Monday, November 08, 2010

This just in!

Ok, here are some quick snaps of the new supplies. No photographic masterpieces, but you can get the idea anyway.

First off, here is the kit (minus the undyed). I propped up the low whirl spindle to show the detail on the top of the whirl.

Here is some of the undyed roving.

Here we have the Knit Picks order.

The relevant bits:
Bare Peruvian wool roving
Turkish Spindle
(and Namaste circular needle case in the background... but more on that later)

The spindle looks interesting but I haven't opened it yet so can't give much detail there.

The fiber is pretty soft. Definitely a little softer than the Maine Woods fiber. I may spin the KP roving next and save the handdyed for later. I haven't decided how I want to express the colorway yet. Not sure if I want to split it (and how much) and make shorter repeats, or draft straight from the full roving and see if I can get longer segments of the same color. The Bare would involve a bit less decision making for now, I think. But I haven't checked the staple length yet so not sure if it might be shorter than the MW stuff since it's softer and loftier. We shall see.

**EDIT** - The KP is definitely a little shorter staple and more slick. Not sure if I'm ready to go there yet but will probably do a test anyway.

So yesterday I definitely started out with some issues. I quartered the roving and pre-drafted it. Not sure I liked how much I pre-drafted though.
First, I got a bit confused and had serious issues with keeping the twist out of my drafting zone. It was traveling way up the roving. I'm pretty sure this is a fairly common beginner mistake though.

Here is some of my very first attempt:

Partly due to this and how hard it made any further drafting, despite my attempts to untwist it, I suspect that my initial attempts were probably too thick for my spindle. It sure wouldn't spin for long before spinning back. I used park & draft but still noticed there might be a problem.
After a few false starts, I spun the rest of the first half. Decided to do the second half separately so I could ply the two later. Did not split the second half into quarters, just went from the half. Also, didn't predraft much like before. Finally established my drafting zone better and thinned the yarn out a good bit. Had a few over twist/thin spot issues but only one breakage.

Eventually it got much better. Then the thin spots got a bit more frequent. I think my form was getting bad because I was tired. But I finished the second half and wound it off too.

Here are my very first singles:

I have the yarn wrapped around a wooden TV tray and stand for now, since I don't have a niddy noddy or chair back handy. Seems to be working fine.

Then I had to go to bed. Figure I'll let those two settle for a bit on the TV tray while I work on getting my technique a bit more refined, then I'll ply them to hopefully even things out a bit. I ply, then set in hot water, correct? Or am I supposed to set the twist of each individual skein before plying them together? I'm not 100% clear on that.

I broke out my Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning
last night but fell asleep before I could read much. Long day. Lol. I read a good portion of the book when I got it a couple years ago, but since I had no hands on experience with unspun fiber and hadn't even been knitting all that long at the time, I had a hard time really understanding some of the details. I did get a better understanding of yarn in general, and that was helpful in my knitting, but didn't pick up enough on the spinning it myself details. The book definitely favors spinning wheels heavily over spindles and such but the info about drafting and twist and all that is pretty universal. So hopefully I can get a better grasp on the whole thing with that info. Something to hold me over until my books arrive next week. :-)

Soooo... That's my first foray into the world of spinning. So far so good. I wasn't too keen on the whole drop spindle idea for a long time but it's fun and gives me an opportunity to start spinning now, rather than having to wait until I have the space and funds for a wheel.

I will admit, I'm already eying the Mother Marion spindles though. Lol. I like the idea of being able to literally kickstart my spindle and have it stay in place, rather than the whole suspended thing and having to turn the spindle with my hand.
Heavenly Handspinning's "Little Meggie" looks like a decent affordable option. Maybe for Christmas. If I can wait that long. Lol.

I'm on the hunt for more fiber now. That 1oz went so quickly that I'll probably run out of fiber soon. Much sooner than I expected. I really want to try some Blue Faced Leicester. If anyone has suggestions or recommendations for sellers, I'd love to hear 'em.

And now I'm off to eat something, read a little, then give the spinning another whirl. :-D

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