July 7, 2009

so much spinning!

news first – i’ve become a last-minute vendor for crafty wonderland on sunday! i had just been thinking about how i haven’t done any shows since the holiday season, and i miss them a little, then i got an email that there were cancellations and i said sure! now i’m thinking, july is probably the worst month to do it, but eh, it’ll be fun… hope you portlanders can stop by!!

tdf 1st 3 days day1yarn07

tour de fleece is going so well so far!!  i’ve spun a skein that i love on each of these first 4 days, and i’m loving following the ravelry threads and getting inspired by everyone’s yarns!  instead of just showing you my yarns, i’m going to take it a bit further and share some process-y stuff about each of them.  so, if you are a new spinner or are interested in understanding spinning better or just curious about crafts that you don’t do… this might make spinning less mysterious, or it might help you take your spinning further… not that i’m a master spinner (i still consider myself a beginner-ish) but i experiment with lots of different kinds of yarns…


day 1 was this bulky, squishy 2-ply.  it’s a bit thick and thin, but averages out pretty bulky, with lots of different dyed wools, mostly in shades of blues+greens (cools) and reds+oranges (warms).  i divided up equalish amounts of cool shades and warm shades in two piles, then i swapped a couple, so one pile was mostly the warms with a little cool, and the other mostly cool with a little warm.  each of these piles became one single (striping between the colors), which i spun lofty and somewhat bulky, then i plied them together, so most sections of the yarn have a warm shade and a cool shade swirling together, and some sections have both warm or both cool.  (63 yards, 2.9 ounces)

day2yarn01 day2bobbin

day 2 was navajo plied.  navajo plying is a method of turning one single into a 3-ply yarn by looping it into itself, so you get the color sections staying together for a striping yarn; making the 3-ply of course means it’s 3 times as thick and a third the length as the original single (less even, because of the twisting).  i tried this once before, during the last tour de fleece, then never did it again because it didn’t seem worth it for how little yardage you end up with.  but then i finally got around to knitting with the one i made last year, and i loved it!  it’s such a different kind of yarn, so i wanted to try it again.  i spun this one for myself, for more practice with the technique, using a bunch of the dyed wools from black sheep, and some from flock and fiber awhile back, spinning long sections of each color in the single.  i spun and spun and spun, what for me seemed like a lot of yardage, more than i usually spin into one single, then i plied.  i lovelovelove how it turned out – super bulky, texturey, stripey – but it’s only 40 yards!  i guess i’m bad at estimating how much yardage i’m spinning, because it seemed like more than 120ish…  so, it was a good experiment, now i just know to spinandspinandspin the singles until there’s way more than i think i’ll need, for a decent length final yarn.  i can’t wait to knit with this one!!  (40 yards, 3.4 ounces)


day 3 was this blues+greens striping single with big, messy cocoons and beehives thrown in.  (it’s so curly because the photo was before washing.) the yarn is all wools that i dyed, different types, with the softest type (bfl) at one end, so that if it’s made into a hat that end can be the brim!  the cocoons and beehives are messy because they were made with uncarded locks (and also because i am very much a beginner with those techniques), but i think they’re fun!  the yarn colors are all shades of blues and greens, with one stripe of dark orange in the middle somewhere, and a tiny bit of purple+red in one spot; then the cocoons are all different colors for contrast.  i’m super happy with this yarn!!  (160 yards, 3.1 ounces)

day4yarn02 day4yarn01

then today (day 4) i spun this fuzzy striping single, with dyed, uncarded alpaca, wools, and uncarded locks.  (also photographed pre-washing.)  i spun it texturey, thick and thin and fuzzy, striping between shades of red, purple, orange, yellow, and a little blue, green, grey, and coffee-dyed.  i tried to hold the wool sort of like i was core-spinning it around itself, so at a sideways angle.  i think this one will knit up pretty cool, all fuzztastic and stripey!  (126 yards, around 3 ounces)

tour de fleece day 1! tour de fleece: day 2

tour de fleece: day 3 tour de fleece day 4 yarn

i’ve been taking photo booth (macbook camera) shots right after spinning each day and posting them on twitter and flickr, to keep each day documented for the tour.  and then i’m adding good photos of the yarns to my flickr set after getting them taken and edited (so i’ll be posting post-washing photos of those last 2 at some point soonish), if you want to follow my spinning.

2plyforme01 2plyforme02

and then there are a couple more yarns i spun before the tour started – this one is a striping 2-ply for myself, spun with wools from black sheep.  i experimented with a striping idea here – i planned out a striping order, and made two groups of the same wools in the same order for the two singles.  if they were all exactly the same amount, and i spun them perfectly even, then when i plied them together the colors would all match up with each other for solid color stripes.  of course, they were not exact at all, on purpose, so they plied into blendy stripes, with some overlapping of the same colors, but mostly blending with the colors before or after, if that makes sense…


and i plied it unevenly, holding the two singles at different tensions at different points, so there are wrapped parts and coily parts.  should be fun to knit with!  (50 yards, 2 ounces)

corespun03 corespun04

lastly (from a couple weeks ago), my first real try at core-spinning, with undyed/uncarded alpaca and uncarded locks.  it’s pretty darn messy and uneven – core-spinning is harder than i thought! – but it’s a fun yarn, for sure!  super thick, striping, and fuzzzzzy.  i used a thick thread (the kind i get at knittn kitten, i don’t know what that thread it called…) for the core, but next time i try a boucle type or something with better grip.  (36 yards, 2.4 ounces)


if you’re wondering where i learned the different techniques (cocoons, beehives, core-spinning, etc): insubordiknit’s art yarn how-to dvd, sit and spin!  (i keep planning to do a post about it, but haven’t yet.)  i have art yarn books, which are great – intertwined in particular – but it helped so much to see her do the techniques in the dvd, so i’m starting to use them in my yarns now…


oh and in case you’re interested – the day 1, day 3, and day 4 yarns are for my shop.  however, since i’ll be bringing them to wonderland on sunday, i won’t put them up on my site until after that; so expect a big yarn shop update sometime next week, since i plan to spin more in addition to these.


last bit of handspun blogginess… cosy started a handspun elizabeth zimmerman snail hat knit-a-long – i’ve been planning to knit that hat for ages, and now i have an excuse!  i just need to spin up the right yarn for the project (already have it planned out, it’ll be rad) then find some extra knitting-for-me time in my schedule, which is the hard part.  so if you have some handspun and are a lover of hats, join in the fun!

Filed under: portland stuff,yarn — leethal @ 6:40 pm
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