Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Month: July 2004 Page 1 of 2

Spinning Thick ‘n Thin

07-bvi.jpgSigh. It was tough coming back from vacation. This was our home away from home for 9 glorious days: Sailing Vessel Pink Panther LS chartered from Sunsails, out of Tortolla, British Virgin Islands. Wish I was still back there: sun, tropical breezes, beautiful sailing weather, sandy beaches, wonderful snorkeling, and lobster BBQ on the beach…

Okay, enough of wishful thinking and back to spinning, as the entry title suggests.

Thank you, Amy for your pictorial of how you prep and spin your thick and spin. Believe it or not, I do split my rovings and pre-draft. But, that’s about all we did in common, and where I go wrong (in terms of making thick and thin yarn).


While I was pre-drafting this beautiful hand-painted roving from Paradise Fibers, I realized that, while I’ve always split and predrafted the roving, I don’t always make them into consistent sizes. So, you say, shouldn’t you still get thick and thin? Wouldn’t the thick and thin spots be more exaggerated? If one were to take my statement at face value, that would be so. But, I get the fiber into such a state that it can be drafted again easily, while spinning. Yes, I continue to draft while I spin, so that I get a nice even yarn.

So, following Amy’s advice, I tried really, really hard not to draft again while spinning the pre-drafted roving. But, I keep catching myself drafting more. But I like the results so far.


It’s more DK weight than worsted, but it’s a good first attempt.

I had a little problem with this wool because it’s superwash merino. I don’t know what possessed me to buy this, except that I possibly thought that it was the wool/silk blend that I also bought a bump of. The superwash should have made it good sock yarn, but I thought that merino was too soft and wouldn’t wear well for socks. I was also hesitant to turn it into thick and thin singles because I was worried that it would pill or, worse, fall apart, because the superwash wouldn’t allow the wool to lock together when softly spun.

Oh, well, that’s what experimentation is all about, right? I have about 10 oz of this. I should be able to make something out of this yarn. I really love the colors in this colorway.

“Kate” finished

We went to the Lair of the Bear last week and I managed to sit down and finally complete “Kate”. “Kate” is in quotes b/c I was too lazy and cheap to send away to Canada for the pattern. I downloaded the free tank pattern from Phildar’s french website. Never mind that I don’t read french–the schematics seemed clear enough. I picked up 4 skeins of cotton-ease from joann’s on the way home from the doctor one day and cast on.

Casting on was an adventure because I plunged right in without thinking things through. (This will be a recurring theme.) Why have side seams in the 2×2 rib?
Why not just knit in the round? So I added up the stitches for the front and back, subtracted 4 stitches (clever me!) for the seam stitches and then added 4 stitches to make a slightly roomier sweater than the sz 38.

Adding 4 stitches works for the 2×2 rib, but then I encountered trouble making the sweater ribbing at the side symmetrical. Aha! I need to add 4 stitches front and back for a total of 8 stitches. Frog the thing and cast on again.

I knitted the first ball while watching movies with my family. Knitting in semi-darkness is hazardous to your knitting. In the light of morning, the sweater looked really limp and pathetic; it screamed to be knit on smaller needles. A second visit to the frog pond.

So I went down 1 size to #5 needles for the ribbing, #6 needles for the body. Note to self, recheck the gauge and adjust the total number of stitches. But I was in a hurry, having already spend too much time fussing already with the number of stitches.

The pix and the rest of the story of woe will have to wait for another lunch break.


lincoln x corriedale locksIsn’t this pretty? These are the lincoln x corriedale fleeces, all clean and dry. From left to right: natural white; natural white dyed with cutch, using alum mordant; natural dark grey.

combed rovingsWith just the 3 colors, I was able to make these 6 different colors/shades. Of course, I could make an infinite number of shades by blending the light to dark, but this is all I had the patience to do this morning. Clockwise: white, white blended with cutch dyed locks, cutch dyed locks, cutch dyed locks blended with dark grey, dark grey, dark grey blended with white.

spun skeinsThese are the skeins that I spindle spun from the rovings. Same order.

combsThese are the Forsyth mini combs that I used to comb the locks into roving. Nasty looking stuff, huh? I have some new piercings as a result. Yikes.

I really need to learn to use these things better. I had a mini demo/lesson at Black Sheep from the woman that I bought it from, and I also watch Mr. Forsyth do a demo. I have a long way to go before this becomes second nature.

There’s a lot of waste, not because the wool is in bad shape, but because I’m horrible at this combing stuff. I snarled up a lot of the wool.

Since the locks are still in really good shape, I might try using the flicker instead. Also, since I’m not trying to get perfectly blended colors, I should be able to do some rough blending with the flicker and/or while spinning. More experiments. Unfortunately, I’m out of time. I need to get my work projects a little further along before I head out on my vacation, not to mention the packing we still have to do.

At this point, I’m resigned to the fact that there’s no way that I can start the tapestry, let alone finish it, before vacation, I think I will just put the whole thing on hold until after my Navajo weaving class at the end of the month. I’m also worried that the warp yarn that I spun won’t be strong enough. I’ll check with Hannelore before I set myself up for disapointment.

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