Sunday, September 04, 2011

This Is How It Goes

This is how it goes when I spin when I spin on a spindle. First, I pile on as much fiber as possible onto the little guy. The spindle only weighs about 16 grams, but the light weight allows me to spin very fine so I can ply three very fine singles to make a thin-ish yarn. In this picture I'm referring to the second spindle, the out of focus spindle, with the green fiber. I posted this picture a few posts ago.
So, I don't really care to ply from my spindle - a phrase, by the way, wrought with meaning in the world of spinners - so I wind it off onto a storage bobbin. The bobbins I use were recommended by one of my spinning heroes, Judith MacKenzie McCuin. They are generally used by weavers for storing small amounts of yarn. Judith has a whole philosophy about how a spinner can use these bobbins in the plying stage of the game. I will restrain myself from explaining it except to say: she's so damned wise.

Anyway. I spun up a little more than what you see here,  and wound it off onto one of my wee storage bobbins.
It's about 16 grams of fiber. I REALLY stretched the limits of the little spindle. There's some engineering involving rotation and gravity and twist per inch and how it translates to strength, and I read all of this in a book and was mostly lost in the math. Bottom line: a spindle can generally hold it's weight in fiber. I didn't make that up. I read that somewhere too, though not in the same place I read about the engineering and string theory (ha ha) as it pertains to spinning. Time to ply.

I wish I'd taken a picture of my slapdash "lazy kate." I'd love to know the origin of the name for the device that holds a bobbin from which you pull string/thread/yarn. I have a perfectly good one but it's very fiddly so I stuck a 3/8" steel rod into the spout of a teapot and put the bobbin onto the steel rod. It's quite silly looking and works marvelously if you only need to use one bobbin. On the other hand, if you have multiple teapots you can press them into use for multiple bobbins for plying two, three, four, or more strands into yarn. I'm using a single bobbin to make a three-ply yarn! Ahhh! It's magic! Nah, actually it's called Navajo plying and it is slick. 
So many colors! My goal with this round of spinning was to see how much I could fit on the spindle, and I just used whatever little samples of fiber I had lying around my desk. There's some black alpaca, creamy white cormo, dark green cormo/mohair blend, a short length of bright green mystery wool, and some teal/green/blue targhee. I was also interested to see how each of these would spin on the wee spindle. I'm still struggling with the right tool configuration for alpaca. I have so much of this fiber that there is no shortage of opportunity.
Cellphone picture. See, this little skein of yarn isn't very big. That's what 16g plied sock-weight fiber looks like.
The neat thing about this type of plying is that you can retain the color sequences of the fiber you've spun without a great deal of thought or advance planning. I've done the "split the roving lengthwise into three pieces and spin each separately, then ply." Yeah, I've done that a couple of times and all the colors SHOULD mostly line up but so far, for me, they haven't. Maybe my planning is less than wonderful. Maybe I'm impatient (ooh, rings a bell...). Now that I've figured out how to Navajo ply it's just about all I want to do. I'll deal with the other when I begin plying four, five, or more strands. 

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