A Spinning Update!

Wonderland Handspun: Wooly Mastadon

Yay, a spinning update. I didn’t see this coming but I actually made some serious progress on my current spinning project that has been going on for a little over two months. It is some merino fiber that I had purchased at a fiber swap to support my local community art center. It is in somewhat muted purples and greens and it was relatively easy spinning. It has just taken quite a bit of my patience, the singles were spinning a laceweight and the plied yarn is around a light fingering. I love how it turned out, complete with barber-poling. This is my first attempt and weighing out the yarn into to halves, spinning the singles and plying them together.

Plied Yarn on Bobbin: Wooly Mastadon

Here are the stats

Fiber: Merino (4 oz)

Weight: Light Fingering

Yardage: 1019 yd (yelp!)

And because no spinning project is perfect, and especially not one of my first thought-out projects, here are some downfalls and things I learned.

  • Be careful with over and under spinning. I was guilty of both of these on the singles and the plied yarn is most certainly energized to be nice. The length this project has taken has certainly helped me progress and make my twist more even but I most definitely will have to get a little more even.
  • Really thin singles break, and if your tension isn’t great when plying, it will happen A LOT. I encountered this when plying because some sections of my singles were very thin and/or underspun. Thus I had breakage. Hopefully this will improve with practice, but only time will tell.
  • It isn’t worth trying to save every piece of fiber. There were some serious fuzzy spots that I didn’t pick out when I spun the singles. Now I have serious flubs in the plied yarn. I could harness this, but for the most part, I’ll pick out the flubs in the next time.
  • Don’t rush. This is when even evenly spun, perfectly twisted yarn will break. It’s a pain in the butt.
  • CAREFULLY measure out your fiber before spinning. In fact, wait a half hour, pre-draft your fiber, and then weigh it again. I was so off on my spinning I had a small ball of yarn that I had to wind into a center-pull ball and spin from both ends.
  • Try to spin your singles at an even weight. I did not do this (newb mistake) and my bobbins had drastically different yardage on them.

Center Pull Ball: Wooly Mastadon

Now, you might be wondering how I got a light laceweight single into a center-pull ball without the fibers breaking. Well, let’s just say that process took several hours. First, I took some doweling and sanded the daylights out of it to create my own nostepinne. Then I started winding a center-pull ball by hand. I did this mostly because I don’t own a ball winder but also because even if I did I know that it would have broken my singles many times. Lesson for the future: make sure you weigh out your fiber carefully and spin evenly sized singles.

I pulled the singles from both ends of the yarn and I connected them to the end of the other plied yarn so I’d have two skeins as opposed to two and a mini skein of yarn. I’m sure I broke a cardinal rule somewhere but it worked and I’m happy with it. Now that my fiber is washed, I am sure this skein is destined for a lace shawl, but I think I’ll just admire it first. I know that spinners typically critique their yarns to bits, but I am not going to allow myself to do that with this skein much more than what I have above. It’s my first thought-out project, and compared to a little over a year ago I am so blessed to a) know how to spin, and b) own my own spinning wheel. I critique my design work all to harshly so the fiber will get a reprieve. After all, what better way to go into fall than with a new hobby, a lovely spinning wheel, and beautiful handspun yarn.

~Stay Inspired


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