I finished spinning the SkyWool! It started as the bounciest Merino top I’ve ever spun.
I spun it quite finely (spun S or clockwise), hoping for a fingering weight yarn. I wanted to make a 3-ply yarn, but I didn’t want to divide the roving in 3 pieces and risk wasting some of my fiber, so I spun the merino from end to end and then spun some natural coloured BFL to go with it. I plied from both ends of the merino, with the BFL as my 3rd ply (plied Z or counterclockwise). About 2/3 of the way through plying I ran out of BFL (I talked more about this here). Oops.
So I spun some more of the BFL and finished my plying. I wasn’t quite happy with how the yarn looked, though. You can see in the picture above how loose the plying is, and I desperately wanted a yarn as bouncy as the Merino Top was. So I decided to run it though my spinning wheel again to add more twist. I am so glad I did this because now I love how the yarn looks!
Technically the yarn is overplied: it tries to twist on itself when hanging, even after a wash. But I don’t care. I have 290 yds of beautiful blue fingering weight yarn!
I hoped to show you a finished skein of yarn today, but I overestimated the length of my 3rd ply.
Maybe I should start at the beginning.
I bought this Merino Top on a trip to see my family. I love how it looks like the sky. It reminds me of the wallpaper in Toy Story, and thus, of my childhood.
I started spinning it around the same time I started making gnomes. Bigols was so excited about it! I wanted to make a 3-ply yarn, but I didn’t want to divide the roving in 3 pieces and risk wasting some of my precious fiber (This is the trap I always fall into. I need to start realizing that it is just wool and there will always be more). I decided to spin all the blue as one yarn, then spin some undyed BFL separately. I would cake the blue singles and spin both ends together with the BFL to make a 3 ply. This would also stretch the yardage I would get from my “SkyWool.”
On Sunday I finished spinning the blue. Happy day! I immediately started on the BFL and hurt my wrist by spinning too much. Oops.
Over the last few days I’ve worked on the BFL a little bit at a time. Last night I thought that maybe I had enough.
The yarn is plying up quite nicely. I want it to be quite plump, so after I finish plying I may run it through my wheel again to add a little more twist.
Last October I went to SAFF. I plan to go again this year, but I figure I should at least try to use up the spinning fiber I bought there last year.
So far I’m at spinning project 2/3 (this was the first project using the yellow fiber): I’m spinning the grey carbonized bamboo at the bottom of the picture. I’m used to spinning wool (or even silk), so this bamboo feels decidedly not natural.
This is extruded bamboo, which is similar to Rayon (but rayon is made with wood). The fiber has a bit of a powdery feel to it, which I assume is from the carbonization process. It is super soft, though, and it will be great for the neck part of my True Brit cowl.
I don’t know if I will finish the red silk fiber before this year’s SAFF though. The yellow silk was a 4 month slog and I just don’t know if I have it in me to do it again. Is there a way to spin silk quickly?
This is an incredible 545 yds of fingering weight singles. I wrote more in detail about the construction here. I couldn’t be more pleased with how this yarn came out, and I’m very pleasantly surprised about the amount of yardage!
Next up is a batch of Carbonized Bamboo top that I bought last year at SAFF. And yes, it feels as odd as it sounds.
The other day I mentioned that I was practicing spinning fat singles in preparation for a special project. I’ve been working on that project, and I am delighted with my progress!
It all started a few months ago when I ordered some fiber for my sisters to learn how to spin. I couldn’t just order something for them and nothing for me, so I got this. Since the Tour de France just started and I am participating in the similar (but less athletic) Tour de Fleece (this article is from last year), it seemed like the perfect time to use it up (also before it got sucked into deep stash). This is the first time I have really taken the time to plan a skein. First I laid out my fiber. The colours are even more vibrant in real life: yellow, orange, red, and purple (I promise it’s not really black. My apartment just has bad lighting.)
I separated the colours, fluffed up the ends, and pulled off a handful of each colour.
You see, I had this brilliant idea to tie all the colours together. Each handful was further separated into 3 pieces and paired with the other 3 colours (So the yellow section had bits of orange, red, and purple; the orange section had yellow, red, and purple; the red section had yellow, orange, and purple; and the purple section had yellow, orange, and red bits). I further divided these sections into several pieces and incorporated them into my yarn at random intervals. It’s hard to see while still on the bobbin, but they are there, and I can’t wait to see how the yarn turns out!
Are you spinning in the Tour de Fleece? What are you working on?
Also, today is your last chance to get 20% off my newest pattern, the Raindrops and Wildflowers Cowl with the coupon code BEATRIX. I bet this would be glorious in handspun!
Sometimes I need a break from big projects like blankets and shawls, and even socks (socks take me a while to complete, so they count as big projects). In those times I like to cast on something small and manageable, something that I can see clear progress on in a matter of hours.
This washcloth worked up super quickly. I love the size of it, the look of it, and the ease of it. I used leftovers of Peaches and Creme and US 8 5.0 mm needles.
This yarn is a practice skein (the fiber is undyed Southdown wool), an etude in preparation for a symphony. It is a singles yarn, which is why it looks kinky. When you first start spinning you are trying to spin a finer and finer yarn. To the point where it becomes very difficult to spin a thick singles. In order to practice thick singles, teachers suggest that you spin an intentionally slubby yarn…which I don’t particularly love. I was prepared to do what needed to be done, though, for my symphony, but I was pleasantly surprised when I (fairly easily) started spinning thick singles. Tadah!
It has been almost a year since I bought my spinning wheel. In that time I have spun many skeins and learned a lot. Last week I tried something new.
In my spinning so far I have only used Combed Top (This is where the fibers are combed so they lay parallel to each other). Top is very easy to find commercially and comes in many colours and fibers. When I bought my spinning wheel I bought the previous owner’s fiber with it – including 10 little tiny batts (A batt is where the fibers are carded on a drum carder where the fibers are not parallel. It is a very airy preparation).
I set out to spin these tiny batts woolen (it’s a spinning term that means you don’t micromanage how your yarn comes out), but the fiber had a bit of the original grease still left in it, which made it a bit tacky and hard to draft. After fighting with it for a while I reverted back to my normal worsted draft (this is when you do micromanage your yarn), and from there it was smooth sailing.
I ended up unintentionally spinning the singles Z (counterclockwise) and plying S (clockwise). Normally I do it the other way. I attenuated the batts from either end so they looked like large rolags to maximize the squishy airiness of my yarn.