Spinning Improvement

As you know, dear reader, I decided to take up the ancient art of spindling last July, and in October, I joined the ranks of wheel spinners. In the year (almost) that I have been spinning, I have made a lot of progress.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not anywhere near being a master spinner. I probably will never be close to being a master spinner. I’m just not interested in all the really technical stuff. The only thing I really care about is being able to produce yarn that I like. I still have a lot to learn, but I think I have reached the point where I produce singles that are consistent in both size and twist.

My default singles are quite fine, so fine that when I ply two of them together, I get a lace-weight yarn, and when I ply three of them together, I get a fingering-weight yarn. And four of them plied together results in a nice sport-weight yarn. My singles have become a lot more consistent, with much less variation in the thickness and amount of twist, and my plying has improved to the point that my finished skeins are virtually always nicely balanced. I’ve come a long way from my first attempts at making yarn.

Do you remember my very first yarn? I spun this from a sample that came with a “toy wheel” spindle that I bought to get started.

My very first yarn, a Shetland/mohair blend spun and plied on a spindle.

My very first yarn, a Shetland/mohair blend was spun and plied on a spindle.

There’s a lot of thick and thin, and some parts are over-spun, but all in all, it’s a pretty darned good first effort.

My second yarn, which was spun and plied on a Knit Picks Turkish spindle, also has a lot of variation in the thickness.

My second yarn, Wool of the Andes spun on a Turkish spindle.

My second yarn, Wool of the Andes,was spun on a Turkish spindle.

When I first finished this yarn, I was horrified by how inconsistent it looked. But looking at it now, I see a gorgeous art yarn that I probably couldn’t replicate no matter how hard I tried.

I will probably keep these two skeins forever. I love them too much to ever part with them or knit them up.

My first two skeins of handspun yarn.

My first two skeins of handspun yarn

My spinning has advanced a lot since these first attempts. I recently finished what I consider to be my very best yarn to date. The fiber is Wool of the Andes Roving from Knit Picks (which isn’t roving at all but, rather, combed top) that I spun and plied on my Ladybug.

Two lovely skeins of handspun yarn

Two lovely skeins of handspun yarn

This is my most consistent yarn yet. The singles have very little variation, and the plying is very consistent.

Beautifully consistent and balanced.

Beautifully consistent and balanced

It’s a lovely fingering-weight 3-ply yarn that I’m itching to knit up into something.

A fine 3-ply yarn

A fine 3-ply yarn

It’s hard to believe that these two skeins of yarn were spun from the same type and preparation of fiber but the same spinner.

My best and my first

My best and my first

What a difference a year makes.

DSC03028_2

I’ve come a long way as a spinner in just one year.

It’s time to try some new fibers and techniques and to add some new skills. Here we go!

FO Friday–Does This Count?

I’m really not sure whether this counts as a finished object, but since it is as close as I can come to a finished object today, I’m going to say, Yes! It’s a finished object! After all, this is my blog, and I’m the boss of my blog. 🙂

So, here’s my finished object–a bobbin full of Blue and Green Merino/mohair blend fiber from Wolf Creek Wools.

Spun on my Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel

As you can see from the picture, I have another hank of the fiber to spin. I’m going to start spinning it later today. My original plan was to make this yarn into a true 3-ply, because my first attempt at chain-plying on my wheel was, um, abysmal. But now that my abysmally chain-plied yarn has been washed, dried, and skeined, I’m thinking it actually looks not all that bad.

Mini-skein of Wool of the Andes top spun and chain-plied on my Ladybug

Yes, it is definitely over-plied in places. And the yarn isn’t as balanced as I would like.

This close-up show how over-plied this yarn is.

But it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be before I set the twist. In fact, it isn’t really all that bad, especially considering it was my first effort at chain-plying on my wheel. So now I’m thinking I’ll chain-ply the Blue and Green singles on my wheel. Once I get the tension properly adjusted, I think the results will be better than with the red singles. And it won’t hurt that the Blue and Green singles are a lot more consistent than the red ones.

Hey, I just realized something. The red mini-skein definitely counts as a finished object. LOL

Not Just Another WIP Wednesday

I didn’t post anything last Wednesday because I was traveling, but I’m going to make up for it today. It’s not just any old WIP Wednesday because it’s my birthday, and the birthday present I received from my DH is part of my featured WIP.

It started this morning with a large box.

My birthday box

I wonder what could be in the box?

Read the label!

Holy smokes! A Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel!

 

Look in the box

I unpacked the box.

What’s in the box

The only assembly required is to attach the treadles.

Just attach the treadles

It’s so simple, even I was able to do it all by my lonesome, although my DH went down to the basement to fetch the tools I needed, a flat screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, and a small wrench. I’m not very handy with tools, but I was able to attach the treadles with little difficulty.

In case you are wondering what is in the white box,

What’s in the other box

it’s the hardware for attaching the treadles, the orifice hook, the drive band for using the wheel in double drive (I’m using Scotch tension), the flyer, and the bobbins. The bobbin on the flyer already had some white yarn spun on it. I played with it for a few minutes, treadling and letting the yarn go onto the bobbin and pulling it off, trying to get the feel of the process. Within five minutes or so, I was making yarn. The red yarn is mine, spun from Knit-Picks Wool of the Andes roving.

I’m spinning!

And here is this week’s WIP.

WotA single, my first wheel-spun yarn

When I first started treadling my wheel, the treadles squeaked, but after treadling for a while, the squeak diminished, then disappeared. I’m amazed at how quiet the wheel is, and it’s very stable. I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos of spinners spinning on wheels, and a lot of wheels wobble when the drive wheel is spinning, but the Ladybug doesn’t wobble at all.

Isn’t it pretty? I love the red drive wheel.

My Ladybug with fiber attached

And now to answer the big question.

Can you find the ladybug?

 

Hi’s and Lo’s

With the Summer Olympics in full swing, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting and spinning while watching coverage of the Games on television. The Spider Queen is almost 4/5s completed. I have started the edging of the 3rd border and the edging should be done by the end of the week. Then there will be just one border to go.

The lovely turquoise Corriedale fiber is now spun into singles. I spun half of the fiber on my beautiful Kundert high whorl spindle, but the second half I spun on my new Schacht Hi-Lo spindle using the spindle as a low whorl.

Schacht Hi-Lo 1.1-oz spindle used as low whorl

My verdict on this spindle is that it works very well as a low whorl spindle. My verdict on low whorl spindling in general is that I absolutely love it. My verdict on Corriedale is that it is a wonderful fiber and an excellent choice for a novice spindler. It is easy to draft and easy to control. All that’s left to do is ply the singles and set the twist.

Corriedale singles awaiting plying

The Wool of the Andes in Sapphire Heather is nearly all spun. The first half of the fiber was spun on the little guy–the .75-oz spindle I bought that is made from a wooden dowel and toy wheel. The second half of the fiber is being spun on the 2.2-oz Schacht Hi-Lo.

Wool of the Andes Sapphire Heather in progress

Once again, I’m using the Hi-Lo as a low whorl spindle. The heavier spindle definitely spins longer than the lighter one, but it spins slower, so I sometimes have to give the yarn an extra spin before winding it onto the shaft to ensure that it has enough twist. I don’t have much of this fiber left to spin and will probably have it finished before the day is over.

Not much left to spin

The Sapphire singles are pretty thin and I’m considering leaving them unplied and using the yarn for a lace shawl or scarf. This yarn had a lot of depth in the color as well as a beautiful shimmer. I’m thinking that it wants some beads. What do you think?

Blue, Blue, And More Blue

I have to admit that I’m partial to the color blue. Both of my current spinning projects involve blue fiber.

Half of the turquoise Corriedale fiber is spun. Doesn’t the cop look lovely on the Kundert spindle?

And I’ve got a nice start on the Wool of the Andes Sapphire Heather. I love how the roving shimmers.

And look what I received in the mail today.

The fiber is Polwarth from Sunset Fibers in the Blue Lagoon color way. Yes, more blue yarn!

The spindles are Schacht Hi-Lo spindles. I bought them from The Woolery in Frankfort, Kentucky, which is where I purchased my Kundert spindle and the turquoise Corriedale. The big Schacht is the 3-inch model that weighs 68 grams; the small one is the 2.5-inch model that weighs 33 grams. The Hi-Lo is designed to be used as both a high-whorl and a low-whorl spindle, which makes them versatile.

As you have already guessed, I’m dying to give the new spindles a whirl. I think I’ll spin up the rest of the Corriedale on the small Schacht using it as a low whorl and see how it compares to the Kundert. It’s so much fun to be a spindler!

Fridays Are For Finished Objects

No entertainment value here, just a straight-up FO report. I finished spinning and plying the green roving that I ordered from Knit Picks when I decided I just had to learn to spin. The color way is Aurora Heather, the fiber Wool of the Andes Peruvian Highland wool.

The WotA fiber is nicely prepared and has little VM to pick out. I have found it easy to spin, so I’d definitely recommend it for a beginning spindler.

I don’t think I did a very good job of plying this yarn. I should have put more twist into it. The yarn isn’t very springy. Live and learn.

Let’s Open A Package!

It’s time to open the package I received from Knit Picks last Friday. Will you help me? Oooooh! Look at this!

Package from Knit Picks has been opened!

Let’s remove the packing material.

Let’s take out the Wool of the Andes fiber–100 grams each in Sapphire Heather, Aurora Heather, and Natural.

Knit Picks niddy noddy and Turkish spindle

Now let’s take out the niddy noddy and spindle.

A book about spinning on a spindle

Thank you, dear reader, for helping me open and unpack my package.