Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Touring Many Fleeces

Well, I expect you've all read by now that the Yarn Harlot spun over 1500 grams of fiber during her Tour de Fleece, exceeding her goal. That's about 53 ounces, or 3.3 pounds. She really is a nut.

Me, too. In a slightly different way.

My goal was to learn how to spin on a spindle. I did! I set myself the task of spinning one section a day of stripped and pre-drafted BFL from Spunky Eclectic. Here are the grand results:


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Two very small skeins. Aren't you proud of me? In back, we have two spindle-spun singles plied with each other (on my wheel, I must confess) - waaaaay over-spun singles and inconsistent plying. In front, a spindle-spun single plied (on the wheel) with some periwinkle-ish Harrisville Shetland - a better job all around. And I'm still working on my spindling....

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Two problems I've run into: One, my upper hand kept getting numb and tingly. I wasn't gripping the fiber with the Fist of Death, so that's not the issue, but I think I have some shoulder and/or elbow nerve squeezing going on, such that raising my hand above my shoulder for any length of time pinches the finger nerves. At least, that's my un-medical explanation. Getting through one small, skinny section of top a day was about all I could do, frankly.

Two, I overspin the singles. I do that on the wheel, too, and I need to back off. On a spindle, though, I don't know how to judge when a single is twisted just right - anybody got any clues?

That isn't all the spinning that's been going on around here, by the way. I just finished taking three spinning workshops with Barb Parry at WEBS. They were great! If you ever have a chance to take a class with her, do it! She was very organized, calm, helpful, kept the class moving, gave enough individual attention, covered tons of material. Wow. Now I just need to practice everything she taught. I'll show you some of the small sample skeins we made.

The first class covered twist and grist - basically, an advanced beginner class (which I needed). What was new to me was woolen-style spinning. My sample made in class was appalling, but at home, I tried spinning some of Barb's Border Leicester/fine wool/mohair roving (wonderful stuff, by the way; it took all my will-power not to ask Barb to bring pounds of it to the next class for me). It turned out beautifully!

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I wasn't doing a true long backward draw with this, more of a short forward draw while letting the twist run into the fiber supply and pulling back some at the same time, but hey, it's a lot more woolen-y than I have been spinning.

The next class covered yarn design. We made slub, knop, wrapped, and a few other yarns. Here's my knop yarn - a tussah silk single "knotted" on a Border Leicester single. You can't see too many of the knobs here, but there are a few for you. I'd never spun tussah silk top before - that was fun!

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At home, I tried spinning a small batt Barb gave us into a soft single, and then plying it with Jojoland laceweight.

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Finally, in the last class we covered color in spinning. We made heathered yarn...

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And learned how to Navajo ply (or tried to, in my case)....

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And made cabled yarn....

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And made ourselves batts!

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As well as trying all sorts of other techiques. That was a busy class!

The day after that last class, I took an overspun (my usual, in other words) single I'd made from Spunky Eclectic BFL and tried Navajo-plying it - it worked! It worked! It's funny to me how learning a new spinning technique can be so hard in a class - not surprising, I suppose, given the brain/eye/hand/foot coordination needed - and then so easy when one tries it again at home.

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One last spinning image for you - this is Wensleydale top that I spun semi-worsted thinking I would ply it. It was badly overspun, as usual (habits are SO hard to break), so I decided to run it back through the spinning wheel, take some of the twist out of it, and make a single. I had to run it through the wheel twice in the opposite direction from which I spun it, but doing so raised the outer fibers as it went through my fingers, and made this into a nice single.

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You know, there are so many variables in spinning - the type of fiber, the type of prep, the spinner's predilections, even whether the fiber is dyed or not - that it's going to take years - years! - before I really know what I'm doing. What a shame, eh? All that exploratory spinning to do....grin

And the next time I whine about not accomplishing anything, would you all just shush me? Really...

7 comments :

Bonnie said...

My gosh, you've been productive! The workshops sound terrific.

Margene said...

Very, very nice work!!

Bezzie said...

Dude, her yarn was boring!! Look at yours!

Elizabeth said...

Go Lynn Go! Spin Lynn Spin! You have been busy

DeltaDawn said...

Awesome yarn! What fun! And hey -I'd give anything to take some of your overspinning tendecies from you, or give you some of my underspun issues - we could even each other out!

Laurie said...

Yes, you will be shushed. What makes you think WE got it instantly?? I have so much crappy yarn in a box.....

elizabeth said...

I love ALL your yarn! I love spinning Wensleydale too, problem is, I can't decide what to make with it! I guess it'll tell me, in time.