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.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

what you can do with sox and chain plying

Been making socks again! "Silver Fox:20 day socks"(yes they did take 20 days to make, including  prep and spinning) for husband's birthday, and "Beltane socks" for me. Used my usual method of knitting socks: from toe up, using provisional cast on at the base of the toes, short rows/ wrapped stitches for the heels and toes. The Silver Fox's have twisted rib in the cuff (knitted and purled into the back of the stitch) with an invisible bind off, which I still have to look at the instructions for everytime I do it, until I get into the swing (about halfway around the sock cuff!)A really stretch cuff was the result. As with the Beltane's, I kept the cuffs chunky just by staying on the same size of needle. The Beltane's have just a standard k1 p1 rib with a standard cast off  too.
So both of these socks were made from a chain plied yarn. I'm so pleased I learned how to do chain plying, I use it alot. It's advantages in these socks are that you can keep different coloured areas of a many coloured singles seperate (if you are using one continuous multiple coloured braid, the colours work very similarly in the yarn to the original beauty of the fibres), and the yarn becomes a nominally 3 ply, making it harder wearing than a 2 ply. Additionally, you get a nice round yarn because of the 3 plies.
The Silver Fox socks are spun entirely from au natural UK wools. From the toe up these are: Black Jacobs, Black Hebredien, Coloured Texel, Oatmeal Blue faced Leicester. I aimed to subtley blend them to get a graduated colour change, which mostly worked ok. You actually can't do this too much! Somehow any "leap" in colour graduation becomes more pronounced when it's spun up into a yarn, so even if it's just a rolag or 2 per shade, really working on those subtle colour blends at the prep stage pays off in the end.
The Beltane socks, above, were spun mostly from 2 lengths of white shetland tops I dyed up with some artisan threads natural dyes I was given in UK Spinners secret santa. I also overdyed some moorit shetland , a tiny bit of tussah silk and some wensleydale, which take up the dye differently to the white shetland, and added these bits in, sometimes blended in, sometimes just spun in as they were. I felt these one's had a kind of Noro-ish look to them, but ofcourse they have the advantage of being 3 ply, and not singles, so they may wear better....


  1. Love the Beltane socks, they look amazing. I love the choppy colours-at-an-angle from the short-row heels, that little wedge of green against spink really pops.

  2. Thanks for the idea of using different wools to make a color gradient sock. I have blended wools by carding together and now have a new idea to try.

  3. Gosh! I've really not blogged for ages, have I? Thank you both for your lovely comments. I do think socks are my favourite things to spin/ knit, because the experiments bear friut so quickly!