Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yarnspinner's Tales

I have been working all month to get a free wheel so that I could participate in the spin along over in the Yarnspinners Tale's Podcast group on Ravelry. Unfortunately it took non stop CNN coverage of the devastation in Japan to get me to sit still long enough to get it started. #1 Son lived in Japan for a year a while back so this caught my attention in a big way.

Once I got my jaw to close after seeing all the horrific news coverage, the first decision that had to be made was what to spin. I wanted something as au natural as possible. The first thing I came upon in the black hole that is my fiber stash was this Shetland from one of favorite Etsy shops: Sheepish Creations.

Having just finished spinning Merino and Cormo, the Shetland at first felt scratchy and sent me running for the Benadryl bottle, but it grew on me and I started to regret sacrificing it for experimentation purposes.

Step #1 was to spin your default single for a half an hour or so. You then let half of it sit for a few days and knit a swatch as is-which means without plying or setting the twist through soaking.

The other half was pulled off to get a soaking. I don't have a waterproof niddy-noddy yet so I improvised with a coat hanger.

Step #2 was to then spin the tightest twist you can imagine and knit a swatch with it fresh off the bobbin. I literally knit it right off the bobbin. It was full of twisted "pigtails". It was quite a job to get it done. The single also felt very rough and bumpy to the touch which was very different from my default single.

The swatch was a rectangle: 24 rows across by about 16 rows down. That diamond shape is what happens as the singles pull to one side due to the extra twist.

The remaining energized singles were made into a crazy looking skein and left to soak. When they are dry they will be knit in the same size swatch as above for comparison.

The purpose of all of this craziness is to increase your awareness of how all the variables in spinning work to create different types of knitted fabric. I have to wait a few days before I can make any of those comparisons but it did make for one interesting morning!

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