Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spinning Yarns...

...literally.

But before the yarn and spinning talk, let me first address a minor change in the decor that you may have noticed when you opened Virgin Wool today. There's a new ticker up there, prompted by a suggestion from knitting pal (blogless) Issy. I have moved my knitting ticker down to the very bottom of the blog, and the new spinning ticker takes its place at the top, since that's my current passion, and also because some would argue that after a certain amount of time has elapsed, one cannot call oneself a novice knitter anymore. Ahem.

But even as the buried knitting ticker fades into the obscurity that is a blog footer, I feel I should point out a momentous event that occurred recently:



Sunday was my 3-year knitiversary!
My, how time flies....


I'm so glad that I found fiber crafts, even if at an age when most knitters have been doing their craft for 30+ years. The hobby itself has brought me much pleasure, but more than that, it's introduced me to many wonderful knitters and knit-bloggers and widened my circle of friends exponentially. It's influenced my shopping and spending habits, how I spend my free time, how I spend my time on the internet (Ravelry much?), what I read, where I go on Tuesday nights, where and how and what I do when I travel.... I could go on, but I'm sure you know what I mean, if you're a knitter. If not, you can get an idea by reading the archives of my blog or any of the thousands of other knitting blogs out there.

So, anyway, once again, for the third year in a row, I offer my heart-felt thanks to my sister-in-law Jenny who three years ago gave me a learn-to-knit kit for my birthday and taught me to knit three days later on her birthday, and ultimately created a monster. :-)

I am learning that with the fiber arts, one never says never. When I first learned to knit and soon thereafter discovered that there are people out there who, in this day-and-age still spin their own yarn (!), I thought to myself, I will never do that.

Hee hee!

Now that I've learned how to spin and am reading the associated spinning books and magazines, I'm thinking that the ruling out of weaving way-back-when was also a silly declaration. However, there will be no rush to learn to weave, since my tiny house can't even fit a spinning wheel!

I'm just keeping an open mind....

Okay, now it's time to show my first two finished yarns spun on my Womack Butterfly spinner:



The white 2-ply is mostly Corriedale with a little mystery wool thrown in towards the end. It is under-plied is many places, and started out slightly coarse, but softened up nicely after a wash with Eucalan and hair conditioner. I haven't yet measured the yardage or the WPI, but it's about 4 6 oz., probably about worsted weight, which, by some estimates makes it roughly 225-300 400 yards. It seems like a lot of yarn to me, so my guess is it's on the high end of that range.

I might dye it, maybe with some Wilton's food coloring. Or I might leave it as-is. I think it might make a nice Urchin hat, perhaps if held doubled, since that pattern calls for super bulky....


The blue-green 2-ply is the merino I showed in my last post. It was a delight to spin, is also under-plied in many places, and I also don't yet know the yardage or WPI. But again, it's about 4 oz., and probably sport weight, so roughly 300-450 yards. I'm thinking it's on the low end of that range -- definitely doesn't weigh as much as the white yarn. But now I'm thinking the white yarn might actually be closer to 5 oz.

I really need to measure and weigh this stuff.

Anyway, more photos:


After I plied and washed everything, I immediately started spinning some more fiber in my stash:



That's the most gorgeously-dyed fiber I've laid my eyes on in recent memory. Of course the photos don't do it justice, but I just love how it's almost iridescent, like an oil slick. It's 4 oz. of 100% merino that I purchased from a gal up at Susan's Fiber Shop Spinning Retreat back in March.

Gorgeous, right? After my good experience with that first batch of merino, I was really looking forward to spinning this lovely stuff, but quickly discovered that not all hand-dyed merinos are created equal, especially if one is partially FELTED! Ack!! I'm still spinning it, but, if spinning that last merino was like butter, then spinning this stuff is like, well, trying to spin felted merino, for lack of a better metaphor.

The first half is done -- here it is on the bobbin:


And I'm a little ways into the second bobbin, although tonight I'm taking a break from it, because frankly, my hands, wrists and fingers are aching from trying to draft that stuff, even after pre-drafting the hell out of it. I have another batch of fiber in a different colorway from the same gal. It's also gorgeously dyed. I'm crossing my aching fingers that it's not also felted....

Note to self: ply the HECK out of this, when the time comes.
*

8 comments:

issy said...

I'm glad I could help, with the ticker, the fiber procurement and mostly with the friendship!!

Bess said...

Wee Haa! Our baby spinner is growing up! 2 ply! Gorgeous. I'm so so so happy for you.

mynewthing said...

Happy knit-iversay! And your spinning is gorgeous!

Channon said...

Congrats on the knitting milestone, and the beautiful spinning. I had thought today would include a final test-spin of a couple of wheels to allow for a purchase, but that didn't happen...

KSee said...

All you spun wool is so pretty. Interesting to read you experience's. My friend picked up some yarn in WVA and I attempted to wind it up and it kept breaking off. I finally made a cake and started a scarf. I can feel the lanolin in it and it is so under plied (thank you for telling me that) that I wonder what she had in mind. The stuff feels like a brillo pad. After 20 rows I ripped it out.
Anyhoo, I think you spinning looks wonderful!!

Channon said...

I shared an award with you on my blog today...

Firefly Nights said...

Your spinning looks great. Glad you're having fun with your electric spinner. I actually spun a litle bit this week after helping my friend try to learn.

I totally agree with the list of benefits you mentioned that come along when one learns to knit and spin (and blog). Lots of new friends in many loccations is a huge plus.

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Your spinning is lovely.