The Red and The Black

The Red and The Black
Started: 3/8/06
Finished: 4/15/06
Pattern: standard toe up socks
Yarn: handdyed, handspun Romney 
Needles: #4
Notes: This was a fun project that started with, "What if..." What if I dyed roving so that the colors gradually shifted from red to white to black, with pinks and greys in between? How would it spin up? 

The dyeing didn't go quite as expected, but the results were cool nonetheless. I split the dyed roving into lengths that repeated the entire color cycle. I divided the roving into two piles, and further divided into strips; the width of each strip determined how wide the stripes ended up. When spinning, I began each bobbin at the same roving end so that the final yarns would begin with the same color sequence. I then navajo plied to preserve the colors (see finished skeins). You can see how the striping plays out here:

The Red and The Black

The striping obscured patterning, or patterning obscured the striping, so in the end I knit a plain sock with short row heels:

The Red and The Black - heel 2

I love how the heel turned out!

The only cheat I made was in finishing the top of the second sock. To make the sock end in black and match the length of sock one, I skipped over a color sequence and continued in black.

This is, I think, my third project knit with handspun, and it was a good learning experience. There were times the yarn felt a little rough, most likely from overtwist. There were other times it felt quite nice. The balance between tighter twist for sock durability and looser twist for softness -- still figuring out where that is. I'm sure it's a long-term spinning life lesson. There wasn't a wide variance in thickness, at least, not enough to show in the knit socks. The socks themselves are thicker than other socks I've knit, and quite sturdy as a 3-ply, so no wearing until the Fall. I usually wear loose clog-style shoes, so the bulk shouldn't matter.

I love these socks. I love the striping, and the fact that I made them stripe. I love that I dyed, spun and knit them. I love the boldness of the colors and the symmetrical heels and the almost matching stripes. Can you tell my feet are happy?

The Red and The Black