Monday, April 15, 2013

Spinning Challenge: sampling 'n starting

Disclaimer: If you are reading this blog from a different cultural background, I apologize for the inordinate number of local idioms in this post. It's probably better that you miss some of the embarrassing details; hopefully you can at least enjoy the pictures. 

I mentioned yesterday that I have been working on the spinning project I've challenged myself to do. Here's the knitty-gritty update:

Yarndude asked if I'd be spinning my rolags using a longdraw method. Now, this would be a problem, since I am a bit of a one-trick pony when it comes to spinning.

I figured this is as good a time as any to learn, so I carded up a different braid for practicing, watched several videos on YouTube, and broke out the spinning wheel.

Sundry unpleasantries ensued. (That is, I whined and cursed like a two-year-old sailor.)

After giving me a couple days to recover, my partner (did I ever mention how great he is?) sat me down and showed me an Interweave video he had recently purchased. Abby Franquemont gave much more help than the comparatively brief YouTube videos, and it helped to see the different drafting methods demonstrated side-by-side, so to speak. So I tried again, and even got to try out my partner's far superior wheel.

This is what I ended up with:
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Okay, so it wasn't all for naught; there were moments when I felt like I was getting a sort of long-draw thing going. But spinning on a wheel just isn't my strong suit, either, so I decided to resort to my standard -- the trusty Trindle.

Despite having several Trindles, I had none free of fiber, so I had to finish up one of the old spinning projects that had been languishing in a box. The result is about 100 yards of fingering-ish chain-plied yumminess.

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As I was mulling over how to handle the rolags properly, I consulted a book from my shelf authored by Abby Franquemont, and she actually describes spinning longdraw method on a spindle! As I read more, though, I decided I would simply use what came easiest to me. The book really is excellent; Abby begins by describing her childhood in the Peruvian highlands, spindle always in hand.  Be still, my heart! What a lovely couple of pages!

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Feeling empowered to spin rolags using my default spindle method (minus the usual chain-ply), I did a bit of sampling with the practice fiber.

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I didn't like the look or the experience of knitting up a rather energetic singles yarn, so I plied the remainder on itself and achieved a more pleasing result:

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So I decided then and there to spin my gradient with a bit less twist than the sample, and create a two-ply fingering weight yarn, probably for a lace shawlette. I split the rolags into two rows, weighed them, and moved rolags around as needed in an attempt to even out the weight of the two sets of fiber.  I figure that if I spin fairly conisistently, the gradient might work out well enough between the two plies. That's the plan, at least.

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And now for a gratuitous kitty pic:

Spindle kitty

 Jake likes to seat himself in close proximity when I'm spinning.


He seems fascinated by the movement of the spindle--but then, aren't we all?


  1. So beautiful. I've actually recently broken out my spindles again, too! I had forgotten how much I enjoy spinning on a spindle, but like you, I'm sort of a one-trick pony with the spindle. I don't even know how you managed chain plying on a spindle. I've never even attempted a chain ply - on a spindle OR on my wheel. Too intimidating.

  2. lovely colours :-) I love spindles, always one in my bag and so useful to demo spinning without fuss. I have been known ( on more than one occasion) to spin a small amount, ply from centre pull ball or n-ply then knit the yarn in a pub full of bikers just to show where knitting yarn comes from ! Yes spindles fit nocely on the back of motorbikes !.
    As for long draw, not really got ot sussed but do my own version which works.

    1. That's hilarious! I did the andean bracelet and plied it on itself while we had company over. :)

  3. I like your second try with the plied yarn much better too, looks great in fact. I'm looking forward to see the gradient spun up too. Lovely kitty/spindle shot. Does he ever try to grab the spindle when in action?

    1. Sometimes I get a bit nervous that Jake will grab or swat the spindle, but I don't recall him actually doing more than very intense staring.

  4. Your spinning looks great! I can't wait to see how the gradient yarn turns out. Such a nicely behaved kitty too. I know mine would be trying to attack the spindle, or trying to eat the wool if sitting next to him. I will have to get out my copy of respect the spindle, and look up her version of long draw. I have yet to master long draw as well, on a spindle or wheel. Though I've always been a more intuitive spinner, and couldn't really tell you my style, but probably a version of worsted.

    Zach aka Superi on Ravelry

    1. I tend to get books with great intentions, but often I neglect to use them to anywhere near their potential. It's a pity, 'cuz I have some fantastic books! This is me trying to rectify that a bit.

  5. The gradient is going to be so gorgeous! I can't wait to see it!