Monday, August 03, 2009

Goodbye, July.

I can't say I'm sad to see the end of July. It's been one of the coldest, wettest, grayest Julys on record. Here's hoping that summer finally comes in August. :-)

One fun thing that did happen in July, though, was the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry! I was too busy spinning to get any more knitting done this month, but I did manage to finish a few more yarns, plus try a couple of different fibres and techniques.

This was spun from a Luscious Ditty mini-batt from Spin, Knit and Life -- merino, silk and alpaca. My first successful yarn with silk, and first time using a Turkish spindle for more than just goofing around. The cool thing about a Turkish spindle is that when you're done, you just pull out the shaft and the legs of the spindle and you're left with a centre-pull ball and can ply with both ends of your single. It's not my favourite method, and I had a few problems with it towards the end, but it was good to try it.

I was feeling a bit brave after that, so I thought I'd try spinning just straight silk again for the Challenge Day.

Not so good. I think silk and I will agree to disagree for a while longer. :-)

I decided to carry on with trying a few more new techniques. A post or two ago, I showed a three-ply sock yarn that I made for the May/June All Spun Up Spin-a-long. It looked like this:

I had an extra four ounces of fibre, so I thought I'd try to recreate some of the yarns that other people had made. First, I played with chain plying. It's not as hard as I thought, as long as you take your time. It's a technique you can use to keep the colours more separate. I'm still not convinced that it's suitable for sock yarn, but I have to admit it's pretty. Maybe scarf material?

One of the yarns that really intrigued me was a thick and thin thread ply, so I figured, eh, why not try that?

It's actually kind of hard to do on a spindle, and the thread is slippery stuff to ply with. My thick parts ended up a little bit too thick, and I'd like to try it again going a bit thinner. I do like the look of it, but again, I'm not sure that I'd knit with it or what I'd make. It was interesting, though, to see the different effects you can get with the same fibre, just by spinning it differently.

After that, I figured it was time to get back to basics .. sock yarn. :-)

This is mixed BFL, again from All Spun Up.

I went for a standard three-ply.

It ended up at 410 yards. It should make some wonderful socks, and I loves it muchly. :-)

And that was the end of the Tour de Fleece. Whew!

I apparently have more of an ornery streak than I thought I did. Being forced to spin actually really made me want to knit, so I've been cranking away, trying to finish up my August socks. One's done, and the other is cast on. Maybe a finish by the end of the week?

22 people had something to say:

Yarndude said...

I can't believe you spun so much during the TDF. I LOVE the silk blend, it looks so scrumptious.

turtlegirl76 said...

Oh wow. You blazed through the Tour! I didn't even start! I fail at spinning.

Julia said...

That three ply is gorrrrgeous! Nice work - can't wait to see it knit up!

fleegle said...

You have been busy--yikes! I am very impressed by the first yarn--it looks store-bought to me. And now you have lots of sock yarn to keep your feet warm in case August is cold and rainy too :)

SJ said...

I'm having the same reaction to all the spinning -- all I want to do now is knit! I guess it was a good exercise in getting the knitting mojo back.

Looking forward to seeing some brown socks!

lexa said...

Your spinning is always so gorgeous, it makes me want to try! Love that 3 ply!

Monika said...

While the 3-ply blue sock yarn looks great, and like Trekking yarn, I like the navajo plied one a lot, and the thick-thin looks gorgeous, very artsy!
Your new brown 3-ply sock yarn looks great too! You did a great job with the TdF. Will you participat again next year?

KnitNana said...

Oh started out complaining of gray and showing off gray fluff....

But then - THEN - you switched to the vibrant rich colors ... and I'm drooling - browns, rusts, creams, and blues (with a touch of teal).
You're doing great!

Kay-From the Back Yard said...

MN had a July with quite a few grey days and hardly any rain. Strange.

Your spun yarn is gorgeous! I can't decide which I like better, blue or brown. Wow.

Kathy... said...

As a brand new spinner (about a month now), I just want to say thankyou for all the information and inspiration your blog provides. I really like watching over your shoulder, sort to speak.

Our July, here in Iowa, was the coolest on record, which is just FINE with me! The farmers are crying, however. Apparently corn needs the 90's and humidity to do well - usually not a short commodity around here.

margene said...

Beautiful, beautiful spinning!! And so much in a short time!

knottygnome said...

great spinning! i especially like the same top spun different ways. it's a really interesting contrast.

Jolene said...

Really love your blue/green yarn... reminds me of Blue Spruce :)

can't wait to see what you make with it!


Briley said...

Beautiful spinning! Nice job with the chain plying- it's one of those things I just can't seem to do.

LaurieM said...

Beautiful yarns and I like your experiments. It's good to push the envelope....

Opal said...

you know what all this means don't you?

you need a wheel....


sgeddes said...

I think my favorite is the last 3 ply sock yarn, but I love the variety you wne for on the Tour. Your spindle looks so cool.
I'm curious to hear about your problems with the silk, I bought some silk to spin and then ply with some natural alpaca I had turned into roving.

I really lime the thread ply too - you definately picked up some great new skils on the tour this year!

Jean said...

What can I say - you are just a talented fellow. I enjoy seeing the results of the different methods of spinning. My favorite would have to be the blue green yarn that you spun a couple of months ago. The thin thick is interesting, maybe something for a free spirited knitter.

Kim said...

What wonderful yarn. I love seeing the different techniques and hearing your commentary. I've recently tried navajo plying and was surprised it was easier than thought.

Bea said...

Hi Dave,

all your yarns look really great.
Even the chain-plyed one.

I've chain-plyed when I began spinning and will tell you the reason why I'm not willing to use it very often, almost never. I don't want to say never, a special colourway might make it necessary.

First, in a chain-plyed yarn there always are those places where the chains meet each other and I see them as I know they are there.

Second, I have the feeling, maybe it is wrong, that there is one single going into the wrong direction and the finished yarn is not as balanced as a normal 3ply.

The last and most importand issue is: I don't like how the colours walk into the next colour. I prefer the colour to walk into the next colour more slowly.

For those reasons, if I want to have a colourchanging or striping yarn, I take my colourspaced roving and split it into three parts lengthwise. Then I use a good scale to check out if the three parts are of the same weight and level the weight out by picking some fiber from the heaviest to the lightweighted part of the roving.
Afterwards I spin my three singles and ply them together the normal way.

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

WOW....maybe I should join a alonging to get something finished rather than all the starting that I've been doing of late.

Chelsea said...

These are all so amazingly beautiful! Great spinning, as always. If you spin this well on a spindle, wow - imagine how much more you'll get done on your new wheel! ;)