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Friday, July 12, 2013

Spinning Success & Problems

Committing myself to spin for an hour while watching Tour de France highlights every evening means I've made some good progress. A recent Sweet Georgia Fiber Club shipment was this gorgeous merino/tencel blend. I had 200gr of this and my plan was to spin each 100gr braid as finely as I could so I would end up with a 2ply laceweight.
I started this a while back but hadn't made much progress till we came back from Cumbria a couple of days after the start of The Tour de France. I've now spun the first 100gr braid and I'm kind of getting a bit bored with this fibre. I love spinning it and I love the colour but I'd like to spin something different. So I'm letting the bobbin rest for a few days while I decide what to do.
1.  I could navajo ply it but I'd end up with a thicker yarn than I wanted. 

2. I could split it onto two bobbins and ply them. I think this is the way I'll end up going. Instead of running it through the wheel to divide it onto two bobbins, I think I'll just wind half off on my electric ball winder and ply it from the plastic winder bobbin (I have lots of them).

Last night when I finished spinning the blue fibre, my first priority was to ply a bobbin of Sweet Georgia Merino/Tencel (from a former Fiber Club shipment). I had 100gr and had spun the top from one end to the other to try to get long colour repeats. I hadn't navajo plied anything since last summer and in fact, I only managed to conquer navajo plying last summer. I did wonder if I could remember how to do it and I got into it quite quickly. One problem i had was that the singles kept breaking. I had spun it very finely and some areas were thinner than others. I do have a problem generally when I ply with the singles breaking. I've learnt how to re-join the singles when I'm spinning a basic 2ply but I've no idea how to do it when navajo plying. 

Anyone know of any good ways or online tutorials on how to do this? I'd appreciate some advice.

I'm happy with the quality of this yarn. It's fairly evenly spun, it's well plied, I like the colour but with so many breaks there are quite a few knots in it. As I got towards the end of the bobbin the singles broke again and I lost the end. That was it, I gave up and took the bobbin off and wound it into a skein, washed it and hung it up outside to dry overnight.

I've been thinking a lot about what to spin next. I decided to spin the Polwarth/Silk blend (also a former Fiber Club shipment from Sweet Georgia). I had planned to spin this yarn with some Panda (on the right in the photo below)(merino/bamboo) fibre from Sweet Georgia in similar colours but I decided I'd rather spin the Polwarth/Silk on its own.

My original plan was to spin the fibre onto two bobbins and do a 2ply. I'd planned to make it slightly thicker than my recent hand spuns so I'd finish it quicker. But as I un-did the braid last night I noticed it was dyed in a graduated manner from pink to orange.

 I did break the braid in half but I've decided to spin it from one end to the other a sit is and navajo ply it so I can keep the colours as they are and end up with a gradated yarn. I did spin a little bit while I was having breakfast this morning and I had problems stopping. It was lovely to spin I'm trying to spin it slightly thicker than I've done recently. Since my class with Judit McCuin at Knitnation 2 years ago I've focused on spinning thinner singles. I'd like this to end up as a sock/fingering weight or dk weight yarn. 

I've been knitting a lot this week too. My main focus is on two deadline projects - one is a crochet accessory and the other a laceweight skirt with a bit of lace.

Recently I bought some Regia sock yarn from a local shop in a beautiful colour. It was a bit of an impulse buy and it's been calling to me ever since. I'd planned to wait for our holiday in August to cast on but I've promised Simon I'll start a pair of socks for him then too. So while I was waiting for the yarn to arrive for my laceweight skirt I cast on for these socks on Monday.
My original plan was to knit plain socks toe up for me. I did consider doing them two at a time but I'm not a big fan of two at a time. Mainly because i prefer using dpns to circulars. Starting toe up socks is much easier on circulars but my plan was to swap to dpns when I'd finished the toe. But I'm still on circulars and I'm enjoying it more than I normally do. I decided that i'd get bored knitting them plain so started a simple lace pattern on the top of the foot.

The bottom of the foot is plan and I do love the way the stripes are knitting up.
I'm thinking of looking for some more Regia to knit Simon's socks. It's a lovely yarn to work with and a bit harder wearing than most hand-dyed yarns which is a good idea for man socks (and my socks for that matter as I do wear my socks out very quickly).

So can anyone give me some advice on my singles breaking when I ply and in particular how to join singles when navajo plying? Please tell me in the comments. I do appreciate advice.

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