Thursday, February 2, 2017

Southdown Sock Yarn

Remember that lovely bump of fiber I received in December that was kind of green and kind of gold? It was Southdown top from the Sheepspot Fiber Club.IMG_2199

The Breed School chat convinced me that this fiber was destined to become sock yarn. Back when I was first learning to spin (in 2008), I wanted to be able to make sock yarn. I knew a good sock yarn was made of at least 3 plies, but I couldn’t seem to spin my singles skinny enough to make a sockweight 3-ply. Eventually I gave up. But no more! I think I can do it now. (Practice really does make perfect…)

Even though I spun this worsted-style, with a short forward draw (aka “inchworm”), this braid worked up quickly. I didn’t even pause to get a photo until I was 2/3 done:


Having just read an article about how to make handspun yarn that feels soft and not wiry (which I cannot find now – let me know if you know what I read so I can link to it), I worked hard to spin my singles more loosely than usual. I normally like a pretty tight twist angle, so this was different for me. My goal was to ply more tightly than I had spun the singles (to give the sock yarn strength) – but supposedly this would result in yarn that wasn’t wiry. And it’s not – here is the result:IMG_5407

352 yards in 94 grams. Instead of labelling it and adding it to my mound of handspun yarn, I wound it into a ball and measured WPI (wraps per inch) on my handy tool – I got 14 WPI (assuming I did it right). I think that qualifies as sock yarn, don’t you? Ravelry says 14 WPI = fingering so I’m going with it.IMG_2435crop

It occurred to me that perhaps I was subconsciously trying to replicate the structure of Crazy Zauberball sock yarn. Have you ever worked with it? The twist angle is pretty shallow. Also, it’s a 2-ply yarn. I grabbed some of my latest and compared:FullSizeRender (8)

On top – 14 WPI on my handspun. Next is the 2-ply Zauberball. The bottom strand (next to the ball) is my handspun. I think that angle of twist looks pretty similar, don’t you? AND… I think my handspun might actually be a little finer!IMG_5409crop

I know the color on these photos is all over the place – but the yarn also looks quite different depending on time of day and indoor/outdoor light. Outdoors, it definitely looks like 1970s Harvest Gold. But inside, the greens really emerge. It’s quite captivating.

Since this is already wound into a ball, I’m going to put it in queue to become socks sooner rather than later. I’m anxious to see how it will wear. My next decision will be whether to do a plain vanilla sock, or something with a bit of pattern. Maybe a rib variation or something with a waffle weave look.


  1. Looks like a great angle of twist to me! (Keep in mind, I have no idea what that really means.) I am fascinated by the color changes and will be anxious to see it in socks.

  2. I am spinning my southdown for socks as well, however, I am only half way done! But, that looks so beautiful Janelle! Well done!