Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The skeins go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah...

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I've been spinning off-and-on, and I've got four new skeins to show you, so here goes....

Skein I: Natural and Plant-Dyed Coopworth

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This is natural light brown Coopworth from Botanical Shades (no website) and 3 colors of plant-dyed Coopworth batts from Woollies of Shirkshire Farm (no website). The dark blue was dyed with indigo (over brown wool), the gray blue was dyed with both black walnut and indigo, and the orange was dyed with cosmos. I bought all four of these at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair.

Here they are with Bug, for scale:


My husband picked the colors (which I love, too), and commissioned the yarn to be made for a hat, etc. for himself : )

At his direction, I spun striped singles, with one bobbin generally having longer color-runs than the other:


Then I plied the bobbins together to make a barber-pole striped 2-ply of approximately 287 yards (175 g) of DK weight (11 wpi) yarn. I think I could have plied it a little more tightly, but it came out pretty groovy, no?


I've got a bunch of the various fibers left over, so I'm sure I will be doing some fun stuff with them in future, too.

Skein II: Natural Coopworth

At the Connecticut Sheep, Wool, and Fiber Festival, I bought 4 ounces of natural dark brown Coopworth roving from Purple Fleece.


I started spinning it at the festival (we took our wheels) but only finished it up recently. I forgot to take a picture of the singles, but here it is in its final state: about 258 yards of sport to heavy fingering weight (13 wpi) 2-ply yarn.


It's nice and squishy, and I like the little flecks of lighter colored wool that are scattered throughout - it's almost a bit tweedy.


Skein III: Hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester

On June 7th, the program for the Nutmeg Spinner's Guild meeting was "One Top Five Ways" with Margaret Heathman. We used 4 oz. of gorgeous blue-faced leicester dyed by Kris of The Painted Sheep. Here's the roving I chose:


We pulled the roving in half and then stripped one half into 8 lengthwise pieces. We only made it through 4 of the 5 ways (I think the fifth method may have been a tweedy looking 3-ply, but I'm not sure...) during the guild meeting:

Method 1: One piece was spun into singles, wound into a center-pull ball, and plied from the inside and outside of the ball to make a 2-ply with a subtle barber-pole, blended effect. I purposefully made pretty fat singles, as I was (needlessly) worried I would run out of time if I spun too finely, so you may notice that this yarn is quite a bit heavier weight than the others. I should also mention that plying freshly spun singles from a center pull ball is a somewhat frustrating experience - I'm sure this would go more smoothly if the singles were left to rest for a while on the bobbin first : )

Method 2: Each of the next two pieces was spun into singles on its own bobbin, then these were plied together onto a third bobbin. We had been instructed to choose two pieces of roving that were as similar to one another as possible and to spin them exactly alike (!), so that theoretically, when plied, the colors in the two plies would line up perfectly along the entire length of the yarn ; ) Margaret assured us that she only knew one person in the world (not herself) who could actually spin evenly enough to pull this off convincingly. I'm sure if I was trying to do this with a greater quantity of roving, the colors would get pretty out of sync eventually (which would be fine with me), but it did do a fairly good job at keeping the colors separated (even with my somewhat uneven singles) for this small amount.

Method 3: I spun up another piece of the roving and Navajo plied it, which does a nice job of keeping the colors separated. You can modify the size of your crochet-chain loops on the fly while plying to minimize color overlap at the color changes if you want to, but I don't mind a bit of mixing.

Here are the results of the first three methods (1, 2, 3, from left to right - click for bigger):


Method 4: I spun up the remaining roving using the 4th method - making low-twist singles. Since there's no plying involved, your color changes are preserved in all their original glory. I started this at the guild meeting and finished it later at home.


I ended up with about 400 yards (90 g) of light fingering weight (16 wpi) singles. I think I could have added a little more twist for increased stability, but I'm happy with the light, airy yarn that resulted.


Bug likes it, too (he thinks it makes an excellent pillow):


Skein IV: Hand-dyed Merino

Another dyer whose work I love is Kristen of All Spun Up.

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Violet blues and browns - yummy! (...and there was a bonus - Kristin had this listed as 4 ounces, but, according to my scale, it was actually 4.3!)


This is the first dyed roving I've spun that had significant white areas in it. I ended up with 733 yards (4.3 ounces/122 g) of heavy lace weight (18 wpi) 2-ply. I really like how it turned out : )

Here are some close-ups for your viewing pleasure:


I really need to start knitting-up some of these yarns I'm spinning!

Knitting Update:

Speaking of knitting, I'm currently working on two projects. First, I'm making a series of swatches of their Undulating Waves Scarf for Schaefer Yarn Company using Heather in the India-invoking colorway "Indira Ghandi."


Here's one of the (unblocked) swatches:


My understanding is that these will be used as store samples. Each one is the width of the actual scarf and 3 chart repeats in length (they suggest 19 repeats for a full scarf).

The other project I'm working on is Laminaria. I'm using Malabrigo Lace (so soft!) in the color "Vaa" to give it a proper seaweedy look.



I took these photos a while ago, so I'm considerably further along now.

I hope you all are having a great summer!