Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Some recent spinning projects...

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...and a word (well, several) of warning:

Be sure to add enough twist to your singles!
(For an answer to the question "Why do you mention this?" see my note for the last yarn, below.)

First: Thanks so much for all the nice comments about my Printed Silk Cardigan!

So far I'm surviving law school, and finding it pretty darn interesting - which is always good when you decide to devote a good chunk of your life to something :) I spun all three of these yarns BEFORE I started, however. I need to work on "working in" more spinning time here and there, now that I've got so little "free" time on my hands...


Handspun Yarn I: Mermaid

Fiber: Enchanted Knoll Farm Wool/Silk/Recycled sari silk/Angelina Farm-Raised Roving
Stats: 727 yards (74 g), ~25 wpi (lace weight)
Ply: single ply

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Handspun Yarn II: Give Me Roses

Fiber: Enchanted Knoll Farm Cotswold/Merino/Bamboo/Silk/Recycled sari silk/Angelina Farm-Raised Batts
Stats: 483 yards (84 g), ~22 wpi (lace weight)
Ply: 2-ply

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Handspun Yarn III: Artichoke

Fiber: Spunky Eclectic Corriedale/Alpaca Roving, colorway "Lichen"
Stats: 700 yards (109 g), ~20 wpi (lace weight)
Ply: 2-ply

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An, ahem, extended note about this last yarn... which took me a little over 2 months to complete:

I initially spun it thinking I would leave it as a lace weight single. The fiber drafted beautifully, and while spinning I had a few instances of breakage, but nothing to be worried about (I thought). Then I decided it would be a really lovely 2-ply, instead of a single. When I started plying, all hell broke loose (more or less literally).

Every meter or so (sometimes even more frequently) a ply would drift apart, causing me to stop and reattach it. After a while (which actually enveloped a rather large chunk of time), I was extremely frustrated, having made so little progress in the face of serial-breakage. I thought, fine - it doesn't have enough twist in it to ply (you ply in the opposite direction, which removes twist from the singles), it needs to remain a single - so I stopped and tried to wind the singles off onto my niddy noddy. The singles broke again, and again... and again.... So I thought, OK then - I'll just run the singles back through my wheel, adding more twist. More breakage ensued - ack!

This had never happened to me before, and I was suddenly unsure of everything. Was there something wrong with the fiber (which had seemed quite pleasant to work with when I initially spun my singles)? Was it me? At this point the intransigent singles were inhabiting 4 of the 5 bobbins I owned (the two I'd spun the singles on, the plying bobbin, and another regular bobbin from when I'd tried to add more twist to the singles). I was stuck, and I didn't see a way to spin anything else (to renew my spinning confidence) without removing (and thereby destroying) my pretty but non-coherent singles.

I didn't spin for weeks... and weeks.

Finally, desperate to finish my yarn, I decided that my only hope was, indeed, adding more twist to the singles. I approached this cautiously, and with some trial and error, I found that adjusting the intake, treadling more slowly, and watching like a hawk that the tension on the singles coming off my lazy kate and running through my fingers remained consistent, I was able to slowly work through the remaining singles a bobbin at a time with much less frequent breakage.

I was surprised just how much additional twist I needed to add - I had significantly underspun the singles!

Finally, I plied them together (with little incident!), and I'm happy to say, I was able to rescue my yarn (with some wastage, to be sure, but nothing like the total loss I thought I had on my hands at one point).

All I can say is - Phew!

(and... be sure to add enough twist to your singles!!!!!)

9 comments:

SJ said...

Thanks for the cautionary tale! I've had that happen a couple of times, and as a result, I always think I'm putting a little too much twist in my singles.

Love the finished yarns! Those EK batts have such a pretty little bit of sparkle to them.

As far as fitting in more spinning time, have you thought about doing like 10 minutes a day? 10 minutes isn't such a huge chunk of time, but it'd be a relaxing little bit and would let you get some spinning done (albeit more slowly than before).

Rima said...

Havent we been buzy! I especially love the blue and pink, and their "shine".

muchadored said...

Such lovely yarns, but I particularly love the third. It's a shame it was so troublesome, but the end result looks worth the effort! I wonder if part of the problem was the alpaca fiber; I've only tried it once, and found that it required a lot more spin than I usually gave my other spinning fibers. I'm a newbie still, though, so it was also probably a lot of user error on my part.

elizabeth said...

Your yarn is just luscious! I'm particularly impressed with the Enchanted Knoll yarn, I haven't been able to do her batts justice with my spinning! Love your silk cardi too!

Rosina said...

Wonderful looking yarn :) I like the phtographs that really shows the sparkle.

Linda said...

That happened to me a while ago and whilst i was plying!. Your spinning is gorgeous.
I hope law continues to be interesting. It sounds like hard work!

Rachel said...

I know nothing about spinning (I'm trying to keep that at bay telling myself I do not need another hobby when I have no time to do the ones I admit to now!)...but I can see just how beautiful those skeins are! Can't wait to see you knit them up!

Oiyi said...

Gorgeous spinning! I can't believe the last skein gave you so much trouble. But you over came the problems! Way to go!

Lisa said...

lovely yarn and bug makes a great model!!!
miss you:)
lab