sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Monday, March 24, 2008

fainting in supercoils

I know some are pics you've seen before, but I think it makes sense as a story :)

I started this project with 8 oz of delaine merino/mohair from Black Bunny Fibers-- this was the first fiber club installment of the year. Carol's got a good club going here... members get the same base fibers but we all get different colorways; yall know me and orange so she hit the nail here :)

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BlackBunnyFibers.com 90/10 delaine merino-mohair, "marigolds"

I dipped my toe into spring by buying a fleece (ha! three now, and Lambtown has my name ALL over it this year...) so wanting practice I broke out my Strauch handcards (...foreshadowing, wait for it...) and carded the roving into little cloudy rolags of happiness.

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This was a nice way to practice on clean fiber, as well as separate colors because each rolag has so little actual weight I was able to really get the colors to stand out from one another without blending out Carol's beautiful dyejob.

I had wanted to try some artyarn techniques after getting my hands on Intertwined... I was *so* inspired by this book. Yall know me and my utilitarian bent on spinning and knitting, but here I was loving every crazy novelty yarn technique in there. I finally settled on spinning the 8 oz of fiber into a supercoil yarn, where you spin a single and tightly coil it around an inner stabilizer. (Vague on purpose, detailed instructions in this book.)

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This was my first attempt, as well as the first bobbin of singles. After coiling, I found that the rolags really aren't ideal for this kind of yarn-- the typical woolen spun fuzziness obscures the coil effect in parts. I also spun this first one with lots of slubs, thinking that the 1-2" or so unspun bits would work well but instead finding them too short and too soft-- they look like gigantic pills on the yarn when coiled, and you can't see the coiling at all in them.

I took what I figured I learned and spun up the other 3 bobbins of singles with an eye to coil all of it... and to be honest? Once I finished another 2 oz of supercoil yarn I was kinda over it and just took the remaining 2 bobbins of tightly spun singles and plied them together. I wouldn't have normally spun these singles so tightly for a 2-ply, but I really just couldn't hang with the orange coiling any more!

Even worse I tried to loosely ply the singles-- the coil yarn is like rope with little drape, and I did actually want to knit this yarn and thought if I was able to alternate between the tight coil yarn and a more limp 2-ply, it would be visually interesting in a project as well. Doing so means the plying didn't take much twist out of the singles and the resulting yarn has a harsher hand than if it had been more softly spun in the beginning. Still nice to look at, but when the fiber first crossed my doorstep it was SO plush and squishy, so I'm a bit bummed thinking I may have ruined that aspect... Anyways! :)

All of this talk of tightness and plying and such, but a picture is better.

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left: 2-ply. middle: 2nd attempt at supercoiling yarn. right: 1st attempt.
all unblocked.

Now, these hanks are all technically the same circumference... see?

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as above, but with a weight

These are all unblocked-- the 2-ply is hanging the most true/balanced, but see how much the coil yarns are drawn up compared to the 2-ply (the first attempt moreso than the second)? I'm a low-hanging girl and couldn't help but be intrigued. Is it because the singles were more soft even though they were just as tightly and consistently coiled? Not sure. In any case, the first attempt is softer, but doesn't look as good (in the sense you can't see the coils as well as in the other.)

After finishing in hot-hot water and some kookaburra the skeins hung relatively evenly-- I had planned to block the yarns with a weight as they dried, but didn't and I'm glad... don't need them to lose any more loft ;)

I dig this sisters pic, reminds me of this and something else...

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The 1st coil yarn is on the right... you can see what I mean about the slubs looking like "pills". The second coil yarn's coils just look "tighter" even though they're really not-- spinning its singles with a special eye to firmness and no slubs (but varying thick/thin widths over stretches), but I don't think that the skeins will be distinguishable in the final project. I'm kinda-sorta planning on making this "Go Diagonal" scarf-- it was featured in Intertwined, but is a free pattern online. That, or sort of a hoodie that winds into a scarf... there's one in Intertwined (and one like it here-- Nomadic scarf in IK Fall 2007), but more rustic and simply in garter.

Really though, spring is here and spinning's winning over knitting... we'll see. It must be cold somewhere :)

The supercoil yarn is a really interesting way to keep color repeats separate-- since you're not plying, you can get dramatic stretchy stripes of color together as well as stack bunches of different ones together... it would be really fun to play with different lengths of colors in a single that was supercoiled and see the effect. I planned to supercoil the black magic baby/confetti batts from loop.etsy.com, but instead I think I'll do something else and intersperse coils as an accent. Definitely something novelty though... Intertwined has hooked me :)

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My supercoil may have been on the thin side since I used a silk sewing thread, a heavier weight stabilizer like a mercerized crochet cotton would prolly give a thicker look. I think I also spun my singles too finely overall, a heavier single would need less twist to be "tightly spun" and would make a thicker yarn in the end (notice how the 2-ply is thicker than the supercoiled yarns?) It's all still bulky, but a really bulky supercoil would be great, as well as softer. I don't know if I'd use a superplush fiber supercoiling again though, you do lose the softness in anything that's overspun.

But, orange fun :) One more...

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I was able to find more (big!) pressed amber nuggets for stitch markers for my shop, I love these on big needles since they're so light but super dramatic. Convo or email me if you're interested in a set, I haven't gotten around to making them yet or do anything but dye eggs and superwash merino this weekend (updating my shop with some handdyed rovings tomorrow afternoon)...

Til then! :)

2 comments:

lexa said...

Orangey goodness! Those pressed amber nuggets are gorgeous!

Happy belated Easter! :)

Jane said...

That's really interesting yarn! I love the color and the different ways you handled it.

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