More Finished Stuff

Boy, with a title that enticing, I should get loads of visitors flocking to the blog. Anyway, this time it’s spinning stuff that’s finished. First up is some pretty pretty Carolina Blue yarn.

Project Details

Fiber: This is a merino tencel 50/50 blend, purchased from Yarn Chef.  The color name was “Whisp of Clouds” but it is most certainly a Carolina blue. I live with a good Carolina boy, and he knows his blue.

Wheel or Spindle? Spun on the Schacht Matchless wheel. I used the high speed whorl and high speed bobbins. I think the ratio setting was 19.5:1. I set the wheel up in double drive.

Style of Spinning: Again, I’d point out that my style is still a little inconsistent. This is mostly an attempt at a short forward draw. It’s a 2-ply.

Yardage/Weight/WPI: I started with 12 oz of fiber, and ended up with 11.88 oz of yarn, or 337 g. It’s about 14-16 WPI (wraps per inch), depending on where I measure, which makes this somewhere between a heavy fingering and a light sport weight. There are about 684 yards.

What I Plan To Make With It: There should be enough of this for a shawl/stole of some sort. It will need to marinate in the stash for a bit first (see last post regarding numerous WIPs/UFOs).

What I Learned: Well. I feel like I’ve finally spun up enough fiber that I can start working more on being consistent. I sat down this past week and started to re-read The Intentional Spinner by Judith MacKenzie McCuin (reviewed here). When I started to learn to spin, every time I talked to more experienced spinners (meaning pretty much everybody but me) I kept hearing “well, Judith says this about that subject”. I read through the book last year, but there is just so much information in it that a brand new spinner can’t really absorb it all at once. I don’t want to just spin and see what I end up with, my goal is to say “I want to spin x type of yarn for a specific project, then figure out how to get there.

I learned with this project that it’s not entirely about the size whorl I use that gets the yarn I want. Typically the extra fast and extra extra fast whorls should get you to thinner and thinner yarn. I need to work more on tweaking the settings of the wheel, and also on my drafting technique to get to that thin yarn. I’m also beginning to discover that I like the Scotch tension set-up a little better than double drive. I set the wheel back up in Scotch drive after I finished this yarn, and I’m finding it much easier to control what I’m making. I also have learned that I need to change the drive band now and then. This should seem obvious, but I changed it out after I finished this, and the wheel is working much better.

The next project (yes, you get a two-for-one!) is spindle spun.

Project Details

Fiber: This is some unknown wool-sparkle blend that I got from one of the vendors at the Whidbey spin-in earlier this year. The sparkle stuff is Firestar or something similar. This color combo of red and vivid purple reminds me of a children’s book, but I can’t remember which one. It had illustrations of fireworks over a city, with big flashes of red and purple. It was one of my favorite kid books when I was a kid. Anybody remember which one I’m talking about? I don’t remember the story either, so I’m really not much help here. I’m in my early 50’s, if that helps anybody place this. I think it had dragons, but I might be making that up.

Wheel or Spindle? Spun and plied on my Bosworth midi spindle.

Style of Spinning: This is a worsted type of spinning, again pretty much like I do on the wheel, just with a drop spindle. This is also a 2-ply.

Yardage/Weight/WPI: I started with about 3 oz of fiber, ended up with 2.66 oz of yarn, or 75.5 g. There are 264 yards here. This is about 18 WPI, so more like a light fingering or heavy lace weight.

What I Plan To Make With It: I think this will make a pretty scarf or neck warmer, something with a lacy pattern.

What I Learned: I can spin a lot more evenly and finely on a spindle than my wheel. I’ve finished yarn on the spindle before, but with the other yarn I’ve done, I’ve chickened out when it came to plying and did it on the wheel. I decided to ply this on the spindle, so it’s the first fully spindle-ized yarn I’ve done (that should be a word!). Here’s how I managed my singles and the plying. I’ve tried a number of ways of getting the singles off the spindle when it’s full, but the easiest I’ve found is to wind it off around a clean tennis ball (no dog drool here!). After I finish spinning all the fiber, I have a bunch of tennis balls with singles wound around them. I made one giant plying ball onto an empty tennis ball, wrapping from two singles-balls at a time, and wrapping neatly and fairly snuggly as I went. Then I just plied from the 2 ply ball back onto the spindle. I tried plying from two separate balls directly back onto the spindle and ended up with a mess.

Reading through that last bit, even I think it doesn’t make much sense the way I’ve described it. The next time I’m ready to ply with the spindle, I’ll take photos and show you what I mean.

Last but not least is another photo that I took yesterday. We’ve had so much rain here in the last few months that I’m getting ready to start shooting holes in my refrigerator from cabin fever. Yesterday we had an almost day-long sunbreak. It was all the way up to the 60’s here, and we had a glorious trip to the farmers’ market to celebrate. Here’s a flower that I snapped.

Of course it rained again all day today.

My sweetie just handed me a martini, so I’m off to help in the kitchen. Until next time…


More Finished Stuff — 15 Comments

  1. I know just what you mean about wanting to plan out the yarn ahead of time, and spin what you need. That’s where I’d like to get, as well (although I suppose practicing would help things along somewhat..).

    The Carolina blue is lovely! 🙂

  2. Judy Jacobs (Ball and Skein) had a tutorial about putting a straw on your spindle shaft for easy removal. Jessalu Spins recently had a tutorial on management of a centerpull ball. For spinning finer on the wheel, increase your takeup tension, but not so hard that you feel you are fighting dragons.

    I tend to agree about scotch vs DD, but many swear by DD for spinning finer. I can’t do it well.

  3. I will sit on the sidelines and simply be amazed at the spinning talents. It is something that I have never aspired to learn and will just admire your FO’s from afar.

    I must admit that I love the Carolina blue but the reds and purples of the second just take my breath away.

    Send the rain to us! It has been raining here but all around us and we could really use it.

    Pass the martini here…it has been a while since I had one and I am actually craving them…must go to the adult beverage store and get the needed ingredients soon…

    I can’t wait to see the rest of the finished spinnings….

  4. I just love all your spinning projects, and specifically all the details about the process. Now that I’m spinning a little more consistently, I probably need to put Judith’s book on my wish list. I’d like to spin for what I want instead of what I get! And for the record, I understood perfectly about your tennis ball plying.

  5. Excuse me, good doctor, but wasn’t it you who told me just a few short months ago, that the rain wasn’t that bad? LOL We’re moving in there in August – it better stop soon!

  6. I really like how the second skein of yarn you spun goes so well with the flower photo. Bravissimo!

  7. Very, very interesting! No doubt I will be paying this post another visit in a month or two when I’m plying my own spindle yarn. And…..perhaps…..I will re-read it in another year when I have a wheel 🙂 Thanks for the in-depth detail!

  8. Your yarn is gorgeous! I especially admire the fact that you can spindle so consistently. Although I’ve pretty much decided spinning’s not for me, the spindle was particularly frustrating!

    And although we’re the same age, I’m no help with the book. My favorite childhood book was Pokey Little Puppy, and there were no fireworks or dragons there!

  9. WOW WOW and WOW. Those yarns are beautiful. I am a spinner that just spins and sees what I get and goes from there, but I do admit that sometimes I have project in mind when I start and hope for the best.

  10. Love the blue & merino tencel is my favorite combination for yarn – soft with a slight sheen – just yummy. The second skein reminds me of Dream in Color’s Starry yarn – very pretty.