Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Make mine a double, please...

handspun sock yarn 016Remember that handspun Lady of the Lake sock yarn I posted about a little while back? You know, the merino/silk/glitz/cotswold combo thingie from our batts of the same name? Well, let's just say that there has been some repetition going on here this week. I just couldn't stop myself. Actually, I've spun up more skeins of other yarns but these two, alone, get the petting and wooing this week. Two more skeins from the same batch of batts in 15 wpi, fingering wgt. sock yarn bliss. Naturally, I was all too busy patting myself on the back. I even had a coffee with cream and sugar just to feel like I was treating myself to some luxury - hands working so hard and all.

handspun sock yarn 012I've been a little timid about spinning sock yarn. There's no disputing that it takes quite a bit more time but this week I just didn't let that deter me one bit. Okay, once I did but that was during the plying when I broke down from the monotony of plying two very teeny strands for what seemed like eternity. A few years ago at a spinning meeting, I watched a woman plying and knew right away that she was the one to focus on. While many spinners make the mistake of thinking that plying either should be so tight that the yarn practically springs off the skeiner when wound or that plying is 'easy' and can be done super fast and with wild abandon, such freedom is not bestowed upon sock yarn spinners. The plying is of the utmost importance. Sure, you can go faster than when spinning (and thank all deities of your choice or else I'd have had to take many self-imposed 'time-outs' to get the job done) but needs to be rhythmical to obtain an even, soft, springy and thin yarn. When, at last, I was done, I had two shimmery, sweet, soft and squee-inducing skeins of about 100 yds per ounce.

dez's handspun rainbow pencil roving - sockyarnDon't worry, I'm not about to let it go to my head. Well, maybe I did just a little but I was quickly knocked sober by the email I got from Dez wherein she included this pic of some rainbow dyed roving she bought from the shop a while ago. Don't get me wrong, the email was very flattering. And, the yarn? I mean, I felt like glowing. But, the quality of the spinning caught my gloating eyes and I knew right away that my self image of 'spinster supreme' was deflating like a balloon with a pin hole in it. Clearly, many a spinner can spin a gorgeous sock wgt. yarn. Thanks, Dez, for sharing the pic, for the good feelings your kind words about our fibers always inspire, and for saving me from myself - who knows how big the ole head might have gotten had I not been reminded that there are many fabulous spinners in this world - you being one, of course.

And, a quick Q&A from the same post about the first skein:

Carrie asked: Do you find spinning with the glitz in your affects how constant you can keep the width?

Actually, I don't with one exception. The glitz has to be very evenly disbursed throughout the batt. If there are large blobs of glitz in a batt (which is something we work very hard to avoid having in our batts) that swath will sometimes feed through with a great bulge. It not only looks bad in the spun yarn but changes the texture of that portion of string and, thus, also changes the consistency of the spinning.

Michelle and Sharon (your link didn't come up, sorry) both wanted to know how I get so much spinning done with kids in the house.

Things 1, 2, and 3 are rarely an obstacle to my spinning time. Even when they were tots, they sat mesmerized by the whirl and swirl of the wheel. Also, my favorite times to spin are 1) after we've spent a morning working on projects, schoolwork, etc. - so they are keen to get rid of mean ole mom for a while and have a recess and 2) while we watch a movie together - so they barely notice I'm alive and 3) when they are in bed, hubster is shaking the walls with snoring and all is peaceful and quiet. It cuts down on the sleep I get but with pre-teens, teens, an 8 yr. old, dogs, cats, hamsters, bird, chickens, pigs, a whole herd of sheep, and a hubster - I'm so desperate for a few minutes of peace and quiet that I don't mind the bags under the eyes to get it. And, lastly #4 reason that I get so much spinning done would be the hubster. Since we started working on the farm, the fiber business, and life in general as a team this man has turned into a dream! No, you cannot even borrow him. I no longer do ALL the cooking, ALL the cleaning or ALL the kid-tending. Truth be told, he does more than I at the present moment (let's not forget there is a deficit of about the first 12 of our 15 yrs. together whenst he was rarely home and I, alone, was the dog on the job). Did I say that was the last one? I was wrong. Reason #5 that I can get so much spinning done is the fact that I do not desire to live in a cell. Truly! Even if I'm too busy to brush my hair - I will at sporadic times of the day stop at the wheel for a ten minute 'break' to spin a little string. This is where I think. It is where I collect myself when there are seemingly foolish arguments between the people of my immediate circle that I need to resolve. This is where I develop my lesson plans for the week. It was where I decided to forgo ordering chinese cabbage seeds (because the stuff bolts so quick and I don't like chemicals but am also not fond of little green worms) and just stick with the daikon radish that (I think) makes a better kimchi anyway. It is where I go when I think I might be fool enough to tell aforementioned knight in shining armor just where he can shove his chain mail. It is also the place where I go just to make some pretty, soft string that will be a comfort to me or some other knitter/crocheter on the edge when the soup starts to come to a boil. Who knows, it may have saved a life!