Saturday, June 6, 2015

Supported Spindling: Graduating to Full Skeins

I bought this gorgeous supported spindle from MirkwoodArts on Etsy several months ago. His name is Smaug (as if the shop name didn't give away the theme!) and he is beautiful.

The finishing is smooth and warm, but not so glossy that the fibers slip when I build up the cop. I also bought a fun spinning bowl made by vikingsanta on Etsy.

And I made my first yarn about two days after getting my new tools.

I was getting the hang of spinning and drawing with one hand (instead of my customary two hands) with this mini batt of fiber, and felt like I was ready for a full skein. Enter the cormo!

I carded up a few batts of my cormo fleece and sent it along to Korea. I had planned to use it for making socks, but after spinning the grabby fibers of the above mini-batt, I knew exactly which fiber to spin next with my supported spindle.

I also wanted to do some experimentation with twist (after reading the PLY issue on Twist), and the supported spindle would allow me complete control over grist and twist. Additionally, I wanted to try spinning my singles with just enough twist to hold the single together (but not enough to make a tight plied yarn), and ply my singles with more twist than is needed for a balanced single. This was to produce a lofty 2-ply yarn, full of springiness. I spun the cormo with a point-of-contact draw, and here are the results (both unwashed):

Skein 1:

Skein 2:

I waited until I was completely done with the project, then I counted up the yardage and weighed each skein. My first one was 216yd/42g, and my second one was 224yd/46g. I was thrilled that they were so close in weight and yardage, and I didn't even separate the fiber into two batches before I got started.

To calculate how much fiber goes into each yard, I took the weight and divided it by the length. For the first skein, I got 0.1944g/yd, and for the second skein, I got 0.2054g/yd. The second skein weighs just 0.0110g more per yard than the first skein; that's only a 6% difference in the weight per yard. Because this is handspun and some places are slightly thicker or thinner than others, the actual differences from yard length to yard length will differ much more. I was going for consistency over the whole skein using a new spinning technique and a new tool, so I am very proud of my results.

For the sake of the Fiber Talk video that this skein is planned for, I only washed one of the two skeins so you can see how they compare. Maybe I'll dye them in the future, but I am really loving the white right now. :)

I haven't branched out into other wool fibers for my supported spindle yet, but I am trying it out with some silk at the moment. That'll be for the upcoming silk challenge (starting June 15).