A Spinning Marathon

As I am still waiting for some weaving supplies to turn up (that is the problem buying a product made in New Zealand) I decided to spin up some roving in my stash.  I may have mentioned that I bought some wool and silk blend laps when I ordered a packer brush for my drum carder from Wingham Wool Works (WWW).  I hadn’t purchased them before, so it was nice to see the lovely selection they sent me.  Oh, so soft, with silk in most pieces and 21 micron.  I also purchased a mixed bag of Northern Lights (23 micron) from World of Wool (WOW).  This is a good way of sampling roving without being totally committed and the pieces are not much longer than a meter.  I also spun up two different 19 micron mixed blends from DHG Italy I had, one in red and one in orange.

A word about mixed blend roving or tops: as a felter, the best way to use them is for cobweb scarves.  You must pull out the fibers and stretch them from the sides to get the lovely effect of the stripes.  If you just pull out the staples as normal or in clouds, you will totally lose the effect of the coloration.  This would be a waste of money as this type of roving is more expensive and you won’t get a nice looking product.  I have done this, so I know.  Thank goodness for making samples.  As a spinner, they are excellent and you get a lot of variation when splitting the roving into sections and spinning them up.  If you want to use them for felting, then get the finest you can and I have found the DHG to be the softest at 19 micron, though the colors can be limited. If you have a drum carder or blending board, then you can always make your own blend.

IMG_1008This is the first batch I made and is mostly from the WWW pack.  They all have silk in them.  Some of the pieces were short, so If I had a plain color that matched, I just carried on spinning it to stretch it out.  I did this for the first one on the left and the green in the middle.  Plying two different colors such as a solid with a blend does give a different effect to the yarn than if it is plied on itself as I usually do with the ball method of plying.  This doesn’t concern me too much here as all of this yarn will be used in weaving.

IMG_1011I spun and plied similar colors on one bobbin as I had loads of room on the bobbins.  I am sure I am not the only one who does this.  On the red bobbin, I spun a meter of roving that I hand dyed with food coloring.  I think it is 23 mic merino from WOW.  I had this sitting around for a little while now and was concerned it would totally felt on itself.  The dyeing changed the texture a little bit, but surprisingly it spun very well from the roving without drafting it out first.  It was quite crimpy too and didn’t try to get away from me like some roving can.  It is not as smooth and silky as the other merino, but a little bit of Woolite in the soak helped.  Here is the roving I dyed with food coloring.



This is what came off of those four bobbins!  The sock octopus is really handy for drying yarn.  I also had some drying on the line.

IMG_1017I spun a rainbow!  Someone asked me in one of the spinning groups how I got my yarn so nice and chunky.  Well, it isn’t intentional.  All of this is apparently worsted spinning when spinning from tops or when the fiber is all going in the same direction.  You use the short draw method for this.  I try to spin my yarn as thin as possible and I know I have come a very long way from when I first started a couple of months ago.  However, between plying and soaking and drying, it always ends up like this, so I doubt I will ever achieve a super fine spin.  However, I do get a very lovely and soft yarn that I can wear next to my skin and I know I am getting better as the strands are quite strong that I can use some as warp.

Here is the rainbow yarn on the bobbin.


I love the variations you get when spinning multi-colored yarn.  Here is what it looks like all spun and dried.

IMG_1019Its the one on the left.  The colors are more subdued once the yarn is plied.  I have now finished all of the Northern Lights.  The grey came out really nice too and I decided to spin up some of the plain blue that came in a free pack.  It is nice to have plain colored yarn in your work to calm the eyes.  So that’s it for the merino.  I had four colors left of some mystery wool that was in the Woolly Wednesday freebie.  It is the bottom four below.  

IMG_E0845I didn’t know what I was going to do with these four as they are quite coarse.  I wouldn’t knit or felt with these.  I decided that I could always use them in tapestry weaving for a wall hanging.  So, I spun them up too.  For good measure, I also threw in a bit of English 56s that I hand dyed with food coloring.  I used this in a wall hanging last year and have some left over.  It is a tough felter, but someone told me it spins well.



I don’t have photos of my plying of the black or rust roving, however, they all spun up very well and I think the coarseness of the wool made it really easy to spin a very fine and thin single yarn.  It was thin enough to use for needlepoint and  is my finest spinning yet.  The finest turned out to be the English 56s.  Although I make quite a twisty single, when I wound them on the bobbin for plying, I didn’t have any crazy loops popping out of the balls as I do with the merino.  Here they are all soaked and dried, ready to use.

IMG_1027The black is the coarsest followed by the orange English 56s.  The others are just a little bit softer.  They all look like yarn I see other people spin.  I have far less thick and thin in these and mainly got a consistent thin yarn.  As a yarn, I am really happy with these, but I really love spinning my merino, even though it is a little bit chunky.  It is more smooth and shiny, even without the silk.

I can’t believe I spun all of this in less than 7 days!  I am now giving my hands a rest and doing a bit of weaving!

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