Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Really, this is about yesterday's post...

If you ever want to run to Colonial Williamsburg, let me know! I finally tracked down the sheep pen. Poor sad dirty sheep...someone needs to love them and spin them!

Any excuse to dig myself out from under the law books is a good thing!

By Blogger Heidi, at 9:21 AM  

Wow! 34 Years! You must've been a babe in arms (pun intended!;-) )...

Congratulations, B&BD, and many, many more!

P.S. RE: Tag...I'll try next time.



By Blogger Margaret, at 1:32 PM  

I went back and read last year's post about your first date...what a great story! It made my day. Congratulations! jane

By Blogger jane, at 6:31 PM  

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Sunday, October 16, 2005  

It's anniversary time and we plan to take a ramble - something we nearly always do on October 16. I wrote all about how BD and I met in last year's October 16 post so I shan't repeat myself today. The only plan is to head west in the morning and east in the afternoon.

Yesterday was a very hands active day. There were loads and loads of laundry since it's rained the past 2 weekends. I also wanted to make some bread. I used to bake all our bread. But that was back in the days when it didn't really hurt if I ate a whole loaf of bread. Those days called Slender Youth Days. Long gone now. But I was in such a baking mood I had to satisfy the urge with 2 very VERY crusty loaves of oat bran bread and a pumpkin bread baked in one of those rubbery elaborately shaped molds/pans. Very Victorian looking desert - it was a cake mix blended with eggs and water and a can of pumpkin. The high fiber content ratchets down the WW points, but I still only ate one small slice.

And in between hanging up clothes and punching down bread dough I spun. Spun & spun & spun. I plied the bobbin full of mohair locks, spun almost 2 years ago, into a loopy boucle, using silk and sparkly gold embroidery threads as binder threads. Then I began experimenting with grist and twist for a sweater's worth of that tweedy brown and gold wool/wool&mohair blend 2 ply. Check out the image posted earlier this month.

First I spun a single of the wool&mohair blend, varying the ammount of fiber and twist till I had a control yarn I liked. This is an easy yarn to spin - I use about 1/2 an inch of fiber coming off the drafting triangle (ha! that is, the wad of fiber in my hand). There is a lot of mohair in this blend so I don't need too much twist, maybe 2 rotations per inch. I wrapped a length of the control yarn and several lengths of singles around an index card for future reference.

Then came the hard part. I have 2 huge bags of brown wool that I know I bought from 2 different places and that I assume are 2 different breeds. I am not sure they are, since they feel alike, look alike and are stored in the exact same type of plastic bag. But they are supposed to be different and they actually do spin slightly differently. So I picked the one stored on the right side of the chest, thinking maybe it was ever so slightly softer than the one on the left. I fiddled and fiddled with that wool, spinning thick (ugh! clumpy) and thin ( okay, but not what I want).

I plied that with the mohair and got ... a very amateurish looking sloppy yarn that would still probably knit up into the fabric I want well enough. But I wasn't happy with it. I tried again. Same unhappy results. The problem was in the spinning. I couldn't figure out how thick a wad of fiber I wanted to draft nor how tightly I wanted to spin it. I just didn't like what I was making.


I pulled out a length of The Other brown wool from the bag in the left corner of the chest. And I spun it fast, and thin and with a light twist. And I plied it with the wool&mohair. And I wet set it. And it was good.

So again I made a control yarn and put that and some singles on the same index card. The control yarns help you spin the same yarn each time you come back to your wheel. Nobody I know has the time to spin a sweater's worth of yarn in one straight stretch. In my case I have a little time here and a little time there and maybe no time for a long period and then ... you see how it is. The control yarn is made by spinning a length, folding it back onto itself and letting it fall into it's natural balance. It's shocking how that skinny little thread, when allowed to find it's balance point, will puff up into a lovely fat yarn. Or not. I often have to spin all sorts of different singles, singles that look nearly identical when stretched against the winding bobbin, but aren't the same at all. Once in a balanced ply state, though, you will know what the yarn is going to look like and how it will behave. And you can check your spinning now and then by letting a length ply on itself and comparing it to your control yarn. If the plied yarns look the same, the singles are pretty much consistent.

I made a fairly large sample of the final yarn and wet set it, just to be sure I would really be spinning what I want. It was a warm windy day yesterday so the little skein dried swiftly. And I do like my final yarn, so now there's nothing for it but to whirr away on the wheel. I nearly filled a bobbin full of the wool&mohair. I suspect the plain wool bobbins will take longer to fill, but I plan to always ply from 2 bobbins with this project.

And when I am done I may just knit that lovely tweedy sweater. But in the mean time, my left hand is feeling a little pins and needley so I shan't take any fiber toys in the car with me while we go on our ranble. Instead I'll give that hand a gigantic rest.

But tomorrow - yarn images!

posted by Bess | 7:45 AM