Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Separation Anxiety

The good news:
I love how the yarn turned out! (which is, amazingly, pretty much as I envisioned it during the ‘planning but no sampling’ stage)

The bad news:
I have to send it away to my swap pal.

I knew better. Don’t get attached, I told myself when I was spinning and plying, remember you can’t keep it. Since I’m weak and undisciplined, I failed to listen to my own good advice. But really, how could I not love this yarn?

220 yards total - 16 wpi

It was all I could do not to put it on the ball winder and knit up a small swatch. For my swap pal, of course, so she would know how the gauge worked up right away and what the finished fabric might look like. Really, just as a favor to her. Because that’s how I am. I’m a giver.
In the end I decided it was probably best to send the skein off to her undisturbed despite my completely selfless intentions.

The other good news:
I’ll be getting something absolutely wonderful from my own swap pal (she of the glorious merino yarn from January). I can’t wait!

It's all in the Details:
All fiber from Chameleon Colorworks in Janel's lovely Autumn colorway

Blue Face Leicester (BFL) single: spun slightly larger than 20 wpi and approximately 21 degrees of twist angle

Merino-Tencel single: spun slightly finer than 25 wpi with approximately 27-30 degrees of twist angle

Plying Twist: two-thirds spinning twist for the merino-tencel blend. I tensioned the merino-tencel single fairly tightly and held the BFL single loosely and at a slight angle to the tensioned single (about 45 degrees or so from parallel).

*all measurements per the Twist Angle Guide and Thickness Measuring Guide from The Essentials of Yarn Design for Handspinners by Mabel Ross

I don’t have the twist per inch (TPI) figure. Partly because I'm too lazy to go calculate it right now but mostly because because I don’t worry about it much. I have my own sort of odd method of spinning that involves drafting back a certain distance and counting the total number of treadles I need to have for the desired twist angle for the length before letting the yarn feed on to the bobbin. Then I just use the same set distance when plying and use 2/3 of the original treadle count for a balanced ply (adjusted up or down a treadle or two as needed during set up).

When the yarn comes off the niddy-noddy it had about 1.5 turns of overtwist to it. (Just the right amount according to Judith MacKenzie McCuin, who says that if a skein comes off the niddy-noddy perfectly balanced one will find it under-plied after it’s been washed and dried. )

I was relieved to find that after washing and drying the skein was perfectly balanced. I wasn’t quite certain it would be due to the mixed twist in the singles.

I like that the finished yarn looks considerably similar to the unspun fiber even though I plied two singles in the same colorway (I hate it when beautiful roving turns muddy when spun up into yarn – so disappointing). I think the smaller visual weight and lighter tone of the merino-tencel against the thicker and darker BFL helped to present a balanced look in the finished yarn.

I will definitely make this type of yarn again (well, actually, I’ll make this very same yarn again since I have more of this fiber). I was able to get a lightly textured yarn with my normal spinning method just by varying the grist of the singles and slightly altering my plying technique.


Jacqui said...

sigh. why can't I be your swap pal? oh yeah, i don't know how to spin (yet).

the yarn is just lovely. if i stare at the monitor just right, i can almost feel its warm luxuriousness.

rock on, you giver, you!

PeggySpins said...

What beautiful yarn you ended up with. I know the feeling of coveting what you're gifting! But that's why you made it - 'cause you love it!
Good job.

Maia said...

The yarn is beautiful. I am a big fan of yarn made with plies of differing thickness. It give the yarn a great texture. Using the tencel gives it lovely shine too.

Sarah said...

Your yarn came out beautifully.

What sort of wheel do you have? Do you love it? Do you know how many ratios you can get with it?

I guess you can tell I'm planning a wheel purchase :) Thanks

vanessa said...

denise, you spinning never fails to mamze me!

kneek said...

It sounds like such alchemy, or is it more like voodoo? The twist, the ply, the draft. There are so many variations that can affect the finished product. How much ugly yarn do you have sitting around from your first days as a spinner? I imagine my pile would be as high as a mountain.

This is gorgeous yarn. Hopefully your swap partner is as talented as you are!

kerry said...

That is a very juicy yarn - it makes me crave oj.

Lucky pal!

Melanie said...

That yarn is just luscious! It's awesome that you know all that degrees of angle stuff. Seeing as your spinning is so gorgeous, maybe I should check it out instead of just winging it.

Lori said...

Glorious! I can see why you would want to keep it!

janel said...

Oh, it's beautiful Denise! I love the way a ply of merino/tencel in the same colorway just makes the whole thing zing a little bit! I gotta go dye more of this colorway, I want some for myself!

Barb said...

Beautiful yarn!

Joanne said...

Well, that is delicious... but at least you have more so you can spin more and do it all over again. Wow. Very yummy stuff, but still, you can do it. You can give it away, you generious one!

Kris said...

That's gorgeous yarn. What a lucky swap pal you have.

June said...

Gorgeous is not the word for that yarn, Denise!! Stupendous! I need to check out your vendor I think! :)

Amelia, belle of The Bellwether said...

The yarn looks lovely -- and I appreciate the construction details and twist info, too :-) great entry. Thanks for sharing it!