More Yarn

This post has been a long time coming. The yarn was plied months ago on the Lendrum as I mentioned, but all was not happy. I decided to use the jumbo flyer and plying head. It was sooooooo slow and my plying was less than even. On the bobbin, it looked like I had a several sections of really underplied yarn mixed in with “normal” looking yarn.

I was so disgusted I left the yarn on the bobbin for months, trying decide my next steps.

I finally decided to wind the yarn off and see what I had. I thought that I could put it on the squirrel cage reel and see if a few turns on that might help even out the twist a bit.

merino silk

Guess what? It looked pretty good in skein form! There were no obvious underplied sections. Some sections might have been a little overplied. No matter. I think it will even out a bit more once it hits it’s bath. It’s not my best work, but it’s not horrible either.

Here’s a tip that I learned from Stephenie Gaustad a few years ago…

  • Tie the beginning and the end of your yarn to each other so that the skein is essentially a giant single loop of yarn (but wound in skein form).
  • If the beginning and end are not close to each other on the skein winder, tie on a piece of scrap yarn as extender.

This allows the twist to flow freely throughout the length of the yarn.

Next, tie lots and lots of loose figure eights around your skein to keep them under control. The key here is loose. You don’t want to bind the skein in anyway — remember you want the twist to move freely throughout.

Yarn Stats:

  • 8 oz of Merino/Silk from RedFish Dyeworks
  • 1,662 yards of 2 ply yarn (approx. 3,300 ypp)

The yarn in fiber form and as singles. What was disappointing is that it lost the fresh out of indigo bath look (chartreuse, green, and blue) and is mostly green. I’ll have to see what to pair the yarn with to bring that original impression back.

Singles Done

IndigoMerinoSilkSingles
Finished with my singles. 4 oz on each bobbin, spun on my Matchless. I think I will ply on my Lendrum. I haven’t used my Lendrum in a while. The color is truer in the top bobbin.

Le Tour

I had forgotten completely about Le Tour until I saw what a few of my friends are spinning for Le Tour. I’ve decided to unofficially enter the race — just follow along and spin a little bit everyday. What am I spinning now?

IndigoMerinoSilkRedFish

Merino/Silk from RedFish Dyeworks. The colors remind me of fabric that has just been pulled out of an indigo bath and started the magic of changing from chartreuse to green to blue.

I’m also halfway through the annual Index Card A Day challenge. You can see some of my sketches on the right margin, near the bottom. This year, I’ve decided to just focus on my sketches and continue to improve my skills instead of trying to expand out into multimedia. I’m just not very good with stamping, gluing, taping. That’s just not where my interests lay. I want to sketch and watercolor. Since the index cards make very disappointing watercolor base, I have been primarily focused on ink and coloring pencils.

Tasty Morsels

Every once in a while, you get a craving for a little something tasty. You don’t want that entire box of chocolates but you don’t have the will power to open the box and just take one. After all, once the box is open, who will notice just another one? Next thing you know, you didn’t stop until the entire box of chocolates is gone.

No, I don’t speak from personal experience. This is just what I’ve heard from others. Why do you ask?

Sea Glass Skein

Sometimes it’s like that with spinning as well. You just want a small little something to carry along with you. But spinning a 4-8 oz braid of fiber is anything but instant gratification.

PigTailsBosworthEnter Greenwood Fiberworks‘ Pigtails — approximately half ounce (label says 0.4-0.6 oz) of wool, beautifully dyed.

Just enough to take to a meeting and spin and ply the entire amount on a single spindle.

I don’t think these are part of her regular stock. I picked these up at CNCH a few years ago. CNCH 2014, perhaps? She had a small rack of these tasty little morsels. It was just too tempting.

For the first one, I split it in half and spun each half separately. I wound them off onto individual weaving bobbins before winding them together onto a 3rd bobbin for plying. I think because of how fresh the singles were, I had a difficult time plying them from their own bobbins directly. Too many pigtails.

PigTailsNiddyI think for the next one, I will spin it as a continuous strand and wind it into a center pull ball before plying. I will still split it in half, but reverse the direction on the second half so the colors will still mostly line up.

I pulled out my Bosworth Mini for this little project. It’s strange. I’ve always remembered these as fast little spindles with long spin, but that wasn’t my experience this time around. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been mostly spinning silk on my Goldings. There is nothing like those little Goldings for speed!

TravelPouch

Speaking of on the go spinning, I’ve upgraded my little quart sized zip lock bag to this pouch. It’s a plastic (no more spilled water, tea, wine!) expandable zippered pouch that I picked up at Daiso. I use a similar one to carry my travel watercolor kit.

Rookie Mistakes

Plying Mistake
Right: Z spun, Z plied Left: S plied

Seriously? 3 posts in one week after such a long hiatus? I don’t mean to shock you into next year. I have a huge backlog of “stuff” that I haven’t had time to blog about.

What’s this post about? Oh, yes. Rookie Mistakes.

After all these years, I still make them. My only excuse for this one is that I have been so wrung out on the work project that I only do things that require zero brain cells when I’m home and not working. When you couple that with using the miniSpinner for the first time in well over a year, you end up with really stupid mistakes. What kind of mistakes? The one where you forget to check which direction the miniSpinner is set to spin before you start plying 12 oz of yarn.

Even worse, I was so disappointed with the plied yarn because it looked so flat and lifeless that I abandoned it there on the spool rack while I pouted. It took me a FULL month to figure out what was wrong. Why so long? It wasn’t until I started to skein it up for Wash Day that I saw why the yarn didn’t look/feel right. It was then that I realized that I had plied it in the wrong direction. Duh!

The singles are Z spun. In the picture on the right, the right yarn was plied Z instead of S (left yarn). Look how much it fluffed up after I ran it back through the miniSpinner, in the correct direction this time. This is before it had a chance to relax in a hot bath.

The picture is of the same length of yarn. What you don’t see is my fingers pinching the yarn just off the bottom of the picture. The top right is as it comes off of the old bobbin, leading to the pinch point. The left yarn is as it heads back into the miniSpinner (top left) after plying it in the opposite direction.

SkeinsThe finished yarn (2nd and 3rd skein from the top of the picture to the left) has a much livelier appearance and softer hand.

Aaah. Much better.

What will this yarn become when it grows up? It will be another fitted vest for layering under winter exercise jackets. I plan to knit narrow stripes with the 2 colors. We will see. The air is crisp now during my morning and evening bicycle commute. I will need something soon.

As for the remaining skeins in this picture, the second from the bottom has already been knitted into the BSJ. That takes care of 3 out of the 5. The pygora blend (top in blue) will be a scarf/shawl. The lavender 3-ply (bottom) will be a sweater/vest of some sort. I haven’t decided what yet. With 1,400 yards, I should be able to do something with it.