Friday, January 27, 2017

Through Thick and Thin: Spinning a Good Yarn

Last week I spent a couple of days spinning. It's the only activity I know that is more Zen than knitting. When you really, really want to go into that deep meditative zone, nothing works like spinning, either with a spindle or a wheel. I was using my wheel because I wanted to get a lot done in a short time, and also because I wanted my yarn to be "woollen spun". For non-spinners out there, that means I wanted the twist to enter the wool DURING the drafting process, not after, as happens when yarn is "worsted spun". Although I was using combed top (plain vanilla Corriedale, to be precise), I used the long draw method to draft and spin, resulting in an airy, squishy wool. And because I wanted the effect of a thick and thin yarn, I worked a bit to achieve that result. Yes, that's right, I had to work to produce a thick and thin wool. The thing is, when you are a novice spinner, your aim is to make everything as even as possible. Once you've accomplished that goal, it's actually hard to let go and simply allow the spinning to happen a bit more haphazardly. If you can manage to do that, it's incredibly liberating. Here's what I ended up with:



The wool is somewhere between a DK and worsted weight. It could be knitted at a sweater gauge as a DK, but because there's so much loft in it, it's lovelier knitted a little loosely at a worsted gauge on a 4.5mm needle. I know I earlier described the fibre as "plain vanilla Corriedale", but in truth it's more like vanilla scraped directly from the vanilla pod to flavour a luscious French custard. I adore Corriedale, especially the special way it blooms after washing. I used it for my handspun Zora, and I've loved it ever since.
As for what I intend to do with this, just catch a glimpse of the blue book underneath the wool. Yup, it's good 'ol Barbara Walker. The first and still the best source for inspiration.

2 comments:

  1. There's nothing so wonderful as knitting with your own handspun yarn. And it feels so much better when ON too. I just wish sheep came in Fuchsia, Plum & Lime . . .

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