February 25, 2012

A Sampling

Now that all the lovely grey Merino is washed, I need to figure out what to do with it. I love the color, I love the softness, and there is enough fleece for at least 2 or more projects. In keeping with my dabbling with project driven spinning, I've decided to make some samples. Maybe this exercise in discipline will spill over into other areas of my life?

The staple on the fleece is long enough for the wool combs, hooray! I love using the combs. I even made a diz, fashioned from the corner of a plastic gallon milk jug. I used a soldering iron to melt the holes. And the bit of copper braid in the picture below is solder wick, working as a make do diz threader.

This is the first time I've really played around with using a diz, and I think the resulting top came out more even than when I just pull the fiber hand over hand.

Wow, spinning from fresh combed fleece is awesome! Lately I've also been spinning from some commercial dyed top and there is a huge difference. Maybe due to the tendency of the dying process to mat or compact the fiber just a bit, I don't know. But this fresh stuff is d-lish. Springy and soft and just melts into the draft zone.

One of the projects in my mind is a jumper/top/sweater, something lighter weight worn next to the skin. Sleeve length undecided. Maybe something a little dressy (hmmm, beads maybe?). Because I'm pretty much lazy, something knit on US 4 or 5 needles, so it will get finished in my lifetime.

Determined to do a proper job of sampling, I made 3 bumps of combed top, spun the singles, wound the singles onto separate bobbins toilet paper cores (abundant and cheap, and works well enough) and then made a 3 ply.

Winding the plied yarn onto the niddy-noddy, I noticed it didn't have as much elasticity as I expected. And the size was smaller than I was aiming for. More of a sock or fingering weight, than the sport or DK I think I want. A tighter twist too. It would make good sock yarn.  It did get stretchier after washing.

The sample is okay, but I decided to spin another sample. Slightly larger singles, a bit less twist, a little softer. More like this. (oops, I pulled it off the n-n before I took the picture, so not exactly an apples to apples visual.) This yarn is loftier, squishier and slightly fuzzier. I wonder if it would 'pill' to much?

Here are the 2 samples. The first yarn is the one on the right, knit on size US 3/2, the second sample on the left knit on size US 5/4/3 needles. Both samples were wet blocked. I'm learning. Blocking definitely 'opens up' my knitting. Now, I need to find my pattern. Or maybe first I should sample a 4 ply or a cabled yarn.

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