Distract-Yarn

Main Entry: dis·trac·tion
Function: noun
a : Diversion of the attention
b : Mental derangement
c : Extreme mental or emotional disturbance; obsession

I realized just now (ok, hey, I’m a late starter) that I often get distracted from knitting by yarn.

(Ha! Just knitting? The rest of my life is rolling about the floor laughing.)

I’ve been known to just walk off from a conversation, and with a dazed face, head unsteadily for the yarn closet. There are days when I don’t even go near my workroom for fear I might spontaneously start spinning, or take another yarn out of the stash. This is not the same distraction as starting another project to avoid a current one. This is about getting my itchy little hands on another yarn (though admittedly, the two sometimes amount to one and the same thing). This is about a trance state that ensues if I let my mind wander even a little in that direction. This is about love.

This month I am excusing it with plans to knit a lot of socks, which we have a constant need of in our home. Through denial, I can justify tearing apart my workroom in a quest to find the next 6 yarns I will use to knit the socks. I can even change my mind from day to day and find another 6 or 7 yarns, as long as I keep knitting those socks. My sock stock is very, very low. As in, there are none on the shelf at the moment. I like to have extras, ready to whip out in an emergency; David is not exactly forthcoming with the information that he needs socks (see Brokebottom Hollow). And I am not always on top of shopping for birthday gifts. Strangely, and fortuitously, I do NOT suffer from second sock syndrome, and this whirlwind of activity WILL result in the sock shelf getting filled.

Anyway, back to the yarn (it always comes back to yarn, doesn’t it?). I realized today that this sock thing is REALLY about playing with yarn and fiber for spinning. Now, I’ve been doing a lot of large-quantity spinning this year. I have spun so many sweater-or-blanket-sized lots of yarn, it isn’t even funny. Like I almost have time to knit that many sweaters and blankets!

Right now, I want to spin a different thing every day or two. I want to get out all the small lots of fiber and make different colors of yarn. It’s definitely a backlash against all the large projects I’ve been making. The other day I took out this blue mix roving that Annette gave me last year:

Blue and purple mix fiber

(And see, I DO still use my sewing machine)

We don’t really know what it is. But it’s pretty, and it’s spinning nicely:

Blue mix fiber on spinning wheel

I’m going to ply it with itself for some of the yarn, and then I thought it would also be excellent if I plied it with a brown for a marled yarn.

This morning I went in the workroom and lined up what I want to work on next. I have some Wensleydale top I bought at Rhinebeck in 2004. This is gorgeous stuff; long, lustrous and a yummy blondy-brown-gray color:

Natural shade Wensleydale fiber

I bought some also the year before that, when I was a new spinner. It really just seemed to spin itself. I had been having a hard time getting a nice sock yarn that was not overspun. When I pulled this off the niddy-noddy, it just spilled from my hands in a straight, lustrous waterfall of yarn, just like Rapunzel’s hair. I’m going to see if it does the same this time; you know how sometimes you remember something as being SO good that it’s doubtful it can be repeated? I’m wondering if that’s the case here.

Wensleydale yarn

And it makes beautiful, long-wearing socks. Oh, and I have the brown Shetland of Beckie’s that I bought over the weekend.

Beckie Brown yarn

Right now, I have it in the bag in the middle of the workroom floor, where I can gaze at it while I spin, knit, or wind.

I also have this:

plumBrown fiber

It’s a mix of brown Icelandic cross with a streak of plum-dyed wool. It’s a lot like the Andes mints or any other of Hollie’s fiber, except it seems a little softer, and when I look close, I can see little multi-color neps amidst the plum. I think this might actually spin up nice. And David likes plum/brown mixes, so it will be good for socks.

I don’t usually challenge myself much in my sock making, but I’m wondering about that. I don’t do toe-up cuz I can never get the bind-off loose enough and still good-looking. I invariably make the cuffs in 2 X 2 rib about 9 inches long and then switch to stockinette for the heal and foot. I do a short-row heel (my fave), and a tapered toe. It’s fast, easy, and I can churn them out quickly. But after yesterday’s post (Brokebottom Hollow), I got thinking. Uh-oh.

I have a lot of books about various ethnic knitting techniques which review culturally-specific heel types, shaping, etc. I also have EZs many books with musings on making better socks. I always said I would try some of these methods in my sock-making, but I never have. I really haven’t done much exploratory knitting this year (I’ve been learning to have a website instead). So, as a consolation, I am thinking about trying some sock stuff I haven’t done before. Like doing EZs socks with the moccasin bottom for my next pair. They are weird-looking, I know, but who’s to say? They might work, and my husband might rest easy just knowing that someone out there thought about replaceable sock bottoms.

Sock Patterns

Bare Naked Wools Yarn

Originally posted by Anne Hanson on March 17th, 2006

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