Colour play 2: The Great Shetland Experiment

Being stage 2 of ongoing experiments in becoming the boss of colour in spinning.

The Cormo spinning progresses apace, but as I mentioned last time, it’s going to take a while, and I have the attention span of a hummingbird on speed. Enter some English Shetland wool from Into the Whirled: one multicoloured braid

A little out of my comfort zone, but hey, green & purple — what can go wrong?

and a green coordinate, in case I needed to tone things down

Now *this* is within my comfort zone.

These, I knew, would become socks. Yes, Shetland felts, but it’s sturdy, and this particular fibre, while not exactly soft, was not Dreaded Grandma Sweater scratchy. (Shetland’s softness is all over the map: those scratchy sweaters you got as a kid? Probably made of Shetland. At the other end? The famous Shetland lace wedding ring shawls.) I was so sure I was going to like the results from plying these braids together that I had a plan: one skein with 2 plies of Gwydir (the multicolour) and one of green; one skein with one ply Gwydir, 2 plies green. Just to be on the safe side, I spun up a couple of samples and knit them up:

Left: 2-ply, one of each. Right: 3-ply, two of Gwydir and one of green.

Err…not quite what I’d envisioned. Even at 2:1 Gwydir:green, the colours looked muddier than I wanted. The texture of the 3-ply — spun long draw from the fold and done as a true 3-ply (rather than chain plied) — was exactly what I was shooting for, so I’d keep that part, but perhaps the braids would be better spun separately. I’d had enough of sampling (see above re: attention span), so just dove in and did it. Here’s what I ended up with:

234 yds, 11 wpi, 3.15 oz/90g; plus 74 yds of 2-ply, 16 wpi.
244 yds, 11wpi, 3.75 oz/106g

I decided to do narrow stripes on the socks, so the green would still tone down the multi without drowning it. I think it’s turning out pretty well:

Stripes within stripes, even.

For those who are wondering, I’m completely winging it on this sock. It’s a basic toe-up, with the top done in 3×1 rib, and the heel shaping adapted from Cat Bordhi’s Darjeeling.

6 Comments

  1. Kristin

    Love the stripes within stripes.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, they have a 70s-but-not-eyeball-searing look that I’m kind of grooving on.

      1. Kristin

        I aim to achieve that look in the way I dress. That, or flat-out sexy.

  2. Elizabeth, I LOVE these socks. And I love seeing the spinning experimentation, too. I need to share some of my blending efforts–I’ve been trying to figure out ways to mix in my undyed Cormo/Corriedale fiber with different hand-dyed fiber using different plying techniques, and I think I want to try some fiber blending using handcards before spinning..

  3. […] without the blending/barberpoling that happens with a true 2- or 3-ply (which you can see in The Great Shetland Experiment). Unless you want to futz about with breaking and rejoining singles to match up the colours, the […]

  4. […] first handspun socks, the product of the Great Shetland Experiment, are experiencing severe structural failure. Barely past their first birthday, these beloved […]

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