The Queen of Trial and Error

There are many things in life that as you learn them, they are pretty straight forward. Do A and you will get B result. Hit C on the piano, you will get C. Use the popcorn button on the microwave, put in the popcorn and you will have popped corn when the microwave dings. But there are an incredible number of things that you need to do over and over again to become proficient and get the result you want. Spinning is one of them.

There are so many variables to take into consideration to make a decent yarn and right now this 50% wool and 50% tencel is kicking my butt. I love the feel of this fiber. It is wonderfully soft and silky. It has and incredible sheen because of the tencel and I love the pale blue with purple splotches. But I can’t seem to get the twist down right. I know I have a tendency to put more twist than necessary on my yarn, but this is way beyond what I usually do.

I’m going to blame this problem on my new wheel, as well as having not spun this particular fiber before. When I first started spinning, it took me a number of weeks before I got comfortable with my wheel. I made spectacular “art yarn,” you know those thick thin yarns that everyone loves. As I got better, my singles became more even. Now, making art yarn is more difficult, which is ok with me, because it’s not what I like to knit with.

So I’m cutting myself some slack and allowing myself some time to get to know this wheel better. I’m pulling out some wool and playing with it, so I can get my tensioning down better. I’m also willing to sacrifice some of this wool/tencel if necessary, to be able to get this looking like real yarn, instead of a twisted mass of fiber.

I’m also going to try the trick of unspinning. This is more than a little scary to me. To unspin the yarn, you put your bobbin on the lazy kate, and rewind it back onto another bobbin taking some twist out by running your wheel in the opposite direction, as it takes up. There is a real chance of taking out too much twist, so I’m going to wait to do that one.

Spinning is a very satisfying adventure. I was able to make some interesting, rustic yarn out of this alpaca. Initially I wasn’t happy with the noils in the fiber, which made slubs in the yarn, but it’s growing on me. I think it kind of looks like dreadlocks. I’ll sample the yarn, both for knitting and weaving before I spin any more.

I have a number of fibers in my stash that are calling to me. Most notably, beside the tencel/wool, I have some silk/wool blends from Lisa Souza that are particularly interesting in Cranbewry and Leaf Pile that I think I’ll ply together.

I’m hoping to keep at the spinning longer this year. In the past I’d get into spinning for a month or so, and play with the Tour de Fleece group on Ravelry. I’d get distracted and start knitting or sewing, with the intention of getting back to spinning and whoops, there goes a year.  But really, the only way to get good at spinning, is to do it and do it every day. Yep, that trial and error.

About fiberdazed

Knitter, spinner, weaver, sewer keeps me busy and has me Fiberdazed.
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2 Responses to The Queen of Trial and Error

  1. What kind of new wheel did you get? It looks like you started with an Ashford early in your spinning career. Did you stay with that?
    I was going to offer suggestions on how to handle the twist, right up until the moment I saw some of your alpaca skeins. You are obviously not a novice spinner! Good luck with the new yarn type. I am sure it will be beautiful when knitted up.

  2. fiberdazed says:

    Thank you, I don’t consider myself an absolute beginner, but I am a little rusty. The new wheel I have is a G. R. Rognvaldson. They are a Canadian family, with 3 generations making wheels. I haven’t been able to find very much information about them. It is a sweet little wheel that I think I’ll get a lot of use out of.

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