Half way there

Before I came home yesterday, I’d finished, washed and dried my first skein of crepe yarn.

Late this afternoon the sun finally popped out from behind the rain clouds that have kept us indoors for much of the day.  I grabbed my skein and my camera and put a pretty book and the skein on top of the stacks of paperwork and books that seem to have migrated to the part of my desk I’m trying to keep clear for project photography (it stays clear for about 5 minutes, then gets invaded by the usual junk all over again).  So I added the macro lens to my camera and tried to hide the junk.

crepe yarn

I’m fairly happy with this as a first skein of rickrack yarn.  It’s a long way from perfect, but it’s predominantly balanced and overall the yarn is interesting.  For the first time ever I think I’m going to need to sample this before I decide on an end project.  And there’s still a second skein to complete…

Travel and craft

I’m just back from 9 days away with family.  I was very busy before I went away (completing divorce paperwork) and so I didn’t have a lot of time to think about the craft projects I may want to work on while away.  So, I packed a selection of current projects and contingencies in case I finished anything:

  • Mobius cowl (WIP, knitting)
  • Jacob shawl (UFO, knitting)
  • Fruit salad yarn – on Ravely some of my recent fibre dyeing has been described as looking like a fruit salad – so I brought all of that fibre and the large spindle I’m currently using (WIP, spindle spinning)
  • Rickrack yarn (WIP, spinning)
  • My travelling wheel
  • More fibre in case I finish the rickrack yarn and want to spin something else.  This consisted of more hand-painted tops, all of my commercial dyed Shetland, and all of my commercial dyed BFL as well as smaller amounts of natural Shetland.
  • Niddy-noddy (this was my only real nod towards travelling as I didn’t take my skein winder), swift and hand-cards
  • My 16” weaving loom with the purple shawl (WIP, weaving)
  • Some hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn to weave with if I finished the purple shawl.

I did some knitting on the Mobius cowl, I finished one of two skeins of the rickrack yarn and I progressed both the spindle spinning (a little) and the weaving (a lot).  However, I didn’t get near needing any of my contingency projects.  Here’s all my craft stuff back from its trip (this somehow fitted into the car along with me and two children and all the other things we needed):

travel

A breather

I have paused from what has turned out to be a mammoth plying task.  I’m working on the last stage of the 3-ply crepe yarn.  I started working at about 8pm this evening, setting up the skein of (deliberately) over twisted 2-ply onto the swift and the thin z-twist single onto the built-in Lazy Kate of this wheel.  I eventually stopped about halfway through the plying at 10:30pm when my neck was starting to feel achy.

setup

When I started the plying I had to fight the wheel while I persuaded it to take up the yarn (all previous spinning on this wheel has had me fighting too strong take-up and having to lace the singles once or twice between the flyer arms to get a reasonably gentle take-up).  I swore when the yarn jumped out of the open flyer hook (there is no orifice on this wheel) and tangled up instead of winding onto the bobbin.  I was worried that working from a skein of yarn from the swift would give me problems, but this has worked well.  Sometimes my single and two ply has got a bit tangled, so next time I’ll set up the swift on my right-hand side instead of behind my wheel.

Anyway, I eventually managed to get a balance between twist and take-up and I started being able to think about the yarn I was producing.  It took quite a while to get the right way to work on this.  I say the right way, but until I’ve washed and set the twist it’s going to be difficult to tell if it’s completely right.  However, the yarn does seem to snap into place when it’s going correctly.  I’m not holding the yarn in the way I would normally when plying (the single I’m holding fairly straight and the 2 ply I’m feeding in at a slight angle).  I’m working at it slowly so that I can control the amount of twist.  This means that I’m taking much longer to ply this yarn than I would normally take.

My yarn is not yet consistent, but as you can see when it’s working it’s very pretty.  I’m looking forward to seeing this washed and set.

yarn

bobbin