Monday, August 1, 2016

Spinning Broken Violet

4 years ago today* I started spinning on a drop spindle.  This was really my second attempt at spinning but the first attempt didn't work out so well.  I've come a long way since then and since I had just recently published a few dyeing roving videos I thought it was time to try to create a spinning video.

*March 28, 2016

This is not a how to spin video, but a look at how I spun this particular yarn.  My followers frequently ask to see what I made with a particular yarn or fiber, and to be honest I haven't had a chance to knit or spin many of the fibers I've dyed.  They are in my queue of projects but end up being pushed backwards each time a new baby is born or another winter comes around.  Today, in honor of my 4 year spinnaversary I decided that I would take the most recent fiber I dyed and spin it up.  I broke Wilton's violet food coloring on braided roving which gave some really awesome speckles of color.

This spinning video is not a tutorial.  I am not trying to teach you HOW to spin on a Kromski Fantasia like my trusty Sandry, but really more showing the decisions that I made when spinning.  If you gave the same fiber to 20 different spinners you would get 20 different yarns.

Here are some of the questions that I think about before I start spinning:
  • How many ply's do you want?  (1, 2, 3, N-ply etc)
  • What direction will you spin the wool (S or Z)?
  • How thin will you spin the yarn?
  • When drafting the fiber, how will you divide it up?  You could pull the fiber apart to do a gradient, or create long or short stripes depending on how you start.  
  • Do you want to create a specialty yarn by introducing beads, different thicknesses, thread or anything else you could imagine?

To be honest, I don't always think VERY hard about these questions.  I try to let the fiber speak to me and as I start spinning I decide how thick or thin to spin it.  I usually make a decision about the number of plys and the direction before I start, but sometimes even that can change as I go along.  

Today I'm going to make a 2 ply yarn.  I will spin it traditionally with Z-twist singles (spinning the wheel clockwise) and plied with an S-twist (counterclockwise).  Sometimes I weigh the fiber after separating it to adjust, but my singles aren't perfectly regular so I frequently with have a few extra yards on one bobbin even if I start out dividing the fiber evenly.  

I'm not that good at planning out the thickness of my yarn  yet.  I sort of let the fiber speak to me and try to stay consistent with how I'm drafting it.

I wish that I measured the WPI of these singles.  Maybe they are fingering weight?   

Spinning is a lot harder to finish up these days between Lucky, Rowdy and Indy.  Sometimes I'll sit down to start spinning and someone will wake up, start barking or need a snack.  I can't spin while Lucky is awake because he will want to play on the wheel, too.  

Time to ply!  I never know how even the bobbins will be.  In the past I've weighted them but really it doesn't matter too much.  I just try to start with as even an amount of yarn as I can and then try to spin consistently.  

After I finished plying the yarn there wasn't very much left on the second bobbin.  Wow!  I didn't even weigh the fiber this time.  Normally I'd use my ball winder to create a center pull ball and then ply from both ends, but the remaining yarn is short enough that I just wound it around my hand.  I plied the yarn from this little ball.

I wound the 2 ply yarn onto my PVC pipe niddy noddy.

81 wraps =324  feet = 108 yards

If I measured the WPI I didn't write it down.  I think the yarn is probably a heavy worsted but I will need to update this once I can confirm it.

The little skein was not set on the niddy noddy. I wrapped it around my yarn and hung it up to dry.  The skein looks a little fuller and bouncier to me, but it is also possible that the original singles were thicker.

Broken violet food coloring is one of my favorite things to dye and then to spin.  I love the way the colors break into multiple tones.  The depth of color is amazing!  

Make sure you check out the video of my spinning this yarn!  Let me know if you think I should make other spinning videos.

Spinning started and completed 3/28/16.  Plying completed 3/29/16.