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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fiber Club

The great thing about being in a fiber club is that fiber shows up on your doorstep once a month. Of course the problem with being in a fiber club is that fiber shows up on your doorstep once a month. If you don't spin it, it can pile up. So, last Thursday, after I finished up with the Merino/Angora/Silk singles, I grabbed the February club fiber (I'm in the Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club) which was sitting there and started spinning. It's called Think Spring and it's South African Fine Wool. I have no plans for this fiber, I just decided to spin it heavier than I usually do and as you can see in the finished 3 ply above, it's a chunky, bouncy yarn. It weighs 8 ounces (I get double the fiber each month from the club) and I have 255 yards of it. If I were to knit it up, I would probably get around 12 stitches over 4 inches. I plied it over the weekend and finished it with the Merino/Angora/Silk and it turned out, it was just in time because on Monday, I got this in the mail:
This is half of my 8 ounces of Merino and the colorway is called Mud Season. I haven't started spinning it yet, but I think it's telling me it wants to be spun pretty fine, Navajo plied, and knit into a stripey, soft pair of socks. I need to work on my Navajo plying because I'm not as happy with that as I am with a true 3 ply, so this might be just the thing to practice on.

I had a comment on Monday complementing my finished Merino/Angora/Silk yarn. The commenter said that most of the handspun yarns she sees are more lumpy, bumpy, novelty types, not a smooth, more consistent type of yarn. The great thing about handspinning is that you can make the yarn anyway you want to. You can make a novelty yarn, and there are many books available on different novelty yarns and how to make them, or you can make a more even yarn that closely resembles commercially spun yarns - it's all up to you as the spinner and learning how to set your wheel up and how to do the actual spinning. Don't think that handspinners can only do novelty yarns - handspinners can spin almost every type of yarn there is and for centuries handspinners only spun the more even, tightly twisted yarns because those were the yarns that would wear well. The handspun novelty yarns have only been around for a fairly short time in the history of handspinning because prior to spinning mills (the Industrial Revolution), handspun was the only type of yarn there was.
ETA: In the original post I mistakenly referred to Navajo plying as Andean plying, but I have corrected the post. (One of the downsides of blogging uncaffeinated.) Navajo plying is using a single and chaining it like a giant crochet chain while spinning in the opposite direction from the way the singles were spun and technically isn't plying at all, but a chained single. It gives you the look of a 3 ply, while keeping colors in order and together instead of barber poling. Andean plying is a way of wrapping a bobbin or a spindle's worth of singles around your hand so you can use both ends of the single and ply it together in a two ply. Theoretically, it helps to keep things from getting tangled like they would if you just wound a center pull ball with the singles and plied from both ends at once. In my own (admittedly limited) experience, the only difference between Andean plying on your hand and plying from both ends of a center pull ball is not the tangled mess - that happens to me both ways - but the fact that with Andean plying I have the tangled mess on my hand and invariably this is the time the phone rings, the doorbell rings, Caleb spills a huge amount of food on the floor and Finn goes berserk from all the excitement. For a better explanation of either technique, I suggest Googling.



Blogger Caroline M said...

I know and you know that you didn't mean andean, do you want to go edit it before you terminally confuse some new spinner?

I like the fibre, it should make some lovely stripy socks

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andean plying? Maybe Navajo instead? LOL Think Spring looks wonderful as a three ply. I'm soooo behind in my club spinning, and it just keeps coming. But I lurve it so!

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Sharon T said...

The Mud Season fiber is so pretty. And, it looks like my back yard right now - some snow, some water, a bit of grass and tons of mud.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't spun any of my Spunky fiber yet. I also get 8 oz and I'm going to try to spin this February color thick and a 3-ply. I've not yet done a 3-ply and so I'm wondering how it goes. But I have to wait until I get the drive band for my Lou√ęt spinning wheel. The bobbins are a lot bigger than the ones on my Joy and so I want to use that wheel for the bigger yarn.
Cheers Eva

10:46 AM  
Blogger Sheepmom said...

I had wondered what the roving for mud season looked like ( I'm in the sock of the month at Spunky Eclectic ), now I may have to join the fiber club.

11:00 AM  
Blogger sopranospinner said...

For me, Andean plying is for when I don't have my ballwinder with me! OTOH, I got one of those Andean plying tools so that I could be interrupted and it's godsend when I'm at my mom's with the kids and only spindles. I can stop in the middle of winding the plyer!

12:08 PM  
Blogger Caroline M said...

PS you can make an andean plying widget from a book and a pencil - you don't have to be fastened to the wheel for quite so long then

12:47 PM  
Blogger Knittripps said...

I am in a sock club now and have the same dilemma - each month new yarn shows up. I am so very behind. I just don't know if I am meant to be a club person.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got my Spunky fiber yesterday and I've been spinning it up to be a really fluffy, heavy worsted/chunky weight two ply. I'm so happy that other people are doing other things :P I think that's my favorite part of a fiber club, that you can see one fiber spun up so many different ways. It really helps give you a sense for the reasons behind picking one way or another to spin a particular fiber or colorway. For me, I decided on a two ply because I prefer darker colorways overall and I thought all the white in the fiber might annoy me in a navajo-plyed yarn. Still, I'm excited to see what you come up with!

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Christy said...

I doubt you still have this unspun, but if you do, I would be willing to purchase it off you...

Please let me know.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Christy said...


I emailed you but am not sure you got it. Give me a shout! antichristy (at) gmail (dot) com.


1:05 PM  
Anonymous Dutch Hollow Acres said...

Ha! I named a roving I dyed mud season too. Except mine has a lot more browns to it. Gosh it's muddy here.

9:03 AM  

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