For the past couple of weeks I’ve been slowly spinning this merino/tencel top which has proven to be quite a challenge compared to the pure merino top that I just finished. The fibers slip so easily that it’s difficult to maintain a consistently sized single. So far I’ve only been able to fill up one bobbin, so I haven’t had a chance ply a large quantity to see how the yarn will actually look. I’m curious to see how it will look once it’s knitted.
Here’s proof that I’ve been working on the Spin-Off sweater. I’m currently working on the red – all 9 oz. After the red, there’s 1.5 pounds of a honey merino & tencel blend.
I’m not the only one around here that loves looking at yarn, hence the paws in the upper left corner.
Some other knitting projects are on the horizon but nothing definite yet. I’d love to knit this Seaweed scarf designed by Alice Starmore.
I’m a knitter with a mission.
I think I’ll get Irish Moss done much
quicker then originally anticipated. I find this stitch pattern so
addicting that it’s hard to put aside for any other project. While the
stitch pattern looks difficult, it’s not after a few repeats. Since
it’s a basic drop sleeve sweater there’s no side or armhole shaping to
This week I also spun some of the fiber for the Spin-Off sweater. Although I thought I had practiced enough, I’m finding the solid color merino much more difficult to draft. It still looks OK, but just isn’t as consistent as my previous attempts with the multi-colored roving. The difference has got to be the amount of combing. I bet that the multi-colored roving goes through many more combings than the solid color rovings.
I’m ready to learn more spinning techniques so next week I’ll start a series of three spinning class offered by a local yarn store that I hope will expose me to a wider variety of wool. While I’m hoping to expand my skills, I’m not sure how in-depth these classes will get. Although the teacher is very knowledgeable, her approach isn’t as technical as I would prefer. Whatever the outcome, I know I will enjoy spending time with others who enjoy fiber arts and spinning.
To satisfy my technical hunger, I recently signed up for a few classes offered by Madrona Fiber Arts in February. Hopefully I’ll be able to take one class with Deb Menz called “Plying Yarns for Color Effects” and two with Judith MacKenzie McCuin called “Three Bags Full: Spinning for 3 different types of yarn” and “The Great Sock Caper: Hand spun yarn for hand knit socks”.
By the way, I notice that Interweave will be releasing a paperback version of Deb Menz’s book, Color in Spinning. Yahoo!
During the past week I’ve been diligently spinning Mojave merino roving into sport-weight yarn. Yes this is another attempt to master spinning so that I can have enough confidence to finally start working on the fiber for the Spin-Off sweater. I’ve had the kit for almost a year now but have been afraid to start. Hopefully I’ve built up enough tactile memory in my fingers so that it becomes second nature. While I know that handspun yarn doesn’t have to look perfect, I just can’t help trying.
I forsee doing a lot of spinning during the next four years. It has truely become my primary form of meditation during difficult times.
Yep, I’m still working on perfecting my merino spinning skills to develop enough confidence to start spinning for the Spin-Off sweater. I’ve split yard-long lengths of roving into thin strips, pre-draft these thin strips well and then spin with moderate twist. The singles are spun on a 9:1 ratio whorl and plied on a 7 1/2:1 ratio whorl.
I found that the long fibers of the tussah silk in this mixed merino/silk roving helped make it much easier to spin than a pure merino roving. Although I initially liked the mix of colors in pre-spun fiber once spun, I started finding that the red didn’t show up much in the singles. So after finishing a bobbin of singles I decided to ply the silk/merino singles with another bobbin of red merino singles to create a barber pole type yarn. The swatch in the top left corner was made from this barber pole yarn and the swatch below it was made from pure merino yarn.
After further practice with Ashland Bay merino top, I’ve changed to a slightly larger whorl which has a 13:1 ratio. Although I was getting pretty good results with the 15:1 ratio, I did notice some over twisting. Perhaps this switch will also help solve some of my problems with getting a balanced 2-ply.
27 – 28 wraps per inch
13.5 twists per inch (with 13:1 whorl)
14 -15 wraps per inch
9 twists per inch (with 9:1 ratio whorl)
I’m working away on a second bobbin of singles and plan on using the 9:1 ratio whorl to create a balanced 2-ply yarn. If all goes well with this new skein then I might start spinning the fiber from the Spin-Off sweater package.
One of my Christmas wishes came true.
This Spin-Off Anniversary Sweater is the latest entry in “to do” list.
Now that I actually have the fiber, I realize how impractical it would be to spin this on a hand spindle. I’m considering taking a class to learn how to spin on a wheel. I found one that will allow students to take the wheel home between classes. That might give me some time to spin this fiber and see if I really do want a wheel.