Thursday, May 27, 2010

OOPS another foible

Lesson for today: don't store washed fleece in plastic bags.

I've been spending far more time carding these days than I have actually spinning which may or may not be normal when preparing your own fleece. But imagine my surprise when my longest locks which I kept in a big plastic bag just seemed to disintigrate in my hands as I teased them apart! How heartbreaking is that?!

A few of them that still had a bit of lanonin in them were ok and I got to discover how fun the long draw is! I LOVE IT! It seemed so easy! It was a little more difficult with 'drier' fleece though. I wonder why that is?

I spun what I had carded (didn't take too long) then decided to work on my next shawl design. I was swatching away quite happily experimenting with different decreases for my "oak leaf & acorn" stitch pattern. Well the acorn turned out great - but there was just something wrong with the oak leaf. Somehow, experimenting with the decreases I guess, I couldn't believe my eyes... it looked like... ... a penis! (can I say that on here?) How could that be!?

and sitting next to the acorn clinched it. Well I never laughed so hard in my life! I can't make a shawl with those on it... I wanted to represent a mighty tree, not a manly one! My DH is still shaking his head. Oh well, back to the drawing board! (I'll spare you the picture) :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Skeins of Yarn!

I know it's not perfect, but I'm completely charmed by the magic of spinning yarn on my wheel.

I got a lot of valuable tips from other spinners and have learned a lot. Mostly that trying to spin fleece that's full of slubs is not the best to learn with! I had to pick them out as I went along and yes, quite a few got by me and got plied in with the finished yarn.

I found out that they can be combed out before spinning, and I'm going to try carding some then combing it. I'm almost through the batch of fleece I carded and drafted out ahead of time.

Plying the yarn took courage on my own here, but again I got tips from experienced spinners (yay!) and I credit them with the yarn I ended up with as a newby spinner. The single yarn is spun with a Z-twist, which means spinning the wheel clockwise. This yarn will have extra energy in this twist and will try to ply back on itself if you release tension on it.

Because of this, if you tried to knit with this unplied yarn as is, your knitting project would be skewed. This excess twist can be used to your advantage in plying.

To ply, two ends of your single yarns are attached to the leader and this time, turn the wheel counter-clockwise. This will ply the yarn, and depending on how many times you treadle it will release this excess Z-twist and 'balance' the yarn. Voila!

Here are the first skeins from my spinning wheel

They aren't perfect skeins but I'm absolutely thrilled! I was aiming for a sport weight and that's mostly what I have. You can see some thicker parts and slubs that got past me but I look at it this way... I'll probably never be able to make yarn this way again - right? It should make some funky hats and things and I do plan to dye these too. I just have to find out how. For now, I'm happily practicing away, totally hooked now making a few more singles for plying just like these ones.