Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spinning Broken Purple

If you follow me on Facebook or Ravelry, you would know that I was given a spinning wheel for Christmas. This wheel happened to arrive on my birthday, which resulted in a lot of excitement and screaming.  As soon as the wheel showed up on my doorstep, I knew that I needed to have some special fiber to dye for my first project on the wheel.  (I did run to my local yarn store to get some roving to test the wheel, but I needed a proper first project.

The following video, Breaking Wilton's Violet Food Coloring on Handpainted Roving, is a little more giddy and unplanned than most of my video tutorials.  I hope it will give you a sense of the excitement and process that I go through when I do not have much planned for my dyeing.  (Normally I would have edited a lot of the footage out, but I wanted to preserve the feeling I had on my birthday!)

The Kromski Fantasia spinning wheel comes with an attached Lazy Kate, so I knew I could try something I'd never attempted before: Plying yarn.  I had no idea how to best do this, so I split the fiber (down the whole length of the roving) into two 48 g parts.  (I did not get this on my first try, there was an extra section that I needed to pull out to even things out.)

After spinning my first few yards of this.. I have to say WOW.  There is a such a difference between this WOTA fiber that I dyed myself and the random roving I got at the store.  Maybe I learned something in my test run (making me glad I got fiber I didn't care about to start out with...) or maybe there is just a big difference in the quality of the fiber.   Either way, this is now going smoothly and I am loving every minute of it.

Looks like I am spinning near lace weight singles!!!!!  These look incredible, as good as anything I've spun on my drop spindle.  (Not PERFECT, but really smooth.) I was starting to feel regrets about my decision to ply this yarn, but then I realized something.  This yarn was really easy to dye, the colorway is not very complicated.  I can replicate (not exactly, but closely) this colorway and make it as a single ply yarn later.  What better project to try to ply than my first?  Plying won't "ruin" it... it will give it more character and I may love it even more.  (Or, I will discover that I hate plying and that I never want to try it ever again.)

Clockwise clockwise clockwise.  It is much easier to remember to spin a wheel clockwise than it was to remember to spin the spindle that direction.  Now as I've finished spinning 100g of singles (which I didn't finish the day I set up the wheel, but I could have if we hadn't gone out to dinner!), it is time to start plying  Counterclockwise counterclockwise counterclockwise.

I made sure to put both spindles on the wheel with the big side down (the same side that was towards the back of the wheel.)  I figured it was important to be consistent.  With the leader, I checked there was still uptake if I threaded the orface the same way I did for spinning but with the wheel going in the other direction (it worked!)

I'm not sure if this is how You're supposed to start, but I tied the two singles in a knot with the leader.

While plying (which is much easier than i thought  - i realized I wanted to know how big my singles really were, so I got out the WPI tool.  These singles are around 20+ dpi (the part I checked was some thicker portion.) so it is definitely fingering weight.  I do not know why the WPI tool has different definitions for WPI than Ravelry (which has fignering at 14 wpi...)

I am glad that I am spinning fine yarn, but am also that I did not quite achieve lace weight at my first try with the slowest whorl.  I want there to be something to aim towards!

My ply isn't the most even, but that is also because my singles aren't the most even.  I will learn!  It still looks like great handmade yarn.

As I neared the end of my plying, I started to be concerned that there would be a lot more yards on one spindle than the other.  I ended up with extra on one, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I feared. (I will weigh this later.)  I put a knot at the end because I wasn't quite sure how I was supposed to end it.

What do spinners do with their extra of a single ply?  I'm thinking I'll use it for a hexipuff!  The plying only took a few hours to finish.  Wahoo!

THIS IS SO MUCH FASTER THAN A DROP SPINDLE!  At some points, I felt that I could be going faster (Especially with the plying),  I love the lazy kate that comes with the wheel.  This is so much easier to wind on to a niddy noddy.  I am ecstatic that there were no breaks in the yarn during plying, which means that there are no knots!

90 g skein.  18 WPI.   120 wraps * 4 ft/wrap = 480 ft = 160 yards.  I am not sure what to make with the yarn.  I love it and it looks stunning in a skein, but there isn't quite enough for it to show it off as a cowl.  I'm thinking about making a few small projects with it to commemorate my first ever plyed yarn.

Remaining single ply - 17 wraps --> 22 yards extra.  This is enough for a hexipuff.

Finished 12/16/2012