Hybrid Vigour: Continuing Adventures in Socks

Some of you may remember the Great Handspun Sock Blowout of this past winter, in which my two pairs of handspun socks developed a cascade of failure points, resisting all attempts to save them from an untimely demise. At the time, I decided to rethink how I was spinning sock yarn, and relegated the yarn already spun to other projects. The one exception — a cabled Romney yarn — repaid my trust by becoming a sturdy (if somewhat fuzzy) pair of warm, comfortable, and durable socks. (So far. Knock on wood. With fingers crossed.)

These are exactly as cozy as they look.
These are exactly as cozy as they look.

(If you’re interested, the pattern is Kalajoki by Tiina Seppälä. It’s top-down, which I don’t normally do, but I fell in love with the waves down the leg and the rather ingenious anatomical toe.)

There was one skein from the old method that, try as I might, I just couldn’t picture as anything but socks. It was this Shetland, from fibre by Northbound Knitting, in the colourway Band of Horses.

Well hellooooooo, my pretty.
Well hellooooooo, my pretty.

The fibre was a gift from my lovely friend Karin, and in my mind it had been socks from the moment I laid eyes on it. I really, really wanted these socks to last, though, so I decided on a belt and braces approach. In addition to my overall plan of being nicer to my socks, I spun up some reinforcing thread of kid mohair for the heels, since that was the location of about 90% of previous sock failure incidents.

So soft. Hopefully also so strong.
So soft. Hopefully also so strong.

Now, this was my first time spinning straight mohair, and I kind of wish I’d added more twist in the plying. (I was a bit worried about ending up with something akin to wire, which I’ve heard can happen.) However, mohair is often referred to as nature’s nylon, so hopefully it will still keep those heels from coming apart before their time.

Okay, I started the gusset increases late, which meant the heel shaping started later than I'd like. Feh. I'll figure it out on the next sock. I save perfection for the work knitting.
Now that’s a sturdy heel. Or at least, that’s the hope.

I discovered about halfway through the shaping that I had started the gusset increases late, which meant the heel shaping doesn’t extend as far into the sole as I’d like, especially as the mohair carry-along makes for some fabulously squishy padding. Feh. I’ll figure it out on the next sock. Perfectionism is for work knitting; socks are for fun.

And this time, I’ll be nice to the socks. Promise.

2 thoughts on “Hybrid Vigour: Continuing Adventures in Socks

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