Two Left Needles

Knitting, spinning and dyeing
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July 2008 - Posts

We have yarn!

Handspun by Stefania (but handspun by me) Corriedale/Silk in osage and indigo:

Handspun by Stefania Corriedale/Silk

398 yards, 5.25 oz. Not yet washed and set, but still, yarn. Yay!

Handspun by Stefania Corriedale/Silk

And spun singles:

These are the two bobbins of A Touch of Twist Rambouillet/Silk:

A Touch of Twist Rambouillet/Silk

Some parts were a breeze to spin, and some were rougher roving bits (coarser fiber that was more fuzzed up) that took more work to keep relatively even. There are little slubby bits throughout which will give the finished yarn charm.

About 8 oz and I don't want to think about how many yards of plying ahead of me...

Buoyed by that success and cheered by your comments, I pushed on to finish the second bobbin of Lorna's Laces Sheperd Top in Glenwood:

Lorna's Laces Sheperd Top in Glenwood

The previous bobbin on top, the latest on bottom.

After spinning so much roving, especially the somewhat slubby Rambouillet/Silk, it was comforting to be able to spin nice even singles. It was like, hey, I can spin! Cool! I also had to move my back hand much further back to accommodate the longer fiber length.

One weird thing about the Lorna's Laces Sheperd Top is the ends: they are cut off with scissors, instead of pulled apart. To avoid any short, cut fibers, I pulled out the shorter end bits and chucked them.

The fiber itself is a nice, smooth spin. I have a few more colorways, and like the Glenwood, they all have sequential color series, instead of being randomly or spotchily dyed. I can see myself getitng tired of spinning the colors "in order", spinning to chain-ply, and chain-plying, so I will have to get creative with how I spin the other rovings.

With only the Foxfire Fiber Camel/Silk and Hello Yarn Shetland left, I reluctantly chose the Foxfire Fiber. While gorgeous and luscious, I knew it would take longer and be a trickier spin. The Hello Yarn would be a good carrot to keep me going.

Or so I thought.

When I pulled out my sample card, I realized I was really spinning laceweight on this. Fine. The stuff that takes for-e-vah. Here's bobbin 1:

Foxfire Farms Camel/Silk in Honeysuckle

And I wish this were bobbin 2, but it's just bobbin 1 again, cuz it's so pretty I can't resist:

Foxfire Farms Camel/Silk in Honeysuckle

Again, it felt nice to spin smooth, even singles. Ahhhh. I can spin evenly!

The prep is delish. No felting, very loose. I slowly remembered how I had spun the first bobbin (I make it sound so long ago but it was April). I pre-drafted to a manageable thickness, which was time consuming but, well, manageable. Because of the short and long fibers, I balanced between controlling longer fibers with my pinky and ring finger, and the shorter fibers with my thumb and index finger.

But the spinning felt like cycling uphill into the wind: lots of peddling but little visible progress. Every inch of roving pre-drafted out to at least a foot, which, at laceweight, took a long, long time to spin.

The first 1/3 took over 2.5 hours. Ick. At least 5 more hours to go. Just spinning time! Very disheartening. Very, very disheartening.

In desperation, I tried spinning without pre-drafting. It took some getting used to, but I got the hang of it. Somehow, the next 1/6 took .5 hours, and the following 1/4 took 1.25 hours. Woohoo! Now that's progress I can live with! Another 1.25 hours or so should finish it off! Totally do-able by this weekend.

Please don't mention plying.

The lesson: pre-drafting is not always the best thing, or even necessary. I try to minimize pre-drafting anyway, because it takes so long and, frankly, I'd rather be spinning. Not to say it doesn't have its uses.

Three different projects, three different spinning styles, and what will be three different types of handspun. A good workout!

Like the Yarn Harlot, I may have bit off more than I can chew.

After much internal wrestling, I decided to join the Tour de Fleece. Between the heat and the Mobile One,


spinning time has been non-existent of late, and the TdF was a good excuse to get back to it.

For my challenge, I wanted to choose something that would push me (ergo, challenge), but something do-able, and useful.

I considered spinning a sweater's worth of yarn out of a beautiful colored Corriedale fleece I had washed, which is high on my list of spinning dreams right now:

Colored Corriedale Fleece

But when I considered:

  • the fleece was only partially washed, and
  • I had not sampled, and
  • I did not have time to sample or wash more fleece AND spin; and furthermore,
  • I didn't know which sweater from A Fine Fleece I would spin for (because that much was a certainty) and sweater choice would affect the type of yarn I would need to spin,

I nixed that idea.

I nixed several other ideas, but finally settled on:

Clearing the bobbins. The Schacht bobbins. All 8 of them.

Certainly challenging, but most likely do-able, and very useful. Besides, one bobbin was clear, 2 bobbins were full and ready to be plied, and one had a very small amount of fiber on it. Totally do-able, right?

I also decided to add a second challenge:

Spin every day, for at least 15 minutes, but shoot for an hour.

That would get me in the right mindset, and perhaps back on track with this whole spinning business.

So. Crazy? Do-able?

The ready-to-be-plied bobbins are 5.4 oz Handspun by Stefania Corriedale/Silk roving in osage and indigo, purchased at MDSW this year. It's difficult to capture the blue/greens and gold tones:

Handspun by Stefania Corriedale/Silk

So much fiber sits around waiting it's turn so I put this on the wheel almost as soon as we got home.

Handspun by Stefania Corriedale/Silk

It's mostly plied already.

Next, 8 oz of A Touch of Twist Rambouillet/Silk roving that I bought at Rhinebeck last Fall:

A Touch of Twist Rambouillet/Silk

A Touch of Twist Rambouillet/Silk

and started spinning at Spa in February:

A Touch of Twist Rambouillet/Silk

I finished spinning it tonight! Only about 1.5 oz of it was previously spun at fingering weight, so it was quite a bit of work. There's still the plying, though...

And here's where it starts to get a bit hairy.

5 oz of Lorna's Laces Sheperd Top in Glenwood, to be chain-plied for self-striping socks:

Lorna's Laces Sheperd Top in Glenwood

Half is done, so 2.5 oz to spin. Thin.

Foxfire Fiber & Designs Camel/Silk in gorgeous Honeysuckle. So soft and yummy, but a tough spin with the long silk fibers and short camel fibers.

Foxfire Farms Camel/Silk

2 oz already spun, 2 oz to be spun. Thin. Lace weight. Hmmm.

And perhaps the home stretch:

9 oz of Hello Yarn Shetland:

Hello Yarn Shetland

Half already spun:

Hello Yarn Shetland

to match 4 oz of this Hello Yarn Shetland:

Hello Yarn Shetland

that you previously saw as this 2-ply (my latest favorite skein):

Hello Yarn shetland - 2-ply


Two weeks to go...


Crazy, right?


Dare I tell you... the final bobbin, the one I laughingly said had only a small bit on it... it's 4 oz Susan's Spinning Bunny Merino/Tencel in Tamarack & Spruce:

Susan's Spinning Bunny Merino/Tencel in Tamarack & Spruce

Beautiful, isn't it? There's only a very small amount spun up. Technically, it could just be "spinning a sample". (Right?)

Susan's Spinning Bunny Merino/Tencel in Tamarack & Spruce


Maybe it will be my TdF "Bonus Round"...

Susan's Spinning Bunny Merino/Tencel in Tamarack & Spruce