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.

Wash Day

WashDayI love wash days around here. It’s so colorful. Several of these skeins have been sitting around, waiting for their turn in the bath.

I have a new strategy for setting the twist. I squeeze the water out of the skein with my hands but I don’t spin the water out nor roll it between towels. I just put it on the hanger and let the weight of the water to weigh the skein. I have found that this does a great job of removing any kinks without losing the liveliness/bounce of the yarn since the weight (water) is removed as the skein dries.

Of course, this works better during the summer than it does in winter.  However, I have rigged up a second shower rod in the guest bath centered over the tub and a few inches from the ceiling. This allows items to drip dry into the tub without messy water everywhere.

SkeinsHere they are, all dry and put away. Pretty, aren’t they? From top to bottom:

  • Rainbow Farms Pygora: Loch Ness (50/50 Pygora/Cormo), Seattle (60/35/5 Pygora, Merino, Silk). 4.23 oz, 512 yds, 2 ply. Spun and plied on Tina II.
  • BFL (purchased at Whidbey Island Spin In, can’t find label): one skein more blue, one more minty green. 462 yds (6.03 oz) and 522 yds (6.32 oz) respectively. Spun on Matchless, plied on mSpinner.
  • The Wacky Windmill: Gloomy Day, Superwash Wool (feels like merino). 4.26 oz, 270 yds. Spun and plied on Matchless.
  • Fibermorphosis: Superwash Merino. 11.11 oz, 1,456 yds, 3 ply. Spun on Matchless, plied on mSpinner.

And More Silk

While digging around in an old WIP basket, I came across this spool of spun silk. This must have been spun on a wheel some time back. Why? It just doesn’t have the same amount of twist that I put in when spinning on a drop spindle.

There’s about 1.5 oz of silk on that spool. Based on the colors, I am guessing that it is Chasing Rainbows Bombyx.

These will be going back through the spinning wheel again to add more twist. The question is do I ply it or do I leave it as singles for weft. Plying will definitely be more versatile but more work before it can be used.

And no, I have not reached the end of my silk spinning obsession.


I have been spinning on a drop spindle for so long that I’ve forgotten how much I enjoy spinning on a wheel.