Friday, May 30, 2014

Cakes of sock yarn

Mostly, spinning in May was about 10,000 yards of 5,600 worsted singles and then plying up couple of hanks of  5-ply, and making up 5 hanks of  6-strand cabled "sock yarn" @ ~ 1,600 ypp  from 2-ply commercial warp yarn.

The  handspun singles were on little bobbins, each holding just over 100 yards.  Thus, 2 hanks of  gansey yarn frees up a whole boot box of  little yarn storage bobbins -- leaving almost a boot box of little spinning bobbins, each with about 100 yards of single on it. Making gansey yarn is about bringing order to chaos.

For the sock yarn, I go from a neat cone to a sweater box full of yarn cakes.  Then, the trick is to turn the yarn cakes into sweater.

Kit for Sheringham gansey: 2,600 yd of 6-strand cable at 1,600 ypp, 5 x 8" and 5 x 14" stainless steel DPN in size UK 15 with crochet hook. I will use a wide Durham style knitting sheath with a 1.65 mm needle adapter. Note that this sizing is a bit different from what is in the modern charts.  These needles and sheath have become my default knitting tools for this yarn.   At 10 spi, it will be a soft, warm, durable, elastic sweater, but NOT weatherproof. (This yarn is magical. It sucks the light right out of a room. Thus,I expect it is very good to wear while sleeping.)  The cable is a little bulkier than 3-ply. For ordinary 3-ply/ 1,600 ypp,  I drop down to  UK 16.  For straight 4-ply, I would stay stay with the UK 15 needles.  There has been enough swatching and sampling to drive my wife crazy.

This will be a soft fabric. Could I knit it without a knitting sheath?  Sure, it would just take me longer and the tension would not be as even.  The needles are fairly blunt, so a leather knitting belt would also work, allowing similar fast knitting and even tension.  

Again, these are all commercial needles and I have used fine emery to 'break" the polish just behind the tip for faster and easier knitting.


Anonymous said...

Not experienced enough to understand - is it fancy stitches slip too far back on slick needles when you work them? I know I need rough dpn's but it is because I'm not very good at keeping stitches on them yet...?

Aaron said...

Nobody needs "rough" needle tips.

Some commercial needles have highly polished tips. These work well for plain knitting, but make decreases and some fancy stitches difficult. The yarn loop slips off as you try to pull the yarn loop through the working stitche(s).

I "break" the polish with very fine emery paper or crocus cloth. The tip remains smoother than aluminium or wood or bamboo. If you can see the scratches in the polish with your bare eye, the scratches are way too big.

I buff with green compound - it looks polished, but is not a mirror finish. It feels very smooth, but not slippery.

So, what I am looking for is a friction surface that is not the mirror finish of polished stainless steel, but which is not as rough as aluminium.

I want a needle shaft that is smoother than aluminium or wood. However, very slippery needle shafts allow needles to fall out of the knitting. Everything is a compromise.