Apr 7 2009

Spinning and plying, plying and spinning

I am totally in heaven.

Handspun Handspun

Look at all this yarn!  I made it!

I even learned to Navajo ply* for the roving I dyed.   It’s fun and I like the three-ply yarn it makes.  It’s tricky to manage how twisty it gets, though, but I’m learning.

I used the Lazy Kate to double-ply the gray, and that was really easy.   So much easier than when I would do odd things to shoeboxes to ply with my spindle.

I haven’t set the twist on any of this yet, and I still haven’t finished spinning  all the dyed roving yet.  After I ply this bobbin, I’ll probably get another 1/2-3/4 bobbin full.  It’s interesting that the colors’ saturation vary quite a bit, but I really like that.

One of my challenges has been getting the whorl speed ratio thingie through my head.  Finally, after much reiteration and B’s help, I can tentatively say that smaller whorls make the wheel twist more without my having to treadle like crazy.  Very helpful for the tiny yarn I keep spinning.  I can’t seem to make a larger yarn evenly, but that’s ok.  I like little yarns, and it keeps me out of trouble.

*I kind of learned.  I watched some videos on YouTube, was mystified, went through the steps very closely, and figured out how to do it in a way that made sense to me.  The idea is that you start with a loop of your yarn tied to itself, then pass the yarn through the loop, making a subsequent loop.  Over and over.  FAST.  And if you want to preserve your color changes, you can slow down the wheel and make the loop end where the color changes.  It’s very cool!

Mar 31 2009

My New Spinning Wheel

Oh!  It’s so exciting!  It started out with a gigantic box:

Spinning Wheel in Cuccoon

And here’s a photo collage of the unpacking and assembling process:

A Brand New Ladybug Spinning Wheel

1. Opening the Box!, 2. The Ladybug Emerges, 3. Little Box of Accessories, 4. Detailed Assembly Instructions, 5. Accessories Unwrapped, 6. Double Treadle All Sunggled in its Blanket, 7. Double Treadle Yin and Yang. Kinda., 8. Getting the Wheel Out of the Box, 9. Getting Ready for Feet, 10. Unwrapping the Mother of All, 11. Am I Missing Pieces?, 12. Attaching the Treadles to the, um, Thingies. Footmen., 13. Attaching the Bobbin and Flyer.

I had so much fun taking each piece out and trying to figure out what it was.  The instructions are very detailed and have fantastic pictures to help you figure out what they’re talking about.  The lingo reminds me of sailor jargon.  “Stow the jib in the fo’c’sle, Matey!”

I was a little worried that I was missing some parts, as I matched up what I had with the list, but it turned out that they had already assembled one of the pieces of hardware, which was a relief.

Then I got to spinnin’!

Learning to Spin on the Wheel Not Bad for a First Timer

I can’t believe how much faster this is.  I mean, sure, intellectually I understand the idea of gear ratios, etc.  But the wool, nay the YARN flies through my fingers.  It’s so fast I can hardly see it happening.  And I’ve worked on the long-draw drafting method a bit.  It definitely takes a leap of faith from inchworming.

I do want to get a Woolee Winder eventually.  The hooks are kinda annoying, but only because I get hypnotized by the spinning and get a giant lump in one place before I remember to switch hooks.

I’ve since plied the two bobbins of natural gray Swalesdale.  I’ll post pictures next time.  Next up – the dyed roving!  The Swalesdale wool is fairly coarse, so I haven’t decided what I’ll do with it yet.  It may make a pretty and sturdy knitting bag…