- You can knit socks out of any fiber you can spin. That being said, some fibers make for a softer / tougher / longer lasting sock than others. If you're not interested in hand washing your socks, choose a superwash fiber.
- If you want a durable, long lasting sock - it pays to have a little nylon or silk in the mix, or maybe a little mohair. They add strength, and they take dye beautifully.
- You should most definitely spin a worsted yarn. You need a smooth, tightly spun and plied yarn in order to have it hold up under wear.
- The more plies, the better. The more plies you have in your finished yarn, the less stress you place on each individual ply. My personal rule is at least a 3-ply for a pair of handspun socks. If I'm going to go to the trouble of spinning and knitting a pair of socks, I want them to last...and feel good.
- Go up one ratio. If you usually spin at a 5:1 or 6:1 ratio, trying going up one notch on your whorl. You'll get more twist without changing anything else.
- Loosen your brake-band. Try to lighten the take-up so that you have to "give" the fiber to wheel, rather than having it "yank" it out of your hands. This can be a small adjustment with a big impact, as you'll have time to draft out the fibers more evenly
- Compare your yarn. If you haven't spun for socks before, it can be very helpful to take a length of commercial sock yarn and separate the plies so you have something to compare to. Keep this sample near your wheel and compare your singles to one of the plies regularly as you spin. I did this for my first handspun sock yarn, and I ended up with 440 yards of 3-ply!
- Keep notes! I'm a divvy-er...I like to divvy up my little bump of fiber based on how I plan to spin it. For example, for a 3-ply, I'll divide the length of fiber into 3 equal pieces. Then I'll take length #1 and divide it into 3 pieces. I'll take length #2 and divide it into 4 pieces, and length #3 will get left in one piece. Then I pre-draft the heck out of all of them. I bag them up and put notes in there to help me remember what I just did.
Do you have any good spinning tips?
Join the Spin-a-Long, or just chat about spinning in the October House Fiber Arts group on Ravelry.