Sunday, August 15, 2010

Skinny enough?

…so I’m still trying to handspin a true sock yarn.  Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • 3 plies
  • fingering weight
  • some nylon or mohair (aka “nature’s nylon”) content for strength

I’m using the 75/25 BFL (Bluefaced Leicester)/Mohair blend I got in Bedford:IMG_6914

BFL is a longwool breed (the staple length is 5-12”).  Clara Parkes’ The Knitter’s Book of Wool says:

Bluefaced Leicester fiber represents an ideal compromise among longwools: just the right amount of length, a crimp with open but smaller curls, a fine fiber diameter, and a silky demiluster with exquisite drape.  This means you can use Bluefaced Leicester for just about anything, from socks and sweaters to beautifully draping lace shawls.  The fiber also takes dye brilliantly – a good thing, because Bluefaced Leicester yarn has recently become a staple of many handdyers’ yarn offerings. (p.62)

The longer fibers + the addition of mohair should make this yarn super strong, a good thing for socks that have to live inside our humid shoes and endure endless friction.

In order to make a 3-ply fingering weight yarn, one has to spin the singles pretty darn fine.  I’m using the smallest groove on my new whorl for the first time – the ratio is 16:1.  (That means the flyer rotates 16 times for every revolution of the drive wheel.)  Here’s what it looks like on the wheel:IMG_6911 I am being very studious and working from a sample card for this project (the card really is pink).  Here you can see the singles yarn (far right) and what a 2-ply from these singles would look like (created by letting the singles double back on itself – in the middle)).  The green yarn on the left is Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Heather in color Willow, which I had out to swatch for the Treetop Socks I intend to start one of these days.  The green yarn is the size I’m aiming for.IMG_6917 I’m definitely closer than I’ve ever been.  Now I need to spin spin spin to see where this ends up!


  1. Good job on the BFL, BFF! I'm still amazed that human hands can do this sort of thing. I think you're doing an awesome job and can't wait to see the yarn (and socks!) you produce!

  2. might actually make it this time!!! Did you ever hear back from DN about next Saturday???