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Fractal in the Willows

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen these socks come about in just two weeks.

Handspun toe-up socks

Do you know the feeling when a yarn starts calling your name and you can't shut it off? This handspun skein of sock yarn had been softly whispering to me for weeks. Over one weekend it got louder and louder. When I could no longer ignore it I just had to cast on a pair of socks.

Three-ply handspun sock yarn in Willow and Hazel

I won the fiber in June 2016 in Elfenwolle's Instagram raffle. It was a very soft blend of 67% merino, 33% nylon in a beautiful blue, green, and brown colorway called 'Willow and Hazel'. The blend was just ideal for socks. The more plies the yarn has, the better it holds up as socks. Since I rarely spin three-ply, I wanted to try it with this project. And I also wanted to try fractal spinning: I split the braid into three lengths (for three plies/bobbins), then divided those vertically in 2, 4, and 8 strips, respectively.

Elfenwolle Merino/Nylon Sock Blend in Willow and Hazel

The socks started out as plain vanilla toe-up socks on 64 sts and 2.5 mm needles. The foot is stockinette with gusset increases and a Revisited Widdershins heel. I thought of doing just a plain stockinette leg with ribbing just on top, then changed my mind to two-by-two ribbing... and then things spiraled out of control.

Handspun toe-up socks

The front leg has one cable twist every 10 rows going from the inside edge outwards — and a mirror image on the other leg. Once I reached the other end of the front needle, I finished the leg with an inch or so of ribbing, then bound off using the Russian Bind-off.

Cable detail

Salama the cat

The cat's opinion on sock photography: yawn.


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Fractal in the Willows

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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