Spinning Away

For my second handspun project I decided to try out a different breed of sheep for the fiber, try a dyed fiber, and to try to ply it.  Even with all of those firsts I think it came out really well.

The fiber brand I purchased was Malabrigo’s Nube. I was warned by an experienced drop spindler to no expect a very even thin yarn, which I am glad that I received that warning because I would have been very frustrated if I tried to produce a thin yarn. If you have ever worked with Malabrigos single ply you have probably have seen that the yarn in places is slightly felted together, that is also the case with their fiber. It isn’t necessarily felted together, but the fiber doesn’t want to draft out that much.

Here is the fiber before I went to spin it up.

Here is the fiber before I went to spin it up.

The fiber is a 100% merino wool which I found slightly more difficult to work with also because of its short staple. The color of this fiber is gorgeous though, the colorway is Arco Iris and totally made up for any difficulties I had with spinning it.

20140527-201056-72656612.jpgThis is a picture of the first half of the braid spun up.

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Here’s a picture of the two singles right before I went to ply them.

My twist direction for the singles was a S ply (meaning I spun it up clockwise) and then when I went to ply it I did Z ply (meaning when I plied it I spun the spindle counter-clockwise).

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Here is a picture of the yarn plied on my niddy noddy. Doesn’t it look pretty? It’s hard to believe, but before this picture was taken the freshly spun yarn looked like this:

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While I was taken the plied yarn and wrapping it on to the niddy noddy one of the pvc piping t-connectors snapped and all of the yarn flew off of the niddy noddy turning into the picture above (the t-connector is fixed in the picture above which is why the niddy noddy isn’t in pieces).

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Now here is the final product all washed and pretty.

I haven’t checked the yarn weight yet but there is 165 yards to 4oz.

Even with the issues I had with the fiber not wanting to draft out, I am really happy with the end result and I feel like I will probably get more Malabrigo fiber at some point.

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My first Handspun

Well I have done it, I have spun up my first large quantity of handspun yarn and surprisingly I didn’t lose interest with it. I mean it is 100% undyed wool, it had nothing interesting or pretty to keep me going. What kept me going was my desire to learn, to get better, and to produce a finished item that I would be proud of.

For my first handspun I decided to leave them singles so I could get the most yardage for the amount of time put in.

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Here’s a picture of it before it’s bath. As you can see it is very kinky and in places over spun. So from reading different things I decided that I was going to shock the wool by washing it in hot, then cold, then hot and then cold water, thwacking it against the porch railings outside, and then hung them weighed them down with hangers. The end result looks a lot more like yarn.

The yarn hanging from the porch.

The yarn hanging from the porch.

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Doesn’t it look pretty! The end result is  695 yards single ply lace/fingering weight 100% cheviot yarn.

The comparison between the two is crazy. It's hard to believe that the yarn on the left turned into the yarn on the right.

The comparison between the two is crazy. It’s hard to believe that the yarn on the left turned into the yarn on the right.

Now I am now where close to being done with this yarn because I plan to dye it (I’m still unsure of what color) and then knit it up (still unsure of that too). Besides that I am contemplating getting more fiber so I can have more like 800-1000 yards to play with. 800-1000 yards has a lot more possibilities over 695 yards. So this isn’t the last that you have seen of this yarn.

In the next post I will talk about the latest yarn that I just spun up, it is colorful and pretty and I tried some new things!

Lets Spin Part 2

Well Part 1 was more about story involving the beginning of the journey. Part 2 is more about what I have learned and where my spinning is at right now.

So far most of what I have learned came from this book:

20140516-215859.jpgYou can get this book on Amazon.  It truly is a wealth of knowledge and talks a lot about the science of spinning and what to do. I feel that after reading parts of the book (NO I haven’t read it all, I have only read the parts that pertained to me in my current state) I had a better grasp of spinning, more so that when I first sat down to try. I have been told by a person who is a spindling instructor in Columbus OH  that the DVD of this book is even better than the book.

Right now I am still doing the park and draft method which is fine with me, I guess it makes me a bit slower, but it is what I am comfortable with and I’m sure I won’t have to park and draft for that much longer.

When I first posted about learning to drop spindle I was asked if there is a certain spindle that is better for beginners and the answer is no. Really drop spindling is a really personal thing, it’s best to use a spindle that feels good to you, there are tons of different spindles out there. Now I would suggest to start out with a cheap spindle. Like the ones at tinasangora’s they are very reasonably priced, but you can always try one from some one else, etsy is fully of different spindle sellers.

My spindle is a top whorl drop spindle and as I said in my last post it weights 1.25 ounces. The weight of your spindle can produce different types of yarn to, the book a posted talked about above goes into some detail about that.

Now so far with my spinning I have filled up my spindle for the first time (currently I am spinning an undyed 100% cheviot wool). I hope to spin enough yarn up from my 3 oz of fiber to make a shawl or small cardigan with and also dye it myself.

Here is my full spindle. The spun yarn on the shaft of the spindle is called the cop.

Here is my full spindle. The spun yarn on the shaft of the spindle is called the cop.

The concept of a full spindle is all relative, the best rule of thumb for spinning is if you aren’t sinning the same consistency or if you are having trouble getting the spindle to spin it is probably too full (mine was the later).

I'm planning on making singles for my first time around spinning. On that niddy noddy their is about 168 yds give or take a few inches.

I’m planning on making singles for my first time around spinning. On that niddy noddy (I made the niddy noddy) their is about 168 yds give or take a few inches.

The yarn weight is between a lace and light fingering weight.

The yarn weight is between a lace and light fingering weight.

I really am enjoying this, and for those of you who are experienced drop spindlers feel free to chime in and tell me I’m wrong or to give advice. Also I am sorry if this seemed really instructional, I had been asked different questions about drop spindles and I wanted to cover those in the blog for those people and others who have no clue about drop spindles.

Best Mail Day Ever!

So I don’t think any day of receiving mail can top this mail day. Just recently I made a large Webs order (I probably shouldn’t have, but well I couldn’t resist) and I received that in the mail, plus I got my package from my secret Santa. The Northbound knitting group on ravelry held a secret Santa  gift swap and I could resist, I just had to participate and boy am I glad I did!

Well here is a picture of the semi unopened packages. I was so excited I almost forgot to take a pre-opening picture.

Well here is a picture of the semi unopened packages. I was so excited I almost forgot to take a pre-opening picture.

Here is a shot from afar of all of my presents.

Here is a shot from afar of all of my presents.

Here is a close up of the snow-globe card thing. Which is super cute!

Here is a close up of the snow-globe card thing. Which is super cute!

Here is a close up of the shawl she knit for me (she also spun the yarn herself). The pattern is mariposa.

Here is a close up of the shawl she knit for me (she also spun the yarn herself). The pattern is mariposa.

A shot of me wearing it!

A shot of me wearing it!

The button pins she got me! I love these things!

The button pins she got me! I love these things!

Stitch markers of all colors and sizes!

Stitch markers of all colors and sizes!

So and some buttons!

Soak and some buttons!

Tea, a project bag, and penguin decoration.

Tea, a project bag, and penguin decoration.

And two skeins of yarn. One hand-spun (spun by her) and then Northbound Knitting's merino silk absinthe color way. The hand-spun is also Northbound knits and it is Shetland colorway force zen.

And two skeins of yarn. One hand-spun (spun by her) and then Northbound Knitting’s merino silk absinthe color way. The hand-spun is also Northbound knits and it is Shetland colorway force zen.

And here is my not necessary, but totally wanted yarn order. Which is very drool worthy in its own rights, but the secret Santa gifts were meaningful and amazing and picked out totally for me which makes me love it so much more. My partner totally spoiled me!

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Madelinetosh colorway composition book grey destine to be the light trails sweater.

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Madelinetosh colorway antique lace will become hitofude. And yes it takes a little more than two balls which I have over half a ball left from a shawl test knit that you haven’t seen which will be contributed to the sweater.

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Madelinetosh colorway opaline which is destined to be the wheaten scarf.

And this is cascade eco+ colorway burgundy which is destined to be the Little Wave cardigan.

And this is cascade eco+ colorway burgundy which is destined to be the Little Wave cardigan.

 

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This valley yarns Sheffield teal and camel are destined to become the Eastwood Cardigan.

And here is a picture of my overall haul from the mail today. Needless to say I was elated because of seeing all of my goodies especially from my secret Santa!