Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spinning "Follow the Butterflies"

Remember how I said that I've been bad back in September when I had 5 months unspun from my Into the Whirled Fiber subscription?  Now my tally is up to 7!  Yikes!  Starting with January 2015, I am committed to spinning two of these a month or else I have to cancel.  

I really love the chance to spin colorways I never would have selected myself.  When I look back at the "what's this?" colorway (100% merino) I was not excited about the colors at all.  I spun the singles twisting two different sections together and got an awesome twist.  I've now designed a hat for my son aroun dit, so you never know what you will end up with.

The August 2014 colorway "Follow the Butterflies" is combed merino top. I've struggled with merino the last few times I've tried to spin with it, with the exception of "What's This?"  I was tempted to try to do a fun twist with these pinks and greys, but unfortunately the color repeats are positioned such that end to end the colors line up really well, which is wrong if you want to end up with a contrasting twist.  Instead I think I will go for a 2 ply yarn.  I'm not going to try to spin these singles as thin as I can.  I think I'm going to aim for fingering-dk weight singles.  This should help me with my breakage problems.  Ultimately, I tend to spin the way the yarn speaks to me.  I have a lot of learning to do with different fiber types and I am still flying by the seat of my pants.  One of these days I'd love to take a lesson.  

I am still spinning with the wheel's slowest whorl.  I think this has really saved me when it comes to having an appropriate amount of twist in the yarn.  I haven't been recording my twists-per-inch but in the last year I've been spinning much softer yarns, but they've also been thicker.  I have many spinning projects I need to enter into Ravelry, but I am very curious to see how my yarns have evolved.  I will say that I am much more excited to use these thicker, puffier yarns that I am the more tightly spun thinner yarns - and this is as a knitter who prefers to use thinner yarns!  

I split this down the middle and had two sections weighing 57 and 54 g, respectively.  This is close enough for me to get started.   

The fiber is very sticky, in the fiber loving itself way versus a tape kind of way.  I am using a very short draft.  I usually draft really short, but this is especially short.  I think I might be using thicker sections that aren't predrafted so it is making it harder for me to draft as I go.  Ultimately, the fiber is spinning up easily and looks pretty fantastic already, so I'm happy.

Sometimes when I'm going to make a 2 ply yarn, I just break the roving in half.  This means that each ply will be completely different (assuming the fiber wasn't symmetrical) and will lead to more variety between the two plys.  For "Follow the Butterflies", I split the roving down the center.  With the first half, I always started spinning from the grey end, ending on pink for each piece.  With the second half, I am going to go the opposite way.  Just for fun.  I know it won't make much difference, as I am not consistent enough to predraft and then draft the same size repeats on each one, but it is still fun for me to think about as I'm spinning.  

Funny, the second half is lighter in color than the first.  There are some white patches in the center of that half.  This will be cool if it carries through the entire half, and not just the first part.  (Who am I kidding, this will be cool either way!)  

1 break while plying.  ARGH!  Crap then another.  These were easily fixed, but hurt my ego.  I just barely fit my 2 ply yarn on the bobbin with a few yards left over.  I wound this into a center pull ball and then 2 plyed it. 

Big skein 115 wraps * 4 ft/wrap = 460 feet = 153 yards in 106 g
Small skein 9 wraps * 2 ft/wrap = 18 feet = 6 yards in 5 g
WPI:  17 wraps / 2"  worsted-heavy worsted

I LOVE this 2 ply yarn!  I realized that the two at once technique I did was just faster, but it was creating the look of a handspun 2 ply yarn.  I'm really glad that this worked out, especially glad that it still took me only one day to make a fantastic yarn.  Wahoo!  

I have done a lot of N-plying because I like the triple ply yarn and it is easy, but ultimately I think that the 2 ply yarns look much better and I'm much more excited about them in the end.  Therefore I think I should just plan on trying to make more of my colorways 2 ply from the beginning.  

Spinning started and plying finished - 1/12/2015