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?
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.