Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First Yarns

Sit back & let me spin a yarn...
I figure so many of you are really sick of reading about icky wool on my pretty clothing blog.
Too bad, I've got another one.

I'll keep it short & sweet with lots of terrible pictures.

Essentially when I was at the Eastern Primitive Rendezvous (ie, Bog of Eternal Stench) - whole other post there! I picked up a drop spindle from Carol Leigh. Oops. BIG mistake (as she giggles with maniacal glee). I also bought a "how to spin wool" book, which I neglected to read past the "these are the other fibers you can spin zzzzzzzz...." section. I did eventually read it, but well after watching countless YouTube videos on how to use a drop spindle & screwing up a few ounces of Dorset (big loss, see Gail's heart break)...

So here's what I "spun" and I'm not unhappy with it. Once I learn to card & draft better I think my threads will turn out much nicer; but it's fun & an excellent evening t-v activity which doesn't use the same hand movements as sewing! Yay!

This is the very first bit of yarn I've ever spun. Icky, huh? It's actually really soft, but some of it is un-spun, other bits over-spun, totally chunky to super-thin... a general first-time disaster! Love it.
Oh, and it still has burrs in it - not something you want to give to someone you actually like as an undergarment...

First bit of yarn (finished): natural 2 ply Dorset that I scoured the heck out of & somehow managed not to felt before spinning. It has already been through a mordant, so whenever I want to dye it I can just wet it, submerge it & go.

I may send this to my friend Cori... there's enough to knit a funky potholder, maybe. haha. (and I do actually like Cori, but she's got a wicked sense of humor about these sorts of things).

Here are the 2 yarns drying & getting stretched in the laundry room. NOT the best days for drying anything. I was shocked, Shocked I Tell You, when I found out that you finish yarn by essentially felting it & then beating the heck out of it. Basically, you spin your yarn, ply it (or not), then let it rest for a few days, then you run it under HOT water with soap (Dawn is fine - again), then cold water & then you Slap It Against A Wall and hang it out to dry. Now, I've heard some crazy lady say it's like "giving it a nice day at the spa after it's been through so much." HA! More like adding insult to injury. But it really does come out nice.

Here is the finished yarn from the sumac dyed wool that I though I'd felted & wrecked. I was wrong, it's fine. So the deal is that the first batch of green inner bark sumac dye absorbed any & all resin from the dyebath & got quite nacky. After it was totally dry & carded it's not that bad. Still a bit crinkly, but spinnable & it washed out soft. No big deal. My yarns are still super-chunky & not that even, but the single ply is holding together, relatively even & Mom says she can actually use it for something. Amazing.

I think, but I'm not sure, that the chunky comes from the long staple fiber (5"-7") and me not pre-drafting it out thin enough. May also have to do with not having my hands far enough apart (short draft vs. long draft).

Oh, funny here:
Because Yours Truly didn't bother to read any actual books before totally messing up the first couple times, Yours Truly has learned to, quite naturally, spin widdershins. Somehow it fits me perfectly.
I just hope Mom doesn't kill me when she tries to knit with this stuff.

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