So the Tour has come and gone, but while it was around I got some pretty good spinning done.
I spun one braid of Indigodragonfly fiber (the blue-and-grey skein in the top photo), and three braids from my ITW stash. The colourways were, in order: “Eureka” on BFL, “Captain Tightpants” on BFL, and “Andraste” on English Shetland.
The two BFL braids I worked on spinning for The Holy Grail – that is, a 3-ply sock yarn. I’ve been out of practice spinning very fine yarns, and while I find my way back into the groove, I’m spinning a lot of very high quality, even sport-weight.
My Captain Tightpants spin was the closest I’ve come in a while – it’s around a 16 wpi yarn (commercial sock yarns tend to come out at around 18 WPI), but the yardage was fairly unimpressive at only 280yd. I’m happy with how I spun it, in terms of the way the colours move and the quality of the yarn, but it may end up being not-socks instead.
The yarn that I ended up being the happiest with was my last braid, the Andraste on Shetland. I really wasn’t sure how to spin this – the Shetland was very poofy but coarse, and I couldn’t imagine using it for anything intended for next-to-skin wear. I decided to spin it as a two-ply, hoping for something close to a DK weight so that I could make mittens (which I could always line with something softer, if I needed.) I ended up with a really great, poofy DK weight with enough yardage for mittens, and sort-of-almost lined up the colours in my spinning. This will end up striping when it’s knit up, and I’m looking forward to that.
I don’t know what the overall lesson here is, other than knowing that I’m still finding the balance between spinning intentionally and spinning intuitively. I’ve got a good sense of how to use my wheel to make yarn, and I’m pretty good at controlling the size of my singles and keeping them consistent. I’m still finding, though, that it’s the yarns where I really want them to be something that turn out not-quite-right, and the yarns I spend less time fretting about that end up as lovely surprises. I’ll have to think about this in the context of one of my longer-term spinning goals – to try spinning for another sweater quantity, someday.
This is turning into such a spinning blog! I’ve been keeping up with my daily spinning for the Tour, but over this period I usually try to spin at least 30 minutes a day, instead of just spinning daily. I can only sustain a pace like that for a few weeks – I like working on too many other things to use all of my creative time for my wheel – but when so many other people are spinning the same amount, it’s fun to join in!
I spent a few days working on this braid of BFL, in “Eureka,” from the Into The Whirled club. I had high hopes to spin this as a 3-ply and end up with a lovely, barberpoled fingering-weight yarn with lots of yardage.
I ended up with 200yd of DK weight, instead. While not exactly what I wanted, it is pretty, and I think will make a lovely pair of mittens, or part of a sweater.
The other nice thing about ‘failing’ a little at my “Eureka” braid, is that it set me up really nicely to spin my next braid. This is the current spin on my wheel – “Captain Tightpants,” which I have been saving in my stash for about a year, now. It’s also BFL from Into The Whirled. Because I’d just finished spinning a yarn that was the wrong weight, I was able to correct and spin singles that were much, much finer.
This braid is taking much longer to spin, but I feel more hopeful that the finished yarn will turn out to be the weight I’m hoping for.
I wanted to talk about spinning, today, since that’s been a big part of what I’ve been making this year. (Also, my new spinning wheel corner gets really good afternoon light, and I have been enjoying how easy it is to take Super Dramatic Wheel Shots like this.)
I’ve been participating in spinning challenges over Ravelry – 15 lbs in 2015 (which – I am not spinning that much, but they have a sub-challenge to spin 7.5lbs of fiber, and I’m trying for that), the Mega SAL, and now the Tour de Fleece. All of these have been really great for seeing other spinners’ work, which I find really inspiring and motivating.
I’ve been keeping up with my practice of spinning every day-ish* for the past year and a half, now, and that’s been helping a lot with making me a spinner who can be more consistent, and slowly I’m learning how to spin finer yarn when I want to.
I’m still not as skilled at controlling what I spin as I’d like to be. I do a lot of thinking that I’m going to get a certain weight of yarn, and often I end up spinning one weight heavier than I think I’m going to. But I’m getting better at that, and I’m still succeeding at making a lot of nice yarns – it’s just a little harder to figure out what to do with them when I can’t reliably spin to an intended purpose.
I spun my first ‘combination’ yarn, plying two separate 4-oz colourways together.
(Ravelry info here. Into The Whirled “Inconceivable” and “Cat’s Pyjamas” on 75/25 Polwarth/Silk.)
And then I spun another. This was MegaSAL fiber, and my first time spinning targhee. This consumed a lot of my May spinning time, as I started with two 6-oz braids. I have a lot of this, and am going to have to figure out a good plan for knitting it, soon.
(Ravelry info here. Fat Cat Knits “Noble Dragon” and “Ankh Mopork” on Targhee.)
I spun some more Mega SAL fiber – this was my first time working with fiber from Nest Fiber Studios, which has been on my spinning bucket list for a while. I have another bag of a complimentary colourway to this one, and I’m hoping to spin it similarly so that I can use them together.
(Ravelry info here. Nest Fiber Studio “Maiden’s Wish” on Superwash Merino.)
I’ve also been spinning for the Tour de Fleece, and spun down some of my Indigodragonfly club stash into these skeins of worsted weight.
(Ravelry info here. Indigodragonfly “Ostrichie Ostrich”/”D’ohne”/”Gaseous Clay” on Falkland.)
I’m starting to get into the rhythm of the Tour – I find I tend to spin a lot more per day for these two weeks, and some of my favourite yarns from 2014 were spun this time last year, so I’m sure I’ll have more to update about soon.
(*There are, obviously, some caveats. If I’m not in the same city as my wheel, I don’t spin. If I’m busy and I forget or can’t work spinning in, that’s not a failure, but I try to sit down for at least five minutes on the day I remember. It still works out to more days than one would think.)