Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spinning again...

Since a few question arisen after my last post on spinning I thought I tell a bit more on that.
Though I knitted in most of my life, my interest in spinning only came in the last few years. Forever so long I did my best to repress the urge (who needs an other time, money and space consuming hobby??? Right?) But about a year or so ago I gave in and got a starter package. My first attempt were disastrous, the spindle was threwn into a corner more than a few times, but I kept on doing it. The first few weeks I did what many suggest, 10 minutes a day, every day. Te movement is really addictive, so many times I didn't stop at ten minutes and over the months my yarn became better, and it also became thinner. About this time I learned from my father that my grandmother was not only a knitter but she also spun, in fact she kept angora bunnies and spun their hair.
Anyway where I am now with spinning? I grew a nice collection of spindles, and fibers.
The last time I thought knitting the shetland triangle would be fun. Then me and my matchy, matchy naure got the better of me, and thought, what would be even more fun, knitting the shetland triangle from shetland wool... Naturally. Since I already had my eye on this the decision was made in about two minutes, the package came in about two weeks, and I started to spin the day it arrived.

And kept on spinning. The spindle has a story, I loved the look of it and the bigger than average whorl, but when the package finally arried it was broken, and it was clearly because of insufficent packaging. The seller promised me an other one right away, but it took more than two months for the replacement to get here. To top it all as pretty it is, I don't like the "handle" of it all that much. That might not be the fault of the spindle though...Maybe it was to big, to heavy for this project. Or maybe it is just this spindle and I are not suited to each other. Things like that happens. But I kept on spinning:

I halved the colored roving so the two half had the same color sections. For plying without a lazy Kate I did what Alice suggest in her blog. When I was done with one half I rolled it on a toilet paper roll. There was one moment when the spindle kept dropping, the spinned yarn falling apart. then I rolled what was on teh spindle and started again. I didn't had the same problem with teh second half---go figure.

When all the fiber was spun I took one from each half, and doubled them up. Alice suggest to make a centerpull ball, but that kept get stuck inside, so once again I used an other roll. First tought I am clever enough and can ply from the two balls. NOT worth it. The kinky yarn kept messing up. Much faster o do it before hand.Not to mention that at this point I could already see how I managed keeping the colors toogether.

I plied from there with my lovely star shaped spindle I bought from this etsy seller. I love it is big enough so I can ply the 100 gramms or so without having to break the yarn.

My dream of having a skeiner didn't realized yet, so I am using the legs of a stool to wind my yarns. Here you can see how much I could keep the colors toogether. I am not a machine, in fact even for a spinner I am pretty inexperenced, so even though the colors were the same in the fibers, there were places when two colors are spiralling into each other, but that also gives nice transitions between the colors.

And here is the final skein, before whacking it:

100 grams of shetland wool, about 700 meters of two ply.

As for answering some questions...
What fibers I like to spin with? Up to now my favourites to spin are the ones mixed with silk, Merino/silk, BFL/silk is my favourites. I have spin pure merino, and pure BFL, I didn't think spinning BFL was that much easier... No, it definetly didn't spin itself. This shetland is a bit to "rough" to my taste. Currently I am spinning some plain cream colored alpacca, and though it is silky, it is... just a bit too much to handle. Back in the beginning I had the luck to try a tiny bit of quivit, which wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Now I have some yak and silk, and camel and silk coming in the mail, I can't wait to try them.
Is spinning hard? To tell you the truth I don't know... Maybe it is in my genes, with a little practice it came pretty naturally to me. I don't think it is harder than knitting for that matter. It does need practice, and I found the ten minutes a day practice does have good effect.
Why do you spin with spindles rather than a spinning wheel? Though I did acquired two old spinning wheel (one of them is in working condition), I still prefer the spindle. I like the fact that I can just stuff it in my bag (or pocket) and the controll it gives me... or maybe I just didn't had enough practice with the wheels.
Do you use really need different spindles for different jobs? I've red at Abby's blog that it is not necessary, Andean spinners can spin almost anything with their spindle, I found it IS easier to spin fine yarns with a lighter spindle, medium yarns with medium wight spindles. And I found the big star shaped plying spindle most helpful.
Do you do your plying with a spindle too? Yes. Though I did plied some thing single on my wheel, but that was a commercial yarn. Plying with the wheel is definetly faster, but my wheel is old, the flyer is not smooth enough.
Is spinning your yarn cheaper than buying it? NO. Good fiber cost just as much as good yarn. Add to it the time one spends with it... NO I don't do it because it is cheaper or faster. (But after knitting it is nothing new).
Why do you spin then? Because knitting is not weird enough. (That is my standard answer). Seriously? I think it is in my blod. It fascinates me to no end to do something from scratch (that is why I bake bread too). Because when I spin something, even if I knit a pattern hundreds or thousands knit before I will have a totally unique result.


Alwen said...

It is interesting how one fiber art or another calls to us. I always wanted to weave even when I was a little girl, but I didn't care about knitting until a few years ago.

I keep trying to get interested in spinning, but so far it has not hooked me!

Anonymous said...

It turned out so pretty! You know me, I love it! ;) I haven't tried spinning again lately, too many other projects to get done these days! No time for fun. Maybe when I'm on vacation in July. LOL

Anice kötős blogja said...

I love that yarn so much. Have you done anything with it yet?