s stronger when wet, and we’re not kidding around here.

And it’s rather disingenuous to act like the advice was intended for rigid heddle looms, purely for the sake of appearing smarter. Just sayin’.

Now we’re all enlightened.

byautumnrain.com