I did it!! I produced a usable skein of yarn! My 70s Kitchen hand spun is washed, whacked and skein-ed up ready for a project.
I started with four ounces of 100% alpaca and ended up with 88 grams and 56 yards of a bulky yarn. It might be super bulky in some spots. It is a little ropey and still has some twist to the finished skein but I’m super proud.
I am pretty sure I want to knit with this right away. I did some Ravelry searching and found the Alpakka Har by Cait St. George that the toddler size would be just perfect for my yardage. As long as I hit gauge that is. But it’s a basic beanie so I think I can fudge it as needed.
I was flying on the high of successfully plying on my spinning wheel that I decided to attempt to now spin on it. I pulled out some 100% BFL from Jakira Farms from my recently updated stash and pre-drafted the roving.
I fared much better this time than my first few attempts. I did actually succeed at getting the yarn spun on to the wheel. I’m still struggling to figure out the treadling and drafting motion of my hands all as once coherent movement. This first little bit spun VERY thick and mostly over spun. I think I needed to perhaps pre-draft the roving a little more aggressively? I weighed the braid and split it in the middle. Then I took each half and drafted out the fibers to loosen them up.
Both my frustration and the ambient temperature quickly heated up so I put it aside for the time being. I know learning is an uphill curve for awhile when doing a new skill. I’m just ready to be “good” so I can find the zen of it and make usable and pretty yarn. I honestly just need more patience and more practice, both of which are in short supply here lately. Time to give myself a literal and metaphorical break!
The day came this weekend for me to have been couped up in my house with littles just a teeny bit too long and it made me brave enough to attempt plying on my spinning wheel. I pulled out my well rested 70s kitchen themed singles and made a spinning oasis on my back patio sans kids.
I made a couple of lazy kates out of some amazon boxes and two wooden straigh knitting needles. I made sure to load my biggest bobbin and practiced treadling in the correct direction. Mind you I spun these counter clockwise on my drop spindle so I was plying the clockwise on my spinning wheel.
I also took a minute to enjoy the kid free silence and salute my heat wilted garden with a cup of hot coffee. I’m Scandinavian and we like our coffee hot and strong all year round. It’s genetic I think…we can down hot coffee on a 98 degree day and not miss a beat!
After a few false starts/stops and some occasional over plying….I made a successful two-ply yarn!! It’s thick and thing and all over the place with how I plied it. But dang it….it’s yarn and it holds together. I might even be able to knit something from this yarn!
My bobbin has been set aside to rest for 24 hours and which I will wash and whack the skein. I’m really interested to see how many yards I got out of 4 ounces of alpaca!
As predicted I couldn’t help myself and my newest fiber jumped right on to my spindle. I mean how could I not? After all, I used an entire child nap time/free time to carefully pre-draft the whole 4 ounces of fiber!
This 100% Corriedale is a new to me fiber. It drafts like a dream and really feels very soft after drafting. But it’s spinning up much thicker than my last merino project. Maybe its the fiber, maybe I’m rusty? Either way I’m letting the fiber tell me what it wants to be and I’m just enjoying the process.
The brand new braid of Corriedale was staring at me from my home office desk. And I just couldn’t help myself. During PB’s nap time, I used my mom free time to prep this fiber for spinning. With a podcast playing in my ears, it was a pretty zen way to spend an hour or so.
I split the braid in half lengthwise and then just gently pre-drafted each half. I took a photo after I finished the first half so you can see how much it fluffed up! It really lets the air in and softens how the fibers feel. I’m guessing it won’t be long before this jumps on the spindle! I think my plan will be spin each half as singles and start from the second one from the opposite end of the color progression.
My unabashed self caring buying continues. This week I had a couple of packages show up on the same day from two indie small businesses. It made for a happy mail day indeed! Today is also my 13th wedding anniversary so I’m going to count these as presents from the hubby, hehehehehe.
First up is an adorable bunny stitch marker from Hannah of The Corner of Craft in the UK. I think this will go right on to my Radiate as a progress marker!
Next up is some fiber and yarn from BlueBerry Chick yarn in South Carolina. I got her some Corriedale in her limited edition Tequila Sunrise color. And then I picked up some gradiate sock yarn minis in her Pansy fade.
I’m thinking the fiber is going to skip stash and go right on to my drop spindle. It is soooo summery that I just think it’s destiny.
I had split the 4 ounces of fiber into two halves and spun two sets of singles. I have now wound both of them onto bobbins from my spinning wheel to rest. How long they will rest….probably until I’m brave enough and have the brain space to watch plying tutorials.
The world is chaotic right now and my heart aches for all the pain that exists. I have been taking time to reflect, read and educate myself. I have found this to be taking up some of my crafting time, and I’m okay with it because it’s important. So these singles may have a good long nap ahead of them. But that is okay too.
I hope you all are safe and honestly doing the best you can. Virtual hugs to you all!!
Summer is heating up here in Kansas and I’m finding myself outside a lot more with the kiddos. We stick pretty close to home these days and are finding new ways to use the spaces and in and around our house.
I got a few moments this past weekend to sip my favorite beer and do some spinning on the back patio. The kids managed to entertained themselves nicely and for long enough I added a decent amount of alpaca spinning project. I’m still practicing my drafting with the park and draft method.
I’m found myself staring at these colors and thinking “these look like a 1970s kitchen”. There is a lot of gold, orange, yellow with tiny amounts of blue and avocado green.The yarn is getting easier to make consistent. Prepping the roving into thin strips really helped me draft in a continuous and even manner.
This represents about half of the 4 ounces of roving that I started with. I think I’ll wind this off onto a spinning wheel bobbin so that I can start spinning the other half. I’m still working up the nerve to take some YouTube lessons on how to ply yarn on a wheel. For now I’m content with just making pretty singles and letting them rest.
Happy Memorial Day to all! I hope everyone is safe and happy today.
I decided to start something new today. After finishing off some small handspun recently, I felt the itch to start a larger spinning project. Perhaps even one I would try to make as a 2-ply yarn?
This is 4 ounces of alpaca roving in kind of rusty oranges and browns. It’s a little compact from long term storage but I think it’s workable. I’m going to use my larger/heavier drop spindle and then perhaps my wheel to ply? I don’t care for the colors so it seems perfect to practice new things on because I won’t care if it gets messed up!
I split the roving in half by weight and then stripped the roving into smaller and thinner strips to pre-draft it and take some the compression out. I then wound that first half (lightly) into a ball and put in a project bag. I’m hoping that this improved fiber prep will help me make thinner yarn and more consistent yarn.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a knowledgeable spinner. I have no idea what I’m doing or what most things are called. I’m just amusing my self during social distancing by bumbling my way through some fiber.
I have finished both my skeins of handspun from my spindle experiment! I dare say I might be getting the hang of this to some degree
The first skein I finished was one ounce of an unknown merino. I ended up with a bulky weight single that after washing and whacking was 27 grams and 31 yards of yarn. I definitely have some over and under spun parts but its holding together and not twisting up on itself as badly as my first attempt. For this one I used a smaller and lighter wooden drop spindle.
The second skein I finished was one ounce of an unknown merino batt. Again I ended up with a bulky weight single that after washing and whacking was 28 grams and 34 yards of yarn. Almost exactly the same as the first one. And for this one I used the heavier and larger maple drop spindle.
All in all, I made two successful yarns. Both are not perfect but I learned a lot about my drafting technique/ability and how best to finish my singles. Now…what should I spin next??