Spinning my wheel

It has been a long, dry spinless spell, but I finally got back to my wheel this week.

Actual yarn was produced!

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532 yards total of 2-ply fingering to DK weight.

This is not particularly well spun yarn.  I was working with somewhat matted fiber, and I struggled to remember how to spin consistently, so the single plys were not very even.  And then I switched up plying methods in midskein, so the beginning and the end of the skein look a bit different.  I thought about running it through the wheel again, but I’d already soaked it, and by the time it was dry two days later, I’d moved on.  It isn’t different enough to bother me when I knit with it.

You can see the difference in how tightly the yarn winds on the bobbin in the picture below.  The first bobbin was using double drive and went on quite loosely – the second used Scotch tension, which lets me increase the pull of the yarn onto the bobbin, so it wraps on more tightly and more yarn fits on the bobbin.  Both bobbins have approximately the same yardage.  Now I need to get to the Baby Bear stage.  I’ve got too loosely wound but tightly plyed (bobbin #1) and tightly wound but under plyed (bobbin #2).  I want tightly wound and tightly plyed.

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I love the color – it is polwarth wool and silk that I kettle dyed in a deep blue.  There was a lot of fiber in the pot so it dyed a little unevenly, and the silk and wool took up different amounts of dye.  It creates a heather effect.

Now I’ve started in on this black mystery wool and yellow/peach silk noil fiber.  I need to figure out the right treadle speed and take-up, as its pig-tailing a lot, a sign that I’m feeding it on to the bobbin too quickly or that I’m putting in too much spin.

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I’ll get the hang of this spinning thing again.

Adding to the yarn stash

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve made some progress in moving fiber from the spinning piles to the yarn stash.

First is the Polwarth/silk yarn I finished at the early March finishing weekend, off the bobbin, wet finished, dried and in its final skein.

From this:

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To this:

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Over the last week I also plied and finished this humbug BFL fiber that I dyed back in January.

These:

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Became these:

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This makes 1.6 lbs. spun this year.  My goal is 6 lbs. so I need to pick up the pace a little bit, but my goal is definitely doable.

In knitting news, I’ve also started to work on a new cowl, practicing the two color brioche stitch that my friend taught us.  I started with a scarf, but didn’t like the way the edges were going, and I prefer cowls and shawls to straight scarves anyway, so I ripped it back and cast on for a cowl instead.

It is fairly simple now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, so this will be good mindless TV knitting.

 

Lost skills

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I’ve plied 2 1/2 bobbins of the green fiber and while I like the resulting yarn, it is clear that my long hiatus from spinning has really resulted in a decline in my abilities.  The twist and thickness is all over the place!

It will still work just fine for a mittens/hat/cowl combo, my tentative plan, but I need to be doing this more regularly to get back some of the evenness of previous yarns.  I was never more than intermediate, but I can do better!

A close up to show the unintended texture:

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Still, sometimes the less uniform yarns make for the most interesting knits.  I still have more of the fiber to spin into singles, so I should end up with at least another bobbin of two ply.

 

Spinning

While the boys destroyed the kitchen making chocolate chip cookies, I dragged out the spinning wheel, dusted it a bit, and tried to remember how I used to be fairly competent at making yarn.

Fiber glamour shot:

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It is a polwarth/silk top that I kettle dyed.  I have another bundle that I dyed with the same greens but with a touch for orange in places.

I’ve gotten pretty consistent in spinning thin singles, but now I’m trying to relearn spinning thicker.  So far, my twist amount is all over the place, and it isn’t very consistent.  It is pigtailing some because I haven’t slowed down my treading enough, and it gets too thin in places.  But I’m still going to like the finished yarn.  I like somewhat thick and thin yarn – it makes interesting fabric when knitted or woven.

The first bobbin is the green with orange tints, and the second is the green with light sections.  Definitely over spun – see the curls?  But it will work itself out in the plying.

Meanwhile, the boys have discovered that it is a good idea to make sure the leftover pizza is out of the oven before preheating to bake cookies.