Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Other Spinning

There is still a wheel involved, except it is attached to my Ashford Traditional spinning wheel.  Back in February, I finally started spinning my Black Currant 80% Merino 20% Silk Top.  I can only reliably spin laceweight, so there we were.

Merino silk top spinning in process

It took FOREVER to spin the first 2 ounces.  There were long period of non-spinning, and, I am not the world's fastest spinner.  I have a choice of speed or consistency.

Merino silk top spinning in process

A month or so ago, I finally started on the last 2 ounces.  Slow progress.  Never to be finished.  BUT!  A Craftsy spinning class was getting a lot of positive chatter on Ravelry.  It would teach me how to spin worsted to long-draw (woolen).

My spinning is mostly self-taught, with a little help from one or two friends, reading, and watching YouTube videos.

The first lesson was on the short forward draw, which wasn't what I was doing.  I switched to that, and immediately got a LOT faster.  I even moved to a smaller whorl on my flyer (for cyclists, it is EXACTLY the same as moving to a smaller cog on the rear cluster.  Lots more twist.) Not only that, but I also gained vocabulary.  A week later, spinning for a few hours in the evenings, I finally finished.

I let the singles rest overnight before I started plying.  I also bought a plying class, but haven't started it.

Six treadles seemed about right.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I plyed over three evenings, eventually finishing off one bobbin and completely filling the bobbin on the wheel.  Hmm.  Maybe not totally consistent.

merino silk top - laceweight

In a fit of organization, I had weighed my empty bobbins, so I knew how much fiber was on them.  Wound off half the remaining singles onto another bobbin, and continued plying onto another bobbin.

Merino-silk top laceweight

I skeined the second bobbin ; counting the number of turns on the niddy noddy gave me 238 yards.  After letting it sit overnight on the niddy noddy (twisted flat to help relax the twist) and removing the skein, I started skeining that really full bobbin.  About 90 minutes later (Call the Midwife on the tv), I was done.  Counting those turns revealed another 933 yards, so about 1200 yards of two ply laceweight altogether.  I know there will be less after finishing, but that is still way more than I need for the planned project.

I did worry a bit about the wrong amount of plying twist, but letting the singles and then the plyed yarn rest between each stage seems to have taken care of it.  The yarn appears balanced.

Finishing - a soak in gentle wash detergent, a soak in vinegar water, a soak in plain water, squeezing the water out by rolling up in a towel, some snapping, and hanging to dry.

Merino Silk laceweight 1100-1200 yards

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