Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's been - One Week since you looked at me.

That was kind of a long break. Things got away from me a little.

Actually I was busy. See?

Fern is coming along beautifully. I thought this would take me forever, but no - the end is nearly in sight. I'm 3/4 done the first sleeve.

The ends will take me a fair few days to weave in, though.


I finished spinning the purple top, and ended up with two bobbins of nearly the same size. I let them rest for a couple of days, during which The Intentional Spinner arrived, and I got to read all about plying.

Judith tells me that you should rewind your bobbins before plying - that it evens out the twist and makes for a smoother finished yarn. Yes'm, boss, I said, and, not having a bobbin winder, spooled it onto my ball winder over a TP core to keep the centre from twisting inward.

It turns out Judith was right - I could feel the twist running up and down the length of the single "like water", as she promised. The singles were much more even afterwards. And if you're going to try this, you get the best results with a long distance between the lazy kate and the winding device - I placed mine about seven or eight feet apart.

I popped the two balls of singles onto the lazy kate, and started plying. HORRIBLE MESS. The TP core wouldn't spin properly on the shaft of the kate, so the singles started slipping off the edge of the ball, and snarling themselves around it. Then they'd break, or too many strands would slip off at once and they'd become hopelessly tangled in plybacks. I had to break out quite a few sections of singles, and couldn't seem to get them to splice together properly. I got very frustrated.

When I say I got very frustrated, I mean I almost went off in an apoplexy.

I put the balls of singles into two separate bowls, and let them roll around while I plied. Still not an ideal solution - I think I'll be hunting around for a bobbin winder.

I started out by adding approximately the same amount of twist as I had put into the singles - did this for about 25 meters before I tried hanging a loop, and realised I was putting in about twice as many twists as I should be.

I ended up putting in four foot-beats per arms' length of yarn, then two to reel it onto the bobbin. That seemed to work out well, and before long (actually it was exactly the length of Batman Begins) it was all done.

I skeined it

and it's soaking now.

Until it's dry and swatched, I won't know if it's at all useful or successful. I can confidently say, though, that I spun this too hard. Being a novice, I did what felt right. This turned out, on further research, to be the "worsted draw"...easy to spin, but man does it kill all the softness in the yarn. Live and learn, though - I'll be working on my woollen draw for the next project, the Romney.


Renee said...

OHHH---It's the sweater I LOVE!! Even the name---Fern is delightful! BEAUTIFUL job Shannon!Can't wait to see the finished product. So happy to see and hear all your bonding moments with Marianne :)


Yes, a beautiful yarn! I usually add one and a half to twice the draw when I ply yarns.

I am a crazy-worsted spinner and invariably spin my yarn tight. For socks from any sheep, this is perfect and any yarn from made of angora, it works, too.

Good Job!

Alison said...

Loving it, loving it, loving it! How wondrous do those singles look, wound onto a tp-centred ball!

Hard spun, worsted 2-ply will make an awesome lace shawl, you know. Lots of crispness.

Gwen said...

ah. Lovely to see you again, my dear.

kate said...

That song will be in my head all night now, thank you so very much.

On a positive note - yay spun yarn and yay Fern!!

Dave Hingsburger said...

oooh, we've been waiting for our first glimpse of Fern ... Ruby wears your grey sweater constantly ... she love's it ... I love being able to give her something hand made. it's beautiful, again.

lizbon said...

Fern is beautiful, yarn is beautiful, you are beautiful. I am headachey from a rage overdose, so am totally down with your apoplexy.

Annalea said...

Even if it's wiry, it's still beautiful. Maybe you could knit some purple chain mail? ;o)

I think you might be surprised with how much it softens after washing. Or not. I have some beautiful Romney wire, myself. Romney is lovely lovely lovely to spin, and easy to spin to much. lol

I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

Denise said...

Both the sweater and the yarn look lovely!

You might discover that the yarn softens a bit after washing and drying, but a crisp hand in a finished silk blend yarn may also soften after knitting. Either way, I'm sure it will be wonderful knitted up.

Rona said...

You go girl!Look at fern coming along so beautifully! your spinning look wonderful as well...I would like to think that many people out there would be very happy to be producing yarn like you have here :)

Dave Hingsburger said...

by the by, I did get the barenaked ladies reference ...

Dave Hingsburger said...

I popped the two balls of singles onto the lazy kate, and started plying.

Is this spinning porn because the image in my head is ... odd.

mel said...

I've read this post at least twice so far,it keeps getting away from me and I keep coming back to it! That bit about rewinding the yarn before plying - wow, that makes so much sense! And your yarn looks really lovely, I am so impressed :) Yay handspun!