Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sacrificial Sheep

Actually, no real sheep were sacrificed, but I did a good number of some of their wool. I dug through the stash to find something to use while playing with the new wheel. Sorry for all the pictures, but I did want to document the learning curve.

First up was some plain wool of some sort or other that was just sitting in a bag, origin lost in ancient history.

Scary, eh? Just getting used to treadling and drafting at the same time, trying out all the different whorls, etc. I think the part that got the hardest workout was the orifice hook. :-) And no, I did not bother to try to ply it.

So, time to get serious and try to make, you know, yarn or something. I dug even deeper and found something that I wouldn't mind wasting. I'm not even sure why I bought this in the first place, but it was there, so I figured I'd use it. I apologize in advance for any retinal damage this causes.

Yes, the colours really are as bad as they appear. But it served the purpose. That's four ounces of merino, in baby blue and searing orange. The bobbin on the left was first and, as you can see, I could barely fit two ounces on it. After a quick query on the Schacht list on Ravelry, and I received some wonderful advice about how to fit more on a bobbin. A few adjustments, it was winding on much tighter. It was worth trying to ply.

I couldn't figure out why my singles kept breaking, but it turns out there's a learning curve to using a lazy kate too. Don't put the tension too high or SNAP! After much cursing, I got some some crappy two ply and an attempt at chain plying. Thank you very much, virulent orange wool -- you've served your purpose and I'm glad you're out of the stash and never to be seen again.

Attempt number 3 turned out much better. Again, something that I wouldn't mind if it didn't turn out well.


The bobbins wound much better with the proper tension. However, if I had paid attention before I ripped the wool apart for a three-ply, I would have noticed that even though it is '70s wallpaper colours, the top was nicely dyed in a wonderful striping pattern and would have been perfect for a chain ply. I didn't see that until it was too late, so I stayed with the three-ply.

All four ounces plied, with room on the bobbin to spare. It's BFL in the Connor colourway from Squoosh. I didn't take a pic of the top because I didn't really think it would turn out, but the listing is here for those who like to compare the raw wool with the finished product.

It ended up at 242 yards, 11 wpi, so not too bad for a beginner yarn. It would have been better chained to keep the colours separate rather than mixed in the ply, but c'est la vie.

I still need to work on the plying part, as some of it is a bit loose. If I were going to use it for socks, I'd try running it through the wheel again, but since I don't, I won't.


Now I just have to work on getting it thin enough for sock yarn.

But I really should be knitting on my August socks instead of playing around. Time for another dose of self-discipline, methinks.

26 people had something to say:

fleegle said...

That is quite lovely stuff at the end. Of course, this is said through the tears brought out by that blue/orange screamer. You really purchased that or did it wander in from the street?

You seem to have the hang of your wheel now, though :)

Cookie said...

I cannot believe how well you are doing! I can't wait to see what you spin up next. I think you'll be getting sock yarn any minute now.

Btw, I'm on day two of trying to figure out how to treadle with both feet and hold wool at the same time. Trust me, you're doing a great job over there.

joan said...

Thank you for documenting the learning curve. When my wheel gets here in a few weeks, I'll come back and read this.
Love the Connor colors as I have a Connor.

auntiemichal said...

Do you know any hunters? Or knitting friends who know hunters? that Screaming Orange would make a great hat for those who don't want to be shot by mistake!

Excellent progress, Dave; you'll be spinning sock yarn soon. Better start picking colors you like...

Dee said...

Love the colors on that last photo. That would make some lovely socks.

Micki said...

I love the progress shots! You and your wheel certainly have the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

lookinout said...

On my monitor, that orange is quite pretty and with the touch of blue would make a fine child's toque.
Gillian

lexa said...

I'm sure it's going to take some practice, but from the look of things you're catching onto it really, really fast! :)

Monika said...

I think You'll get it quite quickly, since you've been working with a spindle for such a long time. You'll have perfect sock yarn in no time! :o)

Yarndude said...

Wow, you may be the fastest learner I've ever seen!

KnitXcorE said...

i think it all looks great. even the first one, it has a sort of wabi sabi thing going on.

LaurieM said...

Thanks for showing us your learning curve. I really love what your third yarn was coming to look like. That didn't take long!

KnitNana said...

I like the looks of the last, you're really getting the hang of things quickly!
(((Hugs)))

Zonda said...

Looking great! Thanks for sharing, as you know I'm learning too! I need to work on my August socks too!

Mona strickt said...

I guess I am the only one who actually likes the orange roving/yarn! But then, I do love orange period.

Seeing this makes me want to have a wheel...

DeAnn said...

Your spinning is looking great! Your plying is good too. You are a fast study. BTW I like the shocking orange, hehehe :)
August socks...ooops I better get busy too. Thanks for the reminder.

Kenny said...

I don't spin, but it sure came out nice!

Marlene said...

Wow, you're quickly getting the hang of it.

JessaLu said...

Very nice!! ;o)

SJ said...

Looks like you're getting the hang of things! Really, it's all just a matter of getting all the motions coordinated and building the muscle memory -- much like spindling, I'd imagine (I'm still working on coordinating all the motions for that myself). I predict you'll be spinning sock yarn in no time!

Kim said...

my first wheel yarn looked JUST like that! Looking good, practice makes good yarn better.

GailR said...

You've actually had a short learning curve. The rest is just tweaking and little adjustments. That last photo is great yarn! It's very even looking so I think you've got it! I think your wonderful spindle-spun yarn helps a lot.

My first wheel yarn was alternating thread and rope - for big ships. It took quite a while to get the hang of treadling slower than the hands move.

Bea said...

I really don't understand, why you don't like those wallpaper-colours. I love them.
Thinking twice, these are really just those colours which I used for painting my walls recently....

I can see you have fun with your wheel :-)

Bea

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Congratulations on the new wheel. Your wheel spinning looks just as great as your spindle spun yarn. I do believe that you were meant to be a spinner.

Carrie K said...

Plenty of time to knit the August socks. Well, maybe.

I really like that searing orange and blue combo.

turtlegirl76 said...

Ooh gorgeous!

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