Sunday, July 05, 2020

And Now for the Fun Part

This weekend I reached an important stage in my Rambouillet fleece spinning project: Last night I officially finished spinning all the singles with the completion of my 11th bobbin, and this afternoon I started plying. Here is a look at all the singles, wound off the spinning wheel bobbins and placed on my uber-fancy "storage bobbins":

I weighed the singles and recorded the weight of each "cake" (subtracting the weight of the empty tube) to verify the amount of fiber I started with, and it was indeed about 22 oz., or, to be more exact, 624.6 g. I was pleased to see that my bundles of fiber were pretty uniform, with the cakes of singles ranging from about 55.9 g at the low end to 57.4 at the high end.

The reason to spin all the singles at the outset before plying is that it allows for mixing up singles spun at the beginning, middle, and end of the project. Any human is going to have some inconsistencies, so by mixing up the singles, the idea is that those inconsistencies even out. So because I am making three-ply yarn, I'm working from three of these bobbins at a time. For my first skein, I used the first, fifth, and ninth bobbins of singles spun. The second will use the second, sixth, and tenth bobbins spun, and the third skein will be plied from the third, seventh, and eleventh bobbins of singles. The only unused bobbin at that point will be the fourth, which I'll ply with leftovers remaining from the other bobbins (as I spun 2 oz. for each bobbin of singles and am thus starting to ply with a total of 6 oz., which is more than my WooLee Winder bobbins can hold, I'll have leftovers from all of them).

I managed to get the first skein plied today, and I pretty much just plied until the bobbin couldn't hold anymore yarn and it was falling off the end:

If it looks a little sloppy, that's because I hand to hand-wind on some of the last few yards. I immediately skeined it up and washed it. It's still drying now, but here's a peek at it before it got its soak:

Woolen-spun singles are fairly delicate -- they can be pulled apart really easily -- so I'm adding quite a bit of plying twist to the finished yarn. The first skein kinked up rather impressively when I pulled it off the niddy-noddy, but it seems to have calmed down enough with a wash and some snapping. I think the finished yarn is going to have a good amount of elasticity, and it's still got the fuzzy texture you see here after washing. Actually, when it was wet, it looked a bit like velour or chenille!

Given how quickly this first skein plied up, I have a feeling that the rest will be done in short order over the next week, and I already have the next project lined up because my most recent Southern Cross Fibre shipment finally showed up:

This colorway is called Pebbles, and yes, it is that subtle in person. For this shipment, the wool base was a mystery, though it's something from David's regular rotation so the number of possibilities is still limited. It's softer than the previous month's Corriedale but not quite merino soft, so my best guess would be Bond or Falkland. For my birthday, I treated myself to some extra bags of February's club shipment, which was a semisolid purple called Thunderstruck (if you're okay with viewing Ravelry, you can see it here). I'd already planned to spin that up into a fingering weight for a sweater, and it just occurred to me that I could use it for the main color and Pebbles for the contrast in a Tiny Dancer (note: Ravelry link).

Lest you think I spent my entire holiday weekend behind the wheel, let me show you what else I did, with Rainbow's assistance:

Thanks to the link that Katie posted on Friday, and the serendipity of having all the ingredients on hand, we made this delicious strawberry custard pie yesterday. We had some difficulty with the crust falling apart on us, but we made it work and it was delicious if not beautiful. We served it last night, when my in-laws came for dinner, and there's still quite a bit left that will be tackled this evening. We also watched the Hamilton movie on Disney+, went on a 12-mile bike ride, watched our neighbors set off fireworks, and ate way too much. Though I'm not feeling especially patriotic this year, it was good to have a long weekend and to spend it with family (all outdoors, properly socially distanced). I'm not exactly excited to get back to work this weekend, but I feel rested and recharged -- and a bit bruised from the bike ride, if I'm honest! I hope whatever you did this weekend, it recharged your batteries for the week ahead and brought you some piece and contentment!


  1. I like your detailed (almost scientific) explanation of how and why you spun your singles, and your plied yarn looks very nice indeed. I hope you enjoyed Hamilton and that delicious pie and have a good week ahead!

  2. Your pie looks great! I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I really struggle with pie crusts but hope I can master the technique some day!

    Thanks for explaining your next steps with your fiber. It's all so complicated! And your next bundle of fiber looks gorgeous - I can't wait to see the finished product!

  3. What a fantastically full weekend you had! I'll bet it made it feel like a good long one. I'm so glad I listened to Kym and tuned in to Hamilton, too. (Hooked.) 'Pebbles' looks so soft & beautiful--can't way to see that one down the road.

  4. The yarn is so beautiful - wow! Overall, it looks very even, that is truy a job well done!! I love the new fibre, the colours are just fantastic, and it will be beautiful! (Is that going to be the contrast colour or the background colour?)

    HOORAY for the strawberry pie! We haven't had that money strawberries yet (we have to change that), but I am looking forward to eat all the peaches! ;)
    It sounds as if you had a great long weekend, too. That's awesome.

  5. To my very untrained eye, those bobbins look quite uniform, still, I do get the process you're using to ply ... and yum on that pie! (does Rainbow enjoy cooking?)