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February 8, 2010

From fiber to yarn

Here's one spinning project, from fiber to yarn. This is only my second project on the new wheel, so I am by no means an expert. Anything in my process seems wrong, do let me know in the comments..

I started with a braid of combed top from JulieSpins. Its 5.4 ounces of Falkland, in the colorway "Cornucopia." (this is her photo)

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It turns out that braids are not braids at all. They are one length of roving, crocheted into a chain! I unraveled the chain and thought about how to spin this. There was an area of yellow on one end, and an area of darker colors on the other, with some reds in between. In the finished yarn, I wanted the colors to be distributed throughout the yarn, so it wouldn't pool when knit up.

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I decided to do a 2-ply yarn and split the top lengthwise, into about equal amounts. Then I pulled off even skinnier lengths and pre-drafted them, creating little balls of fluffy fiber like these. I kept the balls of fiber from each of the original two halves separate, creating two equal piles, one per bobbin.

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Spinning begins! I enjoyed watching the colors change and create stripes on the bobbin. and falkland wool was terrific to work with.. it is smooth and elastic. I spun it as thin as I comfortably could.. need to work on even skinnier spinning!

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Spin, spin, spin. I decided to try scotch tension because I've only used double drive up until now.

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Below is the plying in progress. The yarn looks fuzzy in this image, I think its because of the direct sunlight. In real life its a smooth yarn. Plying took a surprising long time.. well I don't really know how long it typical; this took me about 3 hours.

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I plied until one bobbin ran out. Then I made a center-pull ball from the remaining single on the other bobbin, and asked Brian to be a "lazy husband" (like a lazy kate, get it?) and monitor the last of the yarn for tangles while I spun a two-ply from both ends of the ball.

The finished yarn: 452 yards of about dk-weight, maybe worsted. so many yards! What to knit with this, hmmm.. maybe legwarmers?

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This just in: When the two bobbins ended up at uneven weights after spinning, even though I'd divided the fiber equally beforehand, I figured I must have spun extra fiber on the first bobbin. Then, a week later, Brian found a ball of fiber under the bed. It turns out that Gus (our little fiber-loving cat) had taken it to his hiding spot! Got to keep an eye on that one..

Comments (8)

Sara:

pretty!

the only thing i would add is that it often isn't necessary to predraft. look up this post by abby (and her other posts for a wealth of information!)

http://abbysyarns.com/2007/10/drafting-predrafting-prep-and-control

Stephanie:

I don't really know anything about spinning, so thanks for explaining the entire process with photos. This yarn looks lovely with all the colors dispersed throughout. I can't wait to see what it looks like knitted up. You should be able to make a medium sized shawl with 450 yds of DK.

blb:

This is beautiful yarn! Great job! And you got a lot of yardage out of just 5.4 oz. Nice work!

mari:

yay! so many terms I don't understand - scotch tension! double drive! lazy kate! this is fun to see how yarn is spun!

That is some lovely handspun. It's so neat to see the transformation from roving to yarn. Your Gus sounds like my little Olias. Kitties can be so crafty!

Lucy:

LOVE your handspun yarn... gorgeous roving that's spun up into an even more gorgeous yarn. I am so impressed and so jealous that you can spin so well so quickly! Took me ages to be able to spin that fine, now I'm having to re-learn how to spin chunky yarn!

gorgeous! I'm about to start spinning the second half of a top I split lengthwise and I hope the colors are nice and mixed like yours when I'm done!

Oooh. It looks great. You got a great amount of yarn out of your fiber. Now I'm going to have to go fiber shopping because you've inspired me.

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