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I love wearing socks that are knit out of handspun yarn.

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(These are a pair knit out of Pigeonroof Studio merino/nylon in “Mystere”, n-plied.)

This creates a little bit of an issue — I have to spin the yarn, and then I have to knit the socks. And, as someone who is very hard on socks (for some reason, within the last month or so I have basically walked out of multiple pairs of hand knit socks — we are not talking small holes here, these are just heels that completely gave out!), the thought of walking through a pair of handspun, hand knit socks is very tough.

Yes, of course I can be vigilant about darning my socks…. and I think I will, once I learn how. (Note to self: Research different methods of sock darning.)

I decided to see if I can make a sock yarn that would withstand my tough wear. I had some Coopworth fiber from Shepherd’s Hey Farm (Hannah), and I had some Polwarth fiber from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. What if I ply 2 singles spun out of the polwarth with 1 single of the coopworth? Would the single ply of the long wool fiber make an other wise soft yarn stronger? Would it make the overall yarn very “wooly” or would the polwarth make the yarn softer?

I spun both fibers with more twist than I would normally spin these fibers with. I also plied with pretty high twist — to balance the yarn and because I thought this would make for a harder-wearing yarn. This was a little bit tricky, because the polwarth and coopworth were spun with different amounts of twist…but the resulting yarn ended up being balanced, and I thought, looked pretty.

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The grey is the coopworth, undyed, and the blues to yellow is the BMFA polwarth. I was excited to see how this yarn would knit up. And I had just the pattern for it. Cookie A. Sock Club‘s February 2014 pattern called Possibly Maybe.

I skeined the yarn and set off on knitting the socks.

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I cranked away. I had 330 yards of this yarn, and since most of my socks were 300-320 yards… I thought that I had spun enough yarn.

However….

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Oops!

So.. the solution here? I had a few people weigh in. “NEON PINK”!!! Someone said. (I almost did it, too!) “Try to match one of the colors so it will not be so noticeable.” “It won’t show because you can keep your foot in your shoe…”

I decided, since I had a little bit of the polwarth singles left over, that I would ply that with something (unfortunately, I was out of the coopworth fiber!) to make the Toe Yarn.

Luckily, in the fall, I had spun some Wensleydale that had been dyed navy blue. the single was a little bit thicker than the ply of the Coopworth, but I thought that since Wensleydale is a long wool breed, that this would be close enough for the socks.

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The yarn felt similar, but clearly, it was a lot more blue-dominant than the original yarn.

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…But, the socks are done. The yarn, knit up, feels like wool hiking socks. I think that is what I will be using them for. Let the wearing phase of the experimentation begin! I will report back.

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IMG_8883I’ve moaned about how I dislike knitting socks…..many times. It’s really too bad that I love wearing hand knitted socks.

In fact, socks may be my favorite hand knit item to wear, period. So much so that I have looked longingly at those sock knitting machines at fiber festivals (it’s kind of not the same, is it??)

It’s a conundrum.

Enter Cookie A.

When I first joined Ravelry and saw that over 10,000 Monkey socks had been knit (now stands at 16,600 — WOW!), I was stunned. I thought — if there was a sock pattern that would transform me into a sock knitter, this has to be it! — Of course I had to join the fray. It took me a few days to knit the first sock…and then another few months to knit the other.

Then, I managed to knit another pair of her socks, BFF,  in a few weeks.

I am in my second year of The Cookie A Sock Club. Last year, I knit 4 patterns out of the club. This year, I think I may try to knit all 12.

I finished the February twosome a few days after the April pattern came out. I think the trick is to have both pairs off the needles before the next installment comes out….so I’ve got the first pair of the April duo on the needles right now.

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I no longer think too much about whether the second sock will get done.

WHOA.

I think she’s done it. Cookie A. has made me into a sock knitter!!!