Spinning my wheels

Not really wheels, actually, since I don't have a spinning wheel (YET--that's my big plan for Rhinebeck! I'm coming away from that weekend with a wheel, or espinner). But I am catching up on the list of projects I have in my head, somewhat killing time until I do get a wheel.  There are a few bumps and braids of fiber I'm dying to spin, but that I don't want to tackle on a spindle quite yet. So meanwhile, I'm filling in the gap with some other projects.

chain ply (3 ply) on the left, two ply on the right

Last year, after learning to spin, I joined the Spunky Eclectic fiber club, and so every month I get 8 oz of gorgeously dyed fiber, all different sorts (I signed up for the double option, thus the 8 oz).  I'm a few months behind on spinning some of the fiber, but I just finished up April's Cheviot Sheepswool in the colorway Golden Fields.

Since yellow is rarely my bag--love the color but I can't wear it well at all--I figured I'd experiment and practice with technique a bit here, and tried a semi-woolen spin on the spindle.

The first bump--shown on the right--I spun a two-ply, making faux rolags by tearing chunks off the bump, fluffing them, and rolling them into a little sausage and spinning from that.  I spun as the colors came and stopped and rolled off the cop into a ball about halfway through, spun the rest and then plyed together.  It's a bit barberpoley, and the singles were wildly uneven as I was getting used to the technique (and it was a put down-pick up kind of project), but I'm happy with how the final product turned out.

The second bump--shown on the left--I decided to pull apart and sort by colors and spin the single kinda as a gradient from yellow to white/grey to blues.  With this bit more of fiber prep, I took the opportunity to really pull the fiber bump apart to be more of a woolen prep approximation, and spun from color to color.  To keep the color progression I chain plyed (chained it as I wound it into a plying ball and then added twist--a lot of twist actually).  I beat the hell out of this one in the finishing, and I'm really pleased with how the twist settled and spread out through the yarn.  It's still a bit uneven in thickness, but eh, second time attempting something like a woolen yarn. 

Now I just need to figure out what to make with them.  That's a whole other ball of wax. 


look I made a hat!

Not a hat. Almost a muppet.

Not a hat. Almost a muppet.

Well, almost a hat.  And in fact, probably not going to wind up a hat, maybe socks? Or a shawl?  I don't know yet.

JBB suggested doing a stuffed muppety dinosaur with it, because muppet colors.  But I'm not sure a fingering weight handspun would work, plus I'm wary of how the gradient would work up on a figure.  I'll think about it anyway.

This is the December 14 Spunky Eclectic club fiber (4oz, BFL superwash), spun on a spindle and then chain plied on the same spindle to keep the color gradient. It goes from Big Bird to Zoe to Elmo to Tully to Rosita to Grover. 

I figured out chain plying! Which is apparently more advanced than I'd anticipated! But also pretty straightforward when you figure it out.  I pulled long loops of the single through loops, essentially making a big ole loose crochet chain, and wound that into a plying ball. then I added twist with the spindle from the plying ball.  If none of these words make sense to you, here's a tutorial on chain plying from Craftsy. It has pictures that might help. 

I was expecting this to come out more as a light worsted weight yarn, since this is a chain ply--so a three ply--but I guess my singles were way lighter than I'd realized.  Which actually makes me very glad that I did not do my original plan of spinning the other 4oz I have and making a 2-ply yarn.  

Speaking of that other 4oz . . . I am thinking that I'll split it in half, and try to spin that to about a worsted weight two-ply, then maybe make mitts or a hat? Suggestions anyone?

I'm going to wind up with a million spindles, aren't I....


Honestly, I blame my cousin.

We went to Rhinebeck in October--my first time there!--and she was all, oh, do you want to learn to spin? Super casually, of course. DESPITE KNOWING IT WAS LIKE CRACK. 

One spindle and two bumps of hand dyed blue faced leicester later, she showed me how to begin with a leader, give the spindle a good solid twirl and then park it between my knees and draft out the fiber.  Addicted.





My very first handspun, wildly uneven but pretty! It took me a while to decide what to make out of it.  A while and 4 oz of green BFL top, a membership in the Spunky Eclectic fiber club, and a stack of hand dyed silk hankies later.... 








And now, I'm spending lunch looking at Golding ring spindles, rim weighted with brass and metals and with amazing carvings on the whorls.  Would you LOOK at these amazing things? Who wouldn't want one?

Yeah, I'm going to wind up with at least one.  Any bets on how long before I get a wheel?