Spinning cashmere and silk fiber. Only a little yarn was produced before the cocoon of threads slipped off the spindle and drifted to the floor. I’ll start again, but I think the weather calls for wool. Wool and thoughts of a spinning wheel…..
Hand-Dyed Shetland Wool by hello yarn in Landscape
I became obsessed with spinning this fiber last week. Each evening I would spin different colours. Green grass one day, fuchsia sky the next. Saturday morning I plied it, set the twist and put it outside to dry for the rest of the afternoon. Spinning still comes second to knitting. It’s something I do in spurts. But I can’t help admit that while spinning up this particular Shetland wool top the desire to make the huge mental and financial jump from spindle to wheel grew greater as these colours twisted round each other.
As for my knitting, I’ve been working on this. All other projects are on hold. Stockinette stitch is what I need now & so that’s what I must knit.
I found myself reaching for some yak/merino fleece while at The Yarn Tree the other day – curious about this fiber after seeing it here and here.
So I added it to the bunch of small bags of fiber to test spin. Mongolian cashmere/mulberry silk, merino in gold, sand colored baby alpaca and cream-colored yak/merino. I spun up a bit of each to get the feel of various fibers before committing to one that would fill my spindle. The cashmere/silk was trouble, the most difficult fiber I’ve spun yet. (I think it was the silk.) The merino was easy. The baby alpaca fast. The yak/merino perfect – so I spun up more. Smooth spinning and so soft. While plying the yak/merino using the Andean plying bracelet method, one ply split and coiled its way into the bracelet. I took it off my wrist and it became more of a mess, so I untangled it and wound it onto a niddy noddy. After setting the twist of the singles and two-ply with steam, I hung them on each end of a hanger to dry. I love the inconsistencies of the two-ply. Overspun beads next to airy plies. And since I don’t want to knit it up right away (need to take in the finished handspun high for a few days or weeks) I needed some yak to knit. Shokay, 100% pure yak down in an earthy color. All set up on my coffee table: yak yarn, needles, a print out of A Scarf Askew and The Natural Knitter (more on this book tomorrow).
Just looking at this fiber makes me forget the piercing cold wind that’s whipping around outside.
I decided to take a short break from the needles and spent the weekend spinning some blue face leicester and alpaca from the yarn tree. Making yarn. Delicate movements, the rhythm of drafting in fiber, winding on the twists, very addictive.
Rain and gusts of wind swirled around us while walking the dog late last night. After cleaning off her muddy paws I put on the teapot and finally got around to setting the twist on my latest handspun. I spun this fiber over the course of many evenings and it seemed to fit my mood and match the weather of late. Early this morning things had dried up and I was able to take a quick picture of the yarn before heading out for the day.
baby alpaca top from the yarn tree
Hope you all have a great weekend filled with yarn and needles.
singles yarn (Baby Alpaca Top) and two-ply yarn (Blue Face Leicester & Alpaca)1
This past weekend I learned the Andean plying method – you wind the singles yarn onto your hand and then respin them together on the drop spindle in the opposite direction. The goal is to respin the yarn so it is balanced (the Z-twist and S-twist energies neutralize one another).
I washed the handspun in warm water and then let them dry – which took longer than expected. But after a few days, the two-ply really bloomed!
Rx Reading: Spin It by Lee Raven, Interweave Press. A great little book that gives step-by-step instructions on how to spin and includes a few patterns.
1 Fiber Source: The Yarn Tree
Thanks to Linda and Caroline at the Yarn Tree for the excellent instruction, fiber talk and all around fun. (Hi Barley!)