Sunday, August 15, 2010


I finished that yarn that I'd been working working on.

I actually finished it Wednesday, but I've been having so much fun thinking about what to turn it into that I forgot to post about it.

Now, as much as I dig the final outcome, it wasn't exactly what I was aiming for, either....but what I did get (aside from yarn I am pleased with), is that I learned quite a few things that I hope will help me next time.

Thing I learned #1: Don't look at the fiber all twisted up in its nice little bundle and make a plan of what to do with it. Open it up and play with it first.

A Verb For Keeping Warm, 100% BFL, 4oz
WoolyWonders! Fiber Club, colorway: Burnt Ember

I had already made my mind up that I was going to spin this fluff up into a 3ply semi-solid/mottled sort of thing, because it looked like it was dyed that way. Then I opened up the fiber and saw that what was really going on was two 2-oz strips of different colors---one more orange, one more red.

I had a conversation with myself about making a 2-ply instead of a 3-ply, or about carding the fibers together, or about holding both strips side by side and drafting across them both, blah blah blah....but in the end, I decided that more yarn was better than less yarn....and so I decided to spin each 2-oz strip on its own, and then do a 3rd single in a separate fiber that I already had in my stash.

A Verb For Keeping Warm, 100% Targhee, colorway: Transnational Fury

I twisted the three strips together to get a bit of an idea how it might look as a yarn, and it really did look like I'd still get a semi-solid yarn at the end. If you can see from the top photo, that's not the yarn turned out. It's got more of that barber-pole thing. Again, I still like it a lot, but I'm trying to learn how to make what I envision, and that's not what I envisioned, is all I'm sayin'.

Thing I learned #2: I lost my consistency on my singles, especially on the 3rd bobbin (the Targhee). That gave me a bit more thick-and-thin than I wanted, it gave me less yardage than I wanted, and it gave me a thicker yarn that I wanted (a sport/dk when I was going for a fingering).

3-ply ~ 5.2 oz ~ 236 yds ~ 11-12 wpi (dk/sport)
~ spun worsted/short Forward ~

Still, not bad lookin' at all.

Thing I learned #3: I need slow down considerably when I ply. I get so excited about being near the end of a project that I rush and get sloppy. I need to focus more on the process than the product.

Thing I learned #4: I need to find a way to hold the plies that works well for my wonky metal-laden right hand (that was also part of rushing--it hurt and I wanted to be finished). Next time I might try a using a diz (that's a little gadget with several holes in it, and I could run each single through a separate hole; it would keep the strands separated, and I wouldn't need to use my hands in a way that hurts).

Thing I learned #5: Even if I had worked 1 through 4 out, number thing #5? One of my bobbins is wonky! Because this was my first time ever doing a 3-ply, I had all of my bobbins in play, including one I had not used yet. It turns out that it barely rotates on the plying rod, and this just happens to be the bobbin I used to spin that ply of Targhee. I had no idea it was sticky until I went to ply and could barely get it on or off the rod, and the thing would barely spin. It explains why I was having such a hard time spinning that bobbin and why it was so thick-n-thin. This also explains why that single kept snapping while I plied, too. It explains why I have so much of the Targhee single left, and it also explains why the plying is so uneven (because it wasn't under the same tension as the other two). Gah.

I've been chatting with the eSpinner guy and he's been awesome. He gets the bobbins from the WooLee Winder folk, and sure enough, they had received a batch that had failed to be reamed properly. Mine must have fell through the cracks. I am to send it back, and it shall be fixed.

First, I was thinking I'd use it for fingerless gloves. Then, I was thinking some sort of cowl. But now I'm actually thinking I might make some sort of boot-topper, leg-warmer sort of thing to wear with my skirts and boots this winter. I wouldn't have enough yarn to do that normally, but being that I only reallllllly have to make one.....

I have enough.



Spinning, like knitting, is a road tripy. Sometimes one gets potholes and police, other times it's flat and smooth. And one learns.

Beautiful yarn.

~Donna~ said...

Really cool stuff! I've been wanting to make some boot toppers too - for about 2 years now. Will I get around to it? Prob not til next summer, if that.

Linda said...

Thank you for the connection to the DIZ site: I'd never heard of that tool. I LOVE the process you demonstrate, and how it lead to your realization about the wonky...bobbin (? sorry, I can't recall if that was the part that wouldn't rotate correctly)... and then to getting it fixed. NICE. Love your blog.

Gwen said...

It's always the not-quite-right projects I learn the most from. Is that another lesson?