Monday, September 15, 2008

Fibre Freakin'

At the time of my last post on Wednesday, I mentioned that I was finishing off the pink silk/wool skein, and that I would include pictures here, so for continuities sake, here they are:

On the niddy noddy:

(Isn't my "posing" here artistic???)

Off the niddy noddy, before setting the spin:

And the finished skein:

I'm not sure why, but the pink wool didn't turn out as "fluffy" as the blue:

I reckon I might have overspun it, but it didn't seem overspun when I took it off the niddy noddy. Well, no more so than the blue anyway. Perhaps I accidently spun it thinner. I'm really not a skilled enough spinner yet to figure it out, but I'm not displeased with it, in the end, so I'll leave it at that.

I could not WAIT to get at this spinning business again, so as soon as I took the pink silk/wool off of the bobbins, I pulled out all of my tops, rovings and other spinnable matter, and decided that next, I was going to try and spin this batt (is batt the right word??) of Merino/Corridale carded wool slivers that I bought at the Adelaide Show from SACSOS:

I bought this because, mainly, of the gorgeous brown colour, which, of course, most of the pictures do not do justice to. I need it for a special project which will remain nameless. I had already bought other homespun from Walking Wheel Studios in Adelaide to make this project with. I wanted to spin this up for two reasons: a.) I didn't have enough bought stuff and b.) I thought it would be nice to include some of my own handspun in this project.

But (and this is a very BIG "but") I needed to come as close to the size/gauge of the stuff I had already bought. Now lets face it, I just haven't tweaked my spinning enough to be able to do such a thing, but I had 500 grams of the stuff, so I thought "What the hell, I'll try until I get it right...or don't". So on Wednesday evening, I began spinning the brown.

The handspun that I have bought is a fluffy and large, and knits up at about a heavy aran or light bulky guage, almost the same as a twelve ply. So I set about trying to spin this up a bit on the thicker side of things, best seen in this photo:

On a bit of a housekeeping note, I can be alot more critical of other's housekeeping than I am my own. It's a character defect of mine. Anyway, I had been looking a spinning videos on YouTube, watching other's spin, and had been just a bit critical of some of the spinners floors. I'm thinking, "Good lord gal, do you not OWN a vacuum cleaner?". But then, after being brave enough to actually DO a bit of spinning, I decided I was being far far too critical. Fluff and stuff goes everywhere, no matter how careful you are. So, having learned a bit, I threw an old sheet down on the floor before attempting these extra messy slivers.

It does help, although, being winter here now, I'm always in socks and tend to track the fluff all over the house anyway.

Now spinning this stuff was something of a chore after the very long fibres of silk and English Leichester. The fibres seemed really really short, and drafting was definately a chore in comparison. But I perservered and came up with a bobbin full by bedtime Wednesday.

My goal was to get two bobbins full by the time I had to go back to work Thursday night. I reckoned (correctly it turns out) that it would be Sunday morning, before my next scheduled night off, before I was able to ply it. Which is, of course, fine anyway. The experts (and the books) say to leave the fresh spun single on a bobbin at least overnight, so that the twist in the single can sort of relax and naturally spread itself around a bit. In my incredibly limited experience, I've found that singles get better and better with age, and prefer to wait at least a couple of days before plying.

I also got a long awaited package in the mail Thursday from my mom. I had ordered some knit picks harmony needles in 100cm lengths, to do 2 socks at the same time using the magic loop method. I had ordered 6 of them, in all of the sock type sizes. I tried to get them from Australia, but couldn't find any in anything over 80cm in length, so I had to go abroad, and as KP won't ship overseas, I had to call upon my dear mom to help me out and forward them on to me, with, of course, a hundred or so packs of Koolaid.

I went to work Thursday night with ideas and colours swimming in my head. I had gotten it into my mind that I was going to dye some wool on Friday morning. I had bought those beautiful multicolored painted rovings at the Adelaide show, and I really wanted to try spinning with all the different colors, but I didn't want to practice on the good stuff. I took my "Twisted Sister's Sock Workbook" to work with me Thursday night, which is really not a sock book at all. It's more about spinning with colours, and tried to get a few ideas.

In the end, it was Friday morning, I was dead tired, and sincerely wanting to dye some wool so that, ideally, it would be dry and ready to spin on my next day off, Sunday.

I pulled out of my stash about 200grams of white corridale I had purchased from Walking Wheel studios and went to work. I really just wanted to mix it up a bit, do a dozen or so colors on the roving and see what happened next.

It was the first time I had tried out my new Bra's off lingerie bag that I got from a pharmacy here doing a charitable promotion for breast cancer. I put the roving in that and dunked it for a soak.

That worked out pretty well, but I think next time I will give it a longer soak, as it was rather a tight roving, and what with the bag and all, I'm not exactly sure it was as wet thru as I would have liked.

The dyeing itself went pretty well, but when I tried to get such a huge length in the pot to microwave it, I wound up getting some colors in places I had never intended:

I let it hang, and on Sunday there were still areas on it that just wasn't quite dry. It was a fine day, so I hung it out on the veranda to finish drying:

Sometimes small mistakes and colour blotches can lead to pretty results:

But since it wasn't dry on Sunday morning, I haven't quite got to spinning it yet.

I plyed the brown singles on Sunday morning, just as I had intended to do. I wound up with a really full bobbin and a nearly full bobbin of plyed yarn, which I wound onto the niddy noddy.

Here's one skein, straight off the niddy noddy:

And here it is, the finished yarn, after washing, setting and drying:

Sorry for the blurry photo, but wonder of wonders, it turned out just the size I wanted it to be on the first go! Hard to imagine, and I can't really write that down to anything but dumb luck. But luck or not, I got exactly what I wanted.

Both finished skeins:

Since the rovings I had dyed weren't dry yet, I then decided to spin up the black and white Border Leichester that I bought from Jane at Moseley Park. It felt so very good in my hands, and was so much easier to spin after working all those hours on the brown carded Merino/Corridale slivers. I spun it in a sort of varigated pattern, black for awhile, then white for awhile. On the first one, I did more black than white, and on the second, more white than black, thinking that would look cool plyed together. The only trouble is, I have one bobbin full, and the other only about 3/4 full, so they won't ply evenly together.

I'm not sure what I will do about that yet, but they are now resting comfortably, relaxing until whenever I figure out what I'm going to do with them. Navaho plying perhaps? I haven't tried that yet. It might be about time I did.

I finished them in what seemed no time flat, and since I had had such success with my first "batch" of brown, I decided to start another. So Sunday afternoon and evening, I managed two more bobbins worth of brown:'

I'm stoked! I'm just so into this spinning thing right now it's not funny. Or maybe it is! In any event, I only have 6 bobbins, and four of them are full right now. I need at least 1 of the 2 left to ply on, so that leaves me only one bobbin until I ply up the stuff I have already spun. I'm trying to let them "relax" until at least Wednesday, so I guess it's back to knitting for the next couple of days.

Or I could spin on that last available bobbin if the itch to spin gets too uncomfortable, but that's like using my last lifeline. A scary thought indeed.


woolie wombat said...

I'd try Navajo Buttonbrite, its easy enough if you know how to crochet you will be able to Navajo, the Yarn wench has a good tutorial on it which is lovely and clear, but really if I can do it I am certain you will be able to!

good luck and your spinning looks fantastic

regards wooliewombat

Rosie said...

You might be wanting to think about getting yourself a Jumbo Set...

It has a Jumbo flyer and a Jumbo bobbin - holds two of the regular ones...

Just thinking out loud here...