Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Spinning a Yarn (or two, or three...)

I'm back from my business trip -- major trade show for work. Very long and busy eight days.

So I relaxed this weekend. And spun. I'm just about ready for the wheel.

Here's some of the angora (top) and the mohair (bottom):

The angora on the left is unset -- straight from the spindle, and the one of the right got a quick soak. It puffed up like one of those spongy things that you soak overnight. It's a single, so I can't imagine how big a plied yarn would be. The mohair also puffed up a little, but at the same time that's kind of nice. It's a two-ply yarn (and well balanced, if I do say so).

Then I pulled out a few ounces of straight wool roving that I bought a few months ago to experiment with and played a bit. I wanted to make a sample skein to see how thin I'd have to spin a single to get a sport-weight yarn (keeping in mind how the other puffed up). I've nearly figured it out ... it has to be pretty darn thin. This is where I think the wheel might come in handy -- it's very difficult to draft a thin yarn on a drop spindle.

I don't think I'm far off. The photo was shot with a macro lens and I forgot to put anything in for scale. It's not quite where it needs to be yet, but the yarn itself feels very lofty and I think if I can get it just a little bit thinner, well ... the possibilities are endless. Remember, though, that this is purely an experimental bit of roving. I'm hoping Sugar Pie spins up in a similar fashion -- my plan is to take the brown Leichester from MDS&W and ply it up with Sugar Pie and get enough to make my husband a v-neck sweater vest (not sure I have enough for sleeves too). What do you think?

Oh, and somehow I managed to find some time to get a little done on a shawl. I was previously working on the Pi Shawl from the Knitter's Almanac, but I'm ready to rip the whole thing out. There's WAY too much math involved for me, and I keep screwing up the flipping pattern. So instead, I started the Grape Arbor Shawl from Wendy's book. I'm doing it in a sage green, and so far I'm about a quarter of the way through the first motif. It's not looking so bad, although this picture doesn't really give you a good idea of what the final is going to look like. Once it's blocked, though, look out.

The downside? I hate to purl, and this is done with straight purls across the wrong side. By the time I get through this motif, I'm going to be purling more than 250 stitches straight across every other row. Right now, I'm just trying to slog through.

I'll get there. The good news is that the yarn is a very lightweight silk/wool blend, it isn't heavy at all on the needles, and it isn't the least bit warm (a good thing given that we were hurled unceremoniously into Mid-Atlantic winter without the slightest benefit of soothing cool spring weather!)

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