Monday, 28 November 2011

Spinning Onwards

The spinning continues (as does the Christmas knitting, but that isn't yet bloggable)...

First off the spindle was a braid of merino / silk blend dyed by Old Maiden Aunt in the colourway 'teal deer'.

I spun this on my heavy (45g) bottom-whorl spindle as a light fingering weight single, then tried something new with the plying. Instead of chain plying directly from one spindle to another, I chained the single into a plying ball. This took ages to do (and much help from the Resident Radiologist), but it did allow me to stop and start with the plying much more easily than if I'd been plying directly.
The finished yarn was a light DK weight and I got about 150m in the skein.

Next up was a rainbow felting sample pack from Diva Design studios in Moray. The fibre wasn't listed, but a bit of detective work makes me think it was mostly merino with an occasional bit of silk blended in.

I spun this on a much lighter modular spindle, taking the single off on three bobbins, then chain plying directly from the bobbins onto my heavy spindle, joining the single as I went.

I've ended up with 200m of light fingering weight 3 ply in a lovely rainbow.

On reflection, I think that a plying ball is really useful for making a two ply, or a three ply from individual singles, but the work involved in putting a chained three ply onto the ball is probably not worth any time and convenience saved during plying.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

From (almost) first principles

I've been spinning for a while now... I first bought a drop spindle at Woolfest in 2008, then went up to Twist Fibre Craft Studio in Newburgh to have a beginners lesson. My spinning got steadily better and I produced some yarns that I was fairly proud of, but I never used them.

At Woolfest 2009, I bought another spindle so I could ply from the spindle carrying the single, onto the second spindle and a bag of beautiful 80% merino / 20% silk roving. I spun half of it up almost immediately and then never got going the other half (my intention was to ply as a 2-ply).

Roll forward a couple of years (and one small child) and The Yarn Cake in Glasgow started a Spin Sunday on the first Sunday of the month. This coincided nicely with my fingers starting to get itchy for spinning again, so I hunted down the half bag of roving and got going again.


This time, I was bitten thoroughly by the bug and within a few days, I'd finished spinning the second half of the fibre. I changed my mind about plying as a 2 ply, as I prefer the roundness of a 3 ply, so I chain plied both of my singles and ended up with two lovely skeins of approximately fingering weight yarn.



I immediately knitted the longer skein up into a scarf for my daughter.


It's a plain linen-stitch scarf using surprisingly large needles (5.5mm) as linen stitch is quite dense.
 The fabric is wonderfully flat and has a good drape and really does look woven.


The other skein is likely to become a pair of mittens, or maybe a hat.