Sunday, July 02, 2006

Now I really am thinking about writing a book

Any input would be appreciated. It seems to me that there is a place for a sock book about handspinning and using handspun yarns. The "Twisted Sisters" is great but it's mostly dyeing and a generic sock pattern or two. They don't go into detail about Navajo plying or wraps per inch, etc.

What if I started with spinning the yarns, different ways, ideal sock yarns, things like that. Then my basic pattern would be a toe-up sock, short row or not, where you determine gauge as you go along. Handspun yarn is hard to tell. Sometimes my yarns are more worsted and my gauge is very tiny when I thought I spun something about sport weight. Sometimes they fluff up more than the wraps per inch would indicate. Yes, I know, swatching is golden. But socks are a pain to swatch for, IMO. Do I do a tiny tube? Do I knit back and forth? If I start a sock from the top without a swatch, I can't even measure gauge till ribbing plus 2" has already been knit.

The thing about handspun, to me, is it has life to it that commercial yarns do not. It may be the bounce, it may be the sheen, it may be something unmeasurable, but it has something. Something that makes it special and compelling to work with. But you never quite know what you've got till you've knit it up. This is one of the things I like about spinning. I like the surprises. How will the fleece feel or look when it's washed? How will the dye run turn out? What spinning technique will work best? How will the yarn look? How will it knit up as socks or something else? The constant stream of surprises makes me happy.

Anyway, you could cast on the toe (two ways) then measure gauge to know how many stitches you really want. I could talk about negative ease, lack of same in fair-isle, intarsia in the round, texture patterns, mosaic patterns, lace patterns, patterns that make self striping yarns more interesting. Spinning self striping yarns (not dyeing them later).

These are the things that interest me, that keep me up at night thinking, how could I do that? What keeps you up at night?

Thinking, thinking...

Happy spinning and Tour de Fleece!


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