Friday, June 23, 2006

Phenomenon

OK, so I've been crazily carding Sugar Pie up with a bunch of different other wools and yesterday I decided to spin up a few rolags and do a swatch. (Sugar Pie is a bit itchy so I really need to evaluate that before I do too much and end up with a garment that no one wants to wear...) I pulled out a pair of #6 needles and cast on. Did a few rows and discovered that the knitting was slanted. That's right, rather than knitting a nice little square in stockinette stitch, I was making a diamond.

To confirm my theory, I reversed (knitting the rows I had purled and vice versa) and sure enough, the swatch went the other way. Can anyone tell me WHY? And how I can STOP this from happening again? It would be great for a scarf pattern, but I just don't think it would work for a sweater ...


A bit dismayed by the resulting chevron, I decided to play a bit with that alpaca I spun right after I got the wheel. Cast on 20 stitches and did 20 rows in stockinette. There's a very slight tilt to the swatch, but nothing that a little blocking won't fix. If I had enough of this, it would definitely be a sweater. I wish you could touch it.

5 comments:

eunny said...

Re: biasing, I think it's an issue of too much active twist in the yarn. If it's a plied yarn, S and Z twists should cancel each other out more or less, but singles will always have active twist in one direction (of course). I think the way to correct it is to set the twist with a wash until the skein hangs straight, without curling.

Or knit something on the bias :)

Fabulous wheel, awesome spinning. Can you tell I'm jealous?

And...have you heard about the spinning group Amy has set up? We're going to meet at Clover Hill on the 30th for the inaugural meeting. Here's the link: Clickety!

I hope you'll join, and that you can make the first meeting...I can't wait to meet you!

jmatthews said...

And when will we see a picture of you at the wheel.............

Wendy said...

Well, at least the color is lovely. I say work it, baby and do a jig or twist a certain way when you spot someone looking at your swatch or scarf a bit closer!

At least you can make a beautiful yarn. My first spinning stuff is only just so-so and I wonder if I'll ever figure it out.

Moe said...

Surfed on over from Knit and Tonic:

From what I read - too much twist will cause a bias when you knit. Apparently plying cancels the over-twisted singles. I'm a very new spinner so my advice is rather hypothetical.

I was having a discussion about knitting sweaters with singles vs plied yarn the other day at my LYS. One of the store owners was commenting that she finds that even commerical singles will tilt sometimes...

knitchic said...

I think Eunny and Moe are right -- the bias is due to energized spin in the yarn. My understanding is that you can counterbalance the singles' spin by plying and/or "setting the twist". I'm still figuring out the best way to set twist in yarn, so this is just from my reading, not personal experience yet. Some folks wash the yarn and then hang the skein with a weight on the bottom. Others think that weighting the skein takes the bounce out of the yarn. PGR in "Spinning in the old Way" has a recipe for "cooking" yarn to set the twist. This is next on my list of things to try.
Of course, you could always design something that takes advantage of the twist. I think in the Green Mountain Spinnery book there's a pattern which calls for energized S and Z singles and uses the resulting (and opposing) bias as a design feature!