Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spinning Affairs

I've been whipping yarns off the wheel! I sneak into my corner when I can and work a little more.
In the midst of the lavender batts spinning I snuck in some different fibre. 
This was pin-drafted rambouillet-targhee cross. It was certainly a very different fibre and prep from what I am used to.

It spun into an incredibly lofty yarn with a supported long draw. It took a while to figure out how best to spin it and draft it.  In the end I have 3 skeins totalling just under 300m of thick and thin averaging a DK/light worsted weight.  I'm thinking of doubling it up for a bulky cowl.

Then I moved on to my first beaded art yarn.
Oh boy, I did not love the beading part.  Spinning the BFL locks was a lot of fun and I look forward to finishing the bag of locks - but I won't be beading that yarn.
I now have 67m of beaded yarn to play with.

It took a while to finish plying this yarn because I ran out of beads, decided to measure out how much more beaded thread I  needed, then add more beads to the thread, then untangle the thread... but it's done now.

It wasn't long before more fibre found its way onto a bobbin. I was looking to make a particular yarn for a Starry project. I thought it was time to spin my 8oz of silver alpaca-silk.

But the alpaca-silk insisted on being spun much finer than I need for this project. This will be glorious lace yarn. When the single broke I took the opportunity to switch projects on the wheel and transferred the fine singles to a chopstick for later.

NOW I have this amazing BFL from Waterloo Wools on the wheel.  It's the closest colourway I had in my stash for the intended project. I'll simply amend my project to be stars over the ocean!
The colourway is Rocky Shores. I almost spun the first half of the 4oz braid in less than 24h. Yep, I'll be knitting in no time!

Less than 3 days after starting I have about 280m of fingering weight yarn (in 2 skeins)

2 bobbins of singles

First bobbin of plied yarn

Skein 1 drying indoors

Skein 2 drying outside in the wind

Skein 2
Checking colours together before washing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


When I ordered my new spindles, I threw in a batt order - you know, to cushion the tools better. It was described as "lavender batts" - not much to go on, but pretty enough to make me want it. The original etsy listing had a bit more detail concerning fibre contents, but when the seller kindly combined the order into a custom package and added the batts, that information was not included. I didn't notice/care until I opened the batts and discovered how different the fibres are. I am approaching it as a lovely mystery.

After consulting with some fellow spinners on Ravelry, I decided to start spinning this from pseudo-rolags.  My 5yo (now 6yo) helped roll the first batt's rolags, but they didn't spin up as smoothly as I hoped. I used the technique of gripping the fibre between two sticks to roll it (as described in the Spin Off article I'd read on the technique), but I think I made them too tight. And too fat.

Went back to Ravelry forums to see what others have said about making good p-rolags and realized the tight/fat problem.  For the second batt I've rolled them with less fibre, by hand, for an airier p-rolag.  This batt seemed to have more of the dark fibre so I made sure to spread it out. Sections of my first yarn are just dark fibres and I want it blended better - without carding/blending. Those dark sections will be balanced later with plying - or so I trust. 

These p-rolags drafted easier than the first batch, but there are still large sections of dark fibre because the dark and the light do not draft together well being such divergent lengths and texture.

It seems the first batt was significantly more than the second. Especially considering I tended to have thicker spun sections in the first.
 It's probably just as well the second batt wasn't as big. I don't think I was going to fit much more on the bobbin.  As it was, I was having a difficult time finding the right balance of take-up as the bobbin filled.

As I was dragging (carrying) a couple of dining room chairs into my tea/office/spinning room I decided I really need a niddy-noddy.  Taking a spindle full of yarn over to chairs is much easier than taking chairs to the wheel.  Finished yarn is about 137m of DKish 2-ply yarn (as I suspected the weight would be).

More yarn - the second bobbin of 2ply.

I was initially intending a 3-ply yarn with the 3 batts, but I'm not sure 3ply would add any significant benefits to the final yarn, for my purposes, and I could get more yardage from a 2ply. So, that's what I did.

In total, 267m of BFL-merino yarn.

I'm trying out a new design with it, but I'm thinking I don't have enough and will have to rethink its usage.
What I do know is that it's lovely to knit with.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spinner's control card

I couldn't be bothered to purchase a spinner's control card. Mostly I refuse to pay Canada Post's exorbitant shipping rates if I don't have to. So I made my own. I'd still like to laminate it (I actually printed four on a sheet) and I know there are self-laminating kits at the dollar store. For now the vellum paper will have to do alone. Or maybe I'll "laminate" it in some clear shipping tape.

Perhaps you are wondering how I know what thickness to make the lines.
Here's what I did.
I opened Word.
I drew a series of lines with different point values starting with .5pt, 1pt, 1.5pt, and so forth up to 10pt. I don't think I'll be spinning thicker than that and if I am it will be a funky art yarn and I won't be checking a control card.
Next I measured several of the line thicknesses.  Turns out 10pt is 1/8". At least that's how I measured it. That would mean a 10pt line is 8WPI and a 1pt line is 80WPI. By my measurements.
However, I've just been informed by a techie that 72pts is 1" - thus 1pt would be 72WPI and I need to recalculate. Well, my measurements are pretty close at that range and it's all rather subjective when you're comparing your spinning with a control card anyhow. Heck, WPI is really subjective! I did some rounding/approximating for some of the odd numbers.

I found that the most useful pt widths were:
1pt (80WPI - I'm sticking with my measurements for now)
2pt (40WPI)
2.5pt (32WPI)
3pt (28WPI)
3.5pt (24WPI)
4pt (20WPI)
4.5pt (18WPI)
5pt (16WPI)
6pt (14WPI)
7pt (12 WPI)
8pt (10WPI
9pt (9WPI)
10pt (8WPI)

Now to put it to good use.