About this blog space

This blog space is a place for me to primarily put all my wool gatherings, adventures, experiments. I am now a mum of two astounding daughters, and I used to be a DIY musician and co-ran a tiny independent label (Slampt), so this punk can-do attitude plus feminist analysis and Art school experience somehow informs my wool work! I am also deeply moved by GREEN, trees, weather, colour combinations in nature, and texture. I aim to source wool from round the corner or at the very least UK grown and processed, and to create no toxic waste. This means I get to see sheep as often as I can, sometimes at wool fests.
I am on Ravelry and Etsy as FatHenWildWool and Facebook as Rachel Holborow.

Monday, 9 April 2012

socks improv:spinning, knitting, dyeing : Design and recipe....

Please do forgive my pale wintery legs. Photos were taken in feb and there was snow hanging about still...
Loved dyeing, spinning and knitting these socks, it was an education and an adventure. Some of the dyeing was done by Myheartexposed (really bright green and orange) onto BFL. Some of the dyeing was done by me using the artisanthreads natural dye kit i got in the UK Spinners Secret Santa swap. Some of the dyeing is just from my stash of eco dyed fibres.

I wanted to have paler aswell as intense colours. Interestingly, although I find the intense areas of colour with blends and specks of brightness in them really beautiful, the pale areas set them off nicely.
 Most of the socks are 2 ply, but some of the more intense colours are actually two singles knitted together. I carefully chose which sections of yarn I wanted next to each other, some places fading more subtly and others suddenly leaping to darker areas. I swapped yarns often, and sometimes spun up something particular for a specific area as I went along.

Design notes: I added a bit more twist to the yarn, to help it wear better. I used mostly shetland (including some moorit) with some BFL and some random blends that had wool in. (in fact, an area of yarn across the widest part of the foot had lots of silk in, and so didn't stretch as much as the surrounding wool. It's relaxed a little now, but was a shade too tight at the start of the sock's useful career..) Some of the yarn is a variably dyed singles of shetland plied with a plain moorit. Some is various blends of colours and fibres, plied together randomly.
Sock design: Well I started with on sock in the middle of the foot! (with a provisional cast on..) Then as I liked what I was doing I added a toe and then knitted back up from where I had begun to the heel....The other sock I started with a provisional cast on at the base of the toes.(Casting on half the number of stitches that would surround the foot (swatch it ,baby! to work it out using stitch counting AND multiplication...)
 The toes and heels are wrapped short rows.
 I had some fun and designed in a vertical twist of one ssk yo every 2 rows, that moved one stitch to the left as I went along. This twist starts at the far left of each sock on the foot's bridge, and twists all the way round: accross the top of the foot, around the back of the heel up to the front of the shin.
Then I started a very stretchy twisted rib, knitting into the back of both the K1 and P1. I cast off with a very stretchy cast off, called "invisible bind off", which uses a blunt needle ( or if you are me, and can't find your bn, using a normal big needle, eye first) I had to follow the instructions for this for most of the cast off, but it works great, and makes the rib lovely and stretchy....


  1. These are great, just saw the prtoject over on ravelry - somehow have missed posts in blog reader despite being a followe (probably just me though!).

    Love the dyeing and range of colours.

    1. Thank you! They are really bearing fruit now the colder months are kicking in, although I was tempted to wear them a few times with sandals in the summer!