Monday, 28 March 2011

Day 1: A Tale of Two Yarns

Inspired by...

Day 1: Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

I have many yarn-related thoughts, but today I thought I'd use this as a great opportunity to finally post some of my handspun efforts. Back in November I posted about my first ever wheel spun yarn, and then... it all went very quiet. It seems that despite a wheel, and the workshop, I was left wondering whether I actually had a clue what I was doing and how to get what I wanted from my wheel (and even what I should want, what was I supposed to do next?). I did spin up one mini-skein (~30g) of chunky 3ply yarn using some of the blue fibre originally bought for spindle spinning (not just good intentions, some of it did get spindle spun). I then started on a full 100g braid of 'British Wool' in a colour that looked great as fibre and as singles, but when I finally started to ply it (again 3ply) the colours mingled in a less-than-attractive manner (pictures omitted, potentially with good reason).

So what's changed? And where's the yarn porn photography?

First, the photos:
  • On the right, some undyed Bluefaced Leicester spun one Sunday and Navajo/chain plied the following Sunday. There's about 27g of this in total and about 92 yards. It's not totally consistent, and the chain plying emphasises the unevenness of the singles, but both mini-skeins come out at approximately 20 wpi (laceweight)
  • On the left, some Shetland spun in the week following the BFL plying Sunday and plied with a strand of red laceweight strung with a selection of colourful wooden beads. This yarn is not beautiful (or at least not particularly well colour-coordinated) but it does demonstrate the technique. There's around 19g/33 yards at approximately 9 wpi (worsted) and the rest of the singles (spun from a 20g Fibreholics sample supplied by KnitCave) are still sat on my bobbins waiting to be something.
What changed? I took three fantastic classes at Purl City Yarns in Manchester. The classes, with Vikki Harding of Wildfire Fibres, covered:
  1. Generally becoming more familiar with your wheel (I finally started to get to grips with how to fiddle with things to get the yarn I'd like)
  2. chain plying
  3. art yarns (core spinning, carding exciting-looking batts, and beaded yarns)
The classes were exactly what I needed to build confidence with my wheel and inspire me to create some great yarns from my increasing fibre stash.

PS - Just for completion, this was the output of the core spinning:

Around 32g/38 yards of (overspun) 'art yarn'. Thick 'n' thin, but around 10 wpi (light worsted).

With thanks to Eskimimi for hosting :)
View other posts for day 1 here.
Todays tag: 2KCBWDAY1


  1. Wow... nice spinning!
    I drop spindle, but haven't attacked the wheel, yet.
    Maybe sometime soon!

  2. I'm getting excited about my handspun too! I did a weekend course with Vikki earlier this year, and learned loads!



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