In the past couple of years I’ve occasionally posted something about spinning or other topics related to turning fibers into thread or yarn. I really want to focus on this more, so I got it in my head to set aside Tuesday’s to share some kind of spinning article or other fiber-related fun.
Want to come along and play with me? To give you an idea of what I have in mind, here’s a brief review of a sampling of past articles like those I have in mind.
Another aspect of spinning and fiber-play is the “toys of our trade”. I have plenty of stories to share there. I can even help give you justification for your obsession such as this article on Deco-organizing a spindle collection.
I hope you’ll join me over the next several weeks. Tell your friends. The more the merrier. And that will encourage me to do even more. If you are interested in something particular, do leave comments and I will put it on the agenda. Spinn-i-o!
I have some photos to share from a “cotton study” project I did quite some time ago. It was always my intent to do a write-up with the pictures, but you know how intentions can sometimes go by the wayside. Here I am many years later looking through my photo albums and was reminded again of that short article that I still wanted to write. Well, here it is finally!
Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the step-by-step process I used. I will just have to talk it through. For those familiar with dyeing and spinning, you should be able to follow along well enough and surmise. For those unfamiliar with these, maybe you can just enjoy the pretty colors and inspiration.
The above photo shows
the braided un-spun roving after dyeing
the singles yarn
the singles plied with fine rayon sewing thread to make the 2-ply knitting yarn
Dyeing the cotton: I started with un-dyed white cotton roving. I broke off lengths of roving about a yard long each and braided them. Then 3 colors of fiber reactive dyes were applied to the braid. After the dye was set and rinsed, I let the braids dry completely.
Spinning the singles: I undid each braid (sorry I can’t remember how many I had, but the total weight was 1.75 oz / 50g) and spun each length of dyed roving separately into an S-twist singles. I used long draw from the “wrong end” of the roving on my Lendrum spinning wheels highest speed whorl. For you spinners, you know that cotton roving will draw out more smoothly in one direction than the other. I intentionally used the other direction to produce a lump, bumpy textured singles strand of spun yarn. (this is harder to do than you’d think after you’ve spun for a while!) I wanted a yarn that when knitted into the lace, would produce a casual, somewhat rustic look.
Plying: I plied the spun singles Z-twist with fine rayon sewing thread to make a 2-ply knitting yarn.
Here is a photo of the knitted scarf that I took recently with a different camera in different lighting (the original picture above was taken in the 90’s! — my, how digital cameras have advanced, haven’t they?)
Here’s a bit more of a close-up so that you can see the texture of the yarn in the stitches.
Besides the hypnotically soothing relaxation I feel when spinning, I think that a great joy in handspinning your own yarn is practiced control over the creative results. There often is the serendipity, too, and this leads to even more adventures and exploration. Moody Blues, handspun dyed pima cotton roving plied with silk, has been one of those examples. Here is the completed yarn –
Do you sense the ‘slightly washed-out faded denim jeans’ look? I am so pleased with this yarn even though in buying the dyed roving, I thought it might have been a mistake!