Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Spinning Work in Progress

I'm finished spinning all the singles for my fleece-to-sweater project, the Oatmeal Cardigan. I just have to ply a bit more and set the twist. The whole process took a couple months to complete...I don't get a chance to sit down at my wheel and spin every day. If I did, it would probably have taken me a week or so.

wips 028

I love this yarn. Every time I sat down at the wheel with a fistful of soft gray Romney, I gave a blissful sigh that is normally reserved for when I get a deep-tissue massage.

I've been spinning the singles on my Kromski Minstrel (large wheel diameter means you can spin faster) and then plying on my Majacraft Gem (which has bigger bobbins so I can fit more on there).

Based on weight and guesstimation, I should end up with over 1300 yards of 3-ply worsted weight. That's a lot of singles! A bit mindless perhaps, but every fleece to sweater I've done has been a huge improvement over the last. I sampled several times (sampling is the spinner's equivalent of swatching) and knitted several swatches before finding the right spinning technique and settings to get the end result sweater that I want.

My first fleece to sweater was a bit of a crapshoot.

sheepy 122

Handspun shetland pullover

Perry Sweater

That was from a Shetland fleece from Wild Apple Hill Farm in Hudson, NY. His name was Perry.

Shetlands are great fleeces to start with. They are on the small side- usually 2-3 lbs, so won't be overwhelmed with fleece. They have little lanolin and very strait, silky locks so any dirt and grease comes out easily instead of hiding in the crimp. They usually have a very long staple length as well. As an added bonus, you can also get several colors in one fleece. This one was white, gray and reddish-chestnut.

I had the idea in my head that I wanted to make a cable sweater, but ended up with a chunky weight two ply and not nearly enough yarn for something cabled. The fact that I didn't sample at all and just jumped to the spinning part probably was a good indicator that I wouldn't get exactly what I had wanted. I abandoned the idea of cables and ended up with a simple rustic-looking pullover, which I love and wear all the time. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I think that this is a lemonade kind of sweater. As in, I made lemonade when I made myself a lemon of a yarn. But lemonade is good, regardless if you made it intentionally or not.

Lesson learned. Sampling good.

1 comment:

  1. The Romney yarn is fabulous. I am green with envy.