Thursday, March 26, 2009

26 March: Spinning! Texture! Spring!

At last a whole morning when I could concentrate on some spinning.

Diane Varney's book "Spinning Designer Yarns" has sat on my shelf for quite a long time, while I was focusing on spinning straightforward even (-ish) yarns for knitting. The time was ripe for trying something new. Three-ply yarn is quite simple, and offers possibilities of fibre mixes which will take dye differently - that's another exciting area waiting for exploration.

Yesterday spiral and boucle yarn was the objective. Here comes some technical stuff, so just skip to the picture if you're not fascinated by the details.

I failed to spin soy silk alone into a suitable thread, so carded soy with some BFL (Blue Faced Leicester - it's the breed of sheep that grows that particular fleece/fibre) for the core thread.

Next a loose and thick strand of BFL; when you've spent months trying to get your thread fine and even, it's terribly difficult to make it erratic, but I did my best.

The next step is to ply the thicker wrapping thread loosely and spirally around the finer core thread. Again, normally the aim is even tension and equal plys, but it was fascinating to watch the looser-tensioned thick thread spiral around the finer one.

And lastly a fine thread is used, wound in the opposite direction, to bind the whole thing together. There was enough of the core soy/BFL to do a small skein; then I used a millspun cotton thread to bind the rest of the bobbin-ful of spiral yarn.

As a further experiment, I spun a small 2-ply skein of BFL, one single finer and even and one thick-and-thin and looser, and just plyed these 2 together, spiralling the thicker strand around the thinner one.

In the photo, the top skein is 2 strands of soy/BFL each side of looser BFL; the middle one is soy/BFL, BFL, and cotton; and the bottom one is 2 strands of BFL.

They all have slightly different feels, and the different fibres should make interesting dyeing (in the next day or two), and different textures in knitting (some time).

Aside from the spinning, we have primroses, miniature daffodils, bees, and more birds in the garden. Hedges have blossom and hawthorn leaves. The lawn needs mowing.

And a great flowering of charity collection bags - 3 dropped through the letter-box on Monday and a 4th on Tuesday.


tea and cake said...

ooh, this looks really exciting! I did understand some of the technical stuff, but even so - dyeing and knitting stuff you've spun - awesome!

stitchwort said...

Not only exciting, but also addictive!
I have to keep knitting, so that I can keep on spinning....