Of skeins and samples

Posted by caroline in art yarn, Spinning on September 18th, 2011

piledportlandFirst up let us see the big pile of Portland. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would to ply it partly because I like plying. I can sit and ply all day but I know that if I do then I won’t be able to move my arm the next day. I was sensible and did it over two days seeing as I do find it useful to be able to bend my right elbow. There is roughly 1,500 yards here, I’ve not washed it yet as I plan on dyeing it and I can’t see the point of wetting it to dry it to wet it again. I have the goldilocks samples to practise dyeing on, the four ply was too thick and the two ply was too thin. The three ply was just right and that’s what these big skeins are. I’ve bagged it, labelled it and stuck in in a yarn bin until I know what it wants to be. I suspect that it has plans to be a cardigan but it’s not cold enough yet for me to be seriously thinking of things with sleeves.

samplesThese are not goldilocks skeins, if I was intent on thrashing the storytale analogy then this would be the abridged version of Ali Baba and the forty thieves. Of late I have fallen a bit behind with spinning my breed samples. All was going well when I had plenty of coloured fibre as well as white because I could alternate them and list them as I spun them. I’m on all white now and one white down breed looks very like another so I have to spin and ply one, wind it off, finish it and label it. The sampling programme was also derailled by me filling all the bobbins with Portland during which time I built up a stockpile of labelled white bits of fibre. There are nineteen skeins here, at some point I’ll add in the usual suspects of merino, bfl, wensleydale and those others that I didn’t sample because I’ve spun so much of them. I have a few bags of wool upstairs that need work before I can spin them so I still have about six more breeds to spin. Once I’ve caught up I might pack the whole lot away until next summer when I can look to get a few fleeces to fill in the gaps in my list.

boucleI may have found an exception to my usual statement of “I like plying”. I’m not sure whether I’ll ever make any of this again because it took forever to make or at least it seemed to. This is Wensleydale dyed in blues and greens, plyed with laceweight wool/silk then plied again with silk thread. boucle2I did start off with a procession of lovely little loops but they backed up against the hooks on the flyer causing my loops to became a traffic jam of fibre. If it turns out to look fantastic when woven then I’ll be sold on the process, otherwise it falls into the category of “just because you can doesn’t mean you should”. It’s a boucle, the loops are stable in that they don’t slide along the yarn now they are locked in by the silk binder and the skein was balanced (woo hoo) so it’s technically a win. I keep poking it because I can’t believe that I made it, it’s just so not me, it stands out from the rest of my stash like a giraffe in a flock of sheep. My plan for this is as an accent yarn in weaving, it is to be a team leader backed up by the more normal yarns in my stash. If it turns out to be an antisocial prima donna who does not play well with others then it has a long future filling out a corner in a yarn bin.

Top of my to do list for next week is bathroom cleaning although I promise to find something else to take photographs of because the dust bunnies would be too shaming. There’s nothing woolly left on my list because I crossed off all the fibre items last week. Somehow I didn’t manage to find time for washing floors and cleaning toilets after I’d done all the interesting stuff. It’s funny just how often that happens.