Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How not to spin a novelty yarn:

Step 1. Spin a lovely natural colored batt blended from silk, fine wools, and down fibers.

Step 2. Decide, as you are spinning, that you will ply this single with silk, in order to extend the yardage. Consider both 2 & 3 ply yarns. Consider final usage; decide tentatively on lace scarf or stole.

Step 3. Begin spinning tussah silk singles.

Step 4. Get busy. Stop spinning much.

Step 5. During visit of small child, place kate holding filled bobbins up on the mantelpiece.

Step 6. Spin silk occasionally. While spinning, glance up at kate to see how current bobbin compares to bobbin & 1/2 of blended fiber and bobbin of silk.

Step 7. Spin more silk. Get very bored with silk. Decide (by glancing) that you must certainly have enough silk by now.

Step 8. Set wheel up for plying in front of the TV. Start plying with two bobbins of silk and one of blended fiber. Ply merrily along while watching Genghis Blues.

Step 9. After 45 minutes, glance down at the strands passing through your fingers. Think, "Wow, that singles looks like a 2-ply!"

Step 10. Realize that once upon a time you decided on a 2-ply, and actually plied half a bobbin full before deciding you really needed to spin up more silk. Realize that you have been plying that 2-ply along with another two plies of silk. in the same direction. Realize that this yarn looks very strange.

Step 11. Consider unplying bizarre yarn. Give it up as impractical. Head off to pick your kids up from school. Try not to cry.

Step 12. Ply rest of singles as two ply. Love it. Try not to think how much more of the 2-ply you would have if you had actually looked at your singles before starting to ply.

Step 13. Try to imagine use for bizarre yarn and regular yarn that will be a Good Thing not just a salvage operation. This is where I am now.

Here are a couple of other yarns I've spun recently, with less drama. Both of these skeins were spurred by the shelving project; I've been finding lots of neglected treasures.

This is superwash BFL, dyed by Caroline of Wool For Brains. It was very nice to spin -- not as slippery as superwash merino -- and I look forward to knitting with it. It's a 3-ply, intended for a hat for my son. But as my champion skein winder was finishing winding it off, she said, "What's this for? Can I make something with this?" So my plans might change. It doesn't particularly match anyone's coat, so perhaps whoever wants it the most should have it.

This is a 2-ply of superwash merino, dyed with leftover Easter egg dyes. The roving has been sitting on my dryer ever since, for no discernable reason. Most of the yarn is one ply of greens & one ply of blues; at the end I ran out of green so that bit is two plies of blues/purples. Despite plenty of acid at the time of dying, this ran like crazy. I soaked it in vinegar water & washed it with synthrapol and all seems to be well; probably I should have simmered it with the vinegar but I didn't. I may regret this. Plans are for a baby surprise jacket, since somehow I've never gotten around to making one, but since there's no recipient in sight this will be on a back burner.


Shan said...

Oh no.....Oh, no no no. I'm so sorry!! What a terrible thing to happen.

But the colour is lovely...

Caroline M said...

If it had been me I'd have hit step 9 much earlier. I'd have the thought that it looked like a 2 ply, how interesting, and then maybe an hour later it would hit home what this actually meant. I'm sure you'll redeem it somehow (or find a shelf to stick it on)

I like superwash bfl but I'm not so taken with superwash merino.