SCS+BCS: Combo-Spun Top Socks

Okay you guys. This is the LAST pair of socks knit from the LAST skeins of 2022’s Breed & Colour Study project. (Although not, I’m sure, the last post about them.) I finished them in the first week or so of January, and they are gorgeous.

The above skeins are spun from the below leftover bits of fiber. Full post here. (I did manage not to use the chunk of red; yay!) These yarns are a super-interesting addition to this study, because (1) we get complementary colourways put together in an uneven amount, and (2) we get 1/3 of super-soft, super-springy Targhee added to the toothy, down-like Hill Radnor.

Here are the socks. Combo-plied is on the left; combo-drafted is on the right.

I am in love with this combo-plied sock. Completely smitten. It looks like often, but not always, the two blue colourways rather lined up with each other. Putting each braid into a separate ply means that the red is evenly distributed throughout the sock. The complementary red or orange, whether light or dark, deepens and enriches whatever blue or green hue accompanies it, and watching the colours change is mesmerizing.

For once, the combo-drafted colourway is not my favourite! I still like it. But this is the perfect example of the phenomenon of simultaneous contrast. Your eye wants to see complementary colours, so if you put two almost-complements together, your eye will perceive them as more complementary than they actually are. Let me explain.

In this sock, the red pops in places, because there are places in the yarn where two singles were dominated by red at the same time (unlike in the combo-plied yarn, where that was prevented). Your eye is drawn to that red, and it shifts the blue-green to look more green. Even the super-bright cyan blue that really pops in the blue chain-plied sock looks decidedly greenish!

You could say that’s true of the combo-plied sock as well, that the blue is shifted a bit greener by the presence of the red. But the orange is allowed to dominate much more in places, which shifts things back to blue again. In the combo-drafted sock, the lightest colours are swallowed up and diffused throughout, so they can’t really change the story.

I do very much like the way that the cyan-turned-aqua seems to glow from within the overall tone of the combo-drafted sock. It prevents the whole thing from succumbing to brown or grey, not that I would mind that either. In all, I think mixing these two analogous colourways did not produce total brown or grey, despite having the tiniest dots of colour one could produce without actually carding the colourways together. The blue dominates, but ever-so-slightly.

Did the Targhee make a difference? A bit! These socks are noticeably softer than the other Radnor socks. Will they be more vulnerable to wear? Time will tell! I also added to my usual circumference, making these 68-stitch socks. My sock yarn has gotten so fine at this point that my usual 64-inch circumference is a bit tight on my foot, and I’m having to make many more gusset increases.

Come back tomorrow when I wrap this study up!

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