It’s the Thanksgiving weekend, and I DO have rather a lot to be thankful for. The semester is finally winding down, and while we’re nearing exams, there will be considerably fewer than normal and the Spring semester after the second week of January will be a MUCH lighter load. I cannot say how much I’m looking forward to it—and how relieved I am. “Thankful” may be putting it mildly.
I am thankful for my DH, for my family and their relative health and well-being, for my friends, for my colleagues, for the fiber that helps keep my hands busy and my mind still, and for so many other things that the list, once made, helps me remember how blessed I am.
But I’ll be honest and say that I’m looking forward to 2013.
In the meantime, there are a few things still happening in 2012; there’s a month to go, so we’re not done with the year yet.
The entry for
. . . and sent.
That little ball of thread is wound around a small styrofoam core about 1.5″ or so in diameter, so it’s not as big as it looks. There are 15 grams of superfine Merino, with 225 yards, so about 205 meters. That means about 13 meters per gram, or about 130 meters for 10 grams. The spinning is far from perfect and certainly far from what it could be, but it is progress and was done on Jeeves, so supports the electric wheels category. It is also far from competitive. The record for 10 grams of wheel-spun yarn is over a thousand meters, and this is nowhere close. Can you imagine that much thread from that little fiber? It’s a bit freaky, to be honest, and totally fascinating. Addictively so.
There are some tricks to all this. First, you rather need a fine fiber. The lower the micron count, the more individual hairs you can get in a single ply, and the more hairs, then the stronger the yarn (assuming a healthy fleece). Combing will give you a more organized fiber which is easier to work with and which takes less space, but I’m not entirely convinced that a carded prep won’t also have some benefits. A rolag will cause the fiber to use more space, but it’s spun around a core of air, which should counteract some of the weight issues. At least, that’s what I think, and that is what would normally hold true for normal spinning (presumably), but I’m not sure that “rule” holds true for this kind of extreme spinning.
Second, there is a fine balance between the amount of twist added to the fiber and the aim for length. The more twist, the shorter the strand will be, both for singles and plied yarn. Too little twist and the fibers will drift apart. Too much twist and the strand turns brittle and breaks when it’s put under pressure, rather than stretch and bounce back. Some people resolve the issue by adding enough twist for the single to hold together, but deliberately create an unbalanced ply and using too little twist, thus elongating the yarn. Similarly, others have opted to not wash/finish the yarn, which may shrink it in the finishing process, and others have chosen to weight the yarn—which stretches it. For them, the goal is to get as much yardage as possible, and there is less concern to create a viable yarn.
I decided that if I were going to do this, I would follow my normal practice, and try to make a “proper” yarn. I’d experiment with twist and fiber prep to get what I wanted, but it would be a viable thread–and I’d try and figure out the yardage challenge via the other factors.
But, I’ve learned a lot in the process, and been reminded of a few things. One of those things is that while we all know that thinner singles need more twist than fat singles, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they need as much twist as we might initially think. I’ve been struggling to get superfine singles with the amount of twist I want (usually leaning toward softly spun), and part of that was complicated by the shift to the electric wheel. Working through this thread solved that dilemma. By the time the thread was finished, I had the lower amount of twist I’d been reaching for.
The next Bothwell Spin-In is in 2015, so there’s time to practice, which means there’s time to test theories.
The effects of spinning that very fine thread are lingering. Once you get into a habit of spinning one kind of yarn, it takes time to shift gears. Clearly I’m not there yet.
Meet “Haute Coutre.”
It’s a Merino/silk blend from Enchanted Knoll Farm, and a lovely fiber. It came in a series of individual colors which I clumped together and span one after the other. It’s a nearly gradient yarn, and while I should have merged the colors a bit better between the shifts, I’m seriously pleased with it.
weight: 200g (7 oz)
Ply: chain plied (Fake 3)
yardage: There’s a total of 1133 yards, and a major knot about 955 yards into the skein. But with 1100 yards, there’s certainly enough for something fun.
By the way, the weather in Norway? You wanna tell me why we’re having 40-degree weather in the end of November? And no snow.
Oh, wait . . . I don’t mind that. It means no ice. I can deal with that.
Besides, it gives us sunrises like this one.