sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

sample spinning to spec (day five times fast)

day 5 of tour de fleece 2009
spinning and knitting swatches

Yesterday felt like a bit of a time suck projectwise... I spent the day spinning little samples of singles at different tpi/wpi, plying 2 and 3-way, and knitting them up into swatches. And watching them dry. :) I should probably have done this before the Tour de Fleece started (I did knit the alpaca/silk swatch before), but since it was such a last minute decision for me to attempt the TdF... hindsight and all :)

As I've mentioned, I am just in love with cocoknits' new pattern Yvonne and am spinning for it for the Tour de Fleece. The original is knit in Verb's Alpaca/Silk yarn, which I've actually used before (for weaving, the longskinnytextured scarf) and it's a *really* nice yarn. I frankensteined it (it's a 3 -ply), and used the bits and pieces and the original whole as my jumping off point in deciding the kinds of samples I wanted to spin. I decided on the 3-ply, tightly plied (relative to the original) sample with the 32wpi singles.


Aside from being a 3-ply, and knitting up at 5 sts/inch on US 6's, the corriedale and the alpaca/silk yarns are pretty different. Of course the alpaca/silk is going to be much drapier than the crimpy corriedale, and I could have spun and plied the corrie more loosely to try and mimic that effect of the original yarn, but decided against it. First, close but no cigar on that one-- my crimpy, sheepy fleece is just not similar to the alpaca/silk fibers of the original yarn to begin with. I chose wool and want that to be a highlight, not fought against. Next I'm worried about pilling, I loveLOVE my handspun Wisteria but have to give it a good shave before wearing. Maybe if I had spun a 3-ply worsted instead of two I'd have less of a problem (but it might have been less soft and huggy too, don't know cos I didn't sample). This sample feels like it will hold up well to abrasion and wear, and hold its shape. I'm also biased towards tightly spun and plied yarns because I like the way they look, sock yarns and no... and in this yarn the crimp of the lamb's fleece busting out from the ply looks as squishy as it feels, can't say no to that. All over in love with the wooliness of it all :)

This is all pretty new to me (spinning to spec, and not to the fiber)-- I've even strung up my spinner's control card on the wheel to spotcheck my singles as I go. (Have you seen girlontherocks' wpi spinner's gauge card? not to mention her owl needle gauge? too cool.) It's helping, but I hope by the time the project is over I hope I get a better sixth sense about knowing my singles are consistent and not having to secondguess as much as I have been. We'll see :)

Speaking of my Matchless... two nights ago I finished combing the wool kind of early in the night and I decided to get the wheel ready for spinning the next day. After oiling I pulled out my tub of Wood Beams (handmade oil/wax wood paste by goodies unlimited, smells so good) and gave him a rubdown til he shone. I know there are many lucky souls out there hiphoppity about the 40th anniversary cherry Matchless (and rightly so!), but sitting crosslegged on the floor in my pyjamas in the middle of the night, turning him over in my hands this way and that, I couldn't help but fall even more head over heels for my big vintage boy and his lovely darkening and flecked maple.


Definitely a nice way to start this project. Lots of love, for both of us.

Hoping to get some yardage under my belt tonite, the only thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awww, you're so cute with your Matchless. Someday mine will be vintage too, and then we can sit together and reminisce about the good ol' days.

The spinning looks good! I hate swatching and spin-testing too. I try to think of it as preemptive frogging, but it seldom works... Good luck!

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