As part of the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle trend I’m currently on – mainly due to being so overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” I have – I have roughly planned a series of posts linking to that theme. They may be posted daily or even weekly but each one will highlight where I have either Reduced my stash, Reused or Recycled something already lurking in this household. There will be no set time or day to post them – I don’t need that kind of pressure. Instead they will happen when the mood strikes, the stars align or I have a flash of writing inspiration.
I desperately need to Reduce my stash of spinning wool. I have Alpaca – in white, brown and black. Sheep’s wool – Perendale, Corriedale, English Leicester, and an unknown brown sheep’s wool. There are bags of wool tops that have been commercially processed, Mohair fibre from goats and even some Llama – just a small bag. In all enough that I could spin 8 hours a day for an entire year and possibly still not get through it all. I have promised myself that I will not buy any more fibre until I have used all that I have…..which quite frankly seems a fairly daunting task. However like the old saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” I’m doing just that.
In the months leading up to Christmas I would hide away in my sewing room and prepare and spin the lovely Perendale Wool that I had. The plan was to spin enough that I could knit a pair of socks for Ashley. Something hard wearing but comfortable. They couldn’t be prickly but they did have to last a workday on his feet and in his boots. By the way I only wear hand knitted socks now. My feet sweat and rub something horrible in the hot weather and ache in the cold, but with hand knitted wool socks I haven’t had any problems and my feet don’t seem to hurt as much as the end of the day either. I did experiment with both commercial socks and hand knitted one week when I was working long hours with Ashley – and the hand knitted were absolutely the best to wear. I’m hoping Ashley finds them as good as I did.
I decided to spin three bobbins of fine yarn and ply them together to make one thicker yarn in the hope that it would prove more durable. It certainly meant a lot of preparing the fleece and lots more spinning but I did watch some fabulous movies while I was working….lol. In the end I had 200 grams of yarn that was the best I had spun for a long time and hoped it was enough to knit the socks….and so I started knitting.
The yarn knitted up at 5 stitches to one inch on 3.25 mm needles which is roughly Double Knitting Yarn. I used slightly smaller needles as I wanted it to be a fairly dense pair of socks. It was fabulous to knit with and the socks came together beautifully. I used the directions from here which are definitely my “go to” instructions when I want socks in anything other than sock yarn. This is the second pair I have knit from this pattern and the instructions work brilliantly. When it came to the toes I added some sewing thread from about half way down the foot as I wanted extra durability. Ashley’s socks all wear on the toes and ball of the foot first and I thought that the sewing thread might help with wear. Grandma used to knit in sewing thread as well when she made socks and Mum always said it helped, so I figured there was no harm in experimenting.
I even managed to see in the New Year as I was near the end of the socks and didn’t want to stop. Which just goes to show how good these socks were to knit as I haven’t seen in the New Year for many years.
New Years Day the socks were finished – after I had had some sleep – and presented to Ashley. He put them on. I took photos and he left them on – for the rest of the day – which, to me, means they must have been a success as there is no way he will wear itchy socks.
I didn’t use all the wool but don’t have enough to knit another pair of socks so it means more spinning which is a good thing. The only down side is the Perendale fleece I bought weighed 2 kg and I have used up only about half on these socks and other things. Best get out the spinning wheel again I feel.
If you want more information on Perendale sheep have a look here. I also found that Perendale were listed on the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia as being under investigation. Hopefully, since the report I found was dated 2004, the breed is increasing in numbers.