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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spinning Decisions!

I think it's about 7 years since I got my first spinning wheel and taught myself to spin. I had a quick demo from the lady I bought my first wheel from then I was on my own. After a few months I took a beginners spinning class but the other ladies in the class had never spun before and I had already mastered the things we were due to learn in the class apart from hand carding.
A skein of sparkly green fibre I spun from a batt last year.

Two years ago I was feeling very dissatisfied with my spinning. I like knitting with finer yarns but I couldn't spin yarn quite fine enough. I also bought beautfiul hand-dyed braids of top and when I'd spun it up it didn't look as nice as it did pre-spinning.

Then I saw an ad for Knitnation 2011. Judith McKenzie was teaching and I booked the class and dragged my wheel (I'd replaced my first Ashford Traveller with a Majacraft Little Gem which is a little travel wheel which fold down into it's own bag) up to London, around the tube in the rush hour to the show. As soon as i sat down and started spinning at the beginning of the class my spinning improved 100%. It's like Judith has some sort of magic power or something. I came home feeling really inspired and determined to do more spinning. 
Two bobbins of Optim Merino I spun last summer. I'm keen to knit with this soon.

Life took over and I was busy so I didn't spin as much as I wanted too. And i still had that problem with knowing the best way to spin hand-dyed top to make the most of the colour. Then last summer Tour de France started. At the same time as Tour de France is happening, the spinning world organises a Tour de Fleece. I've joined several times before and failed meeting my goals. So this time I didn't join officially but I made an effort to try to spin every night while we watched the Tour highlights for an hour. 

Around the same time I found out about Felicia Lo's (of Sweet Georgia) Craftsy class on Spinning Dyed Fibers. I immediately joined and the class taught me so much. I've been a member of the Sweet Georgia Fiber club a few times too and have a huge stash of SG fibre. 

We watched a lot of cycling last summer: Tour de France, La Vuelta (in Spain), Tour of Britiain, the Olympics. Everytime i watched the cycling highlights I'd spin. Amazing how much you can get done when you do it little and often. As the autumn went on I did spin a lot less but I'm trying to get back in to it again.

I've been working on this batch of Sweet Georgia merino/tencel (or at least that's what I thin it is but I've lost the label) for a few months now and I'm keen to finish. I'm spinning fairly fine singles and will navajo ply it to maintain the long colour changes. I'm coming to an end now and I'm hoping i might be able to finish it this weekend.
Last week the latest shipment of Sweet Georgia Fiber Club arrived and I love this colour (it's merino/silk) but I did think it was kind of similar to what I'm currently spinning. 
When I compared the two fibres side by side they're not all that similar at all. I do feel this fibre would be best navajo plyed and I don't want to do two navajo plyes after each other. I did also consider other ways of blending the colours. I fancy trying to spin from the fold as it's something I've never done before and i could blend the pale pin and rose together.
I had kind of already decided I'd spin this beautiful batch which is also Sweet Georgia club fibre from last autumn. I think it's Panda which is a merino/bamboo blend and a blend i've been keen to spin. I can see this spun up into a delicate 2ply laceweight.
 But as I was going through my fibre basket the other day I also found this batch. Sweet Georgia again. This time Organic Polwarth/silk which is a blend I've never spun and I'm keen to try to spin new blends. I love the pink but I'm less keen on the organge but Felicia showed us a way of blending colours in the Craftsy class that i'm keen to try out and this could be perfect.
 The colour above is a little bit similar to this Sweet Georgia Panda fibre and i did wonder if I could hold a piece of the organic polwarth/silk together with a piece of panda and draft them together. 
 Or spin the two fibres separately then ply the singles together. The weather has been so dark and dull lately that spinning the bright polwarth/silk is very appealing.
 Just in case you think all my fibre is Sweet Georgia it's not. I also have this beautiful batt which I've had for ages and I can't remember where it's from. I'm thinking this would be fun to spin too.
 I've also got 2 little braids of pure silk from June Fibre Arts. Again, this might satisfy my need for something brighter. I think I'd spin this into a blended 2ply.
 That's a lot of choice, right? Last week I tidied up my studio (more on that next week) and went through my yarn and spinning stash boxes. I divided my fibre stash into two big boxes. One full of solid fibre and one full of hand-dyed fibre. And I re-discovered some stuff there I'd forgotten about. I've also got a spinning basket in the lounge containing all the fibre shown above.

To complicate things further I've got a friend coming around next week to do some drum carding. She's a spinner too and I thought we could have a fun afternoon playing with my drum carder. So I'm planning to bring my drum carder down to the dining room table and my box of solid colour fibre (and maybe some hand-dyed fibre too) and have fun making some colourful batts. I may end up with a few things I'd like to spin. 

Oh and did I mention that I've got about 7-8 kg sack of merino in the garage plus some bags of other luxury and un-dyed fibres in my studio. I could dye these any colour i fancy spinning, although I'm nto that good at dyeing fibre, my plan was to dye some of it then drum card it into some pretty batts.

So, do you see my problem? I've got so much beautiful spinning fibre and so little spinning time. I definitely think I need to find some time to do some daily spinning. Perhaps a TV programme I wantch daily for 30mins to an hour. That's be perfect to keep up with my spinning ambitions and get some of this beautiful fibre spun up.

So if you were me, which fibre would you spin next? Tell me in the comments. I'm looking forward to reading your suggestions.


Joanne said...

What a lovely problem to have. I always tend to do a small quantity spinning project between the larger ones, just so I have a sense of accomplishment to inspire me onto the next one. Personally, I like the blue one, but think it's a hard decision. Perhaps put them all in a basket and close your eyes and pick one! Looking forward to seeing what you do pick.

Dori said...

I would spin either the polwarth silk or the last one from June Fibre arts. One thing which Jason kept me on track with spinning this month is podcasts. I put one on and start spinning and it is very enjoyable and goes fast!

Chery said...

I have spun during the early evening news. . . Then started cooking dinner! Happy Spinning,

sherkswife said...

Any of them will look gorgeous hun . You r such an ispiration i feel tge need to go get lilly lendrum wgilst snooker on

Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone. Top of my short list now is the polwarth/silk, the blue panda and the pure sik.