Sunday, November 01, 2020

Let Me Spin You a Yarn

It's Sunday again, and November to boot! I have lost all concept of time this year, and I'm sure it's the same for all of you. But I got an extra hour of sleep, I've had my coffee and reset all the clocks, and I am ready to talk about spinning!

I finished my latest spinning project on Friday, and thanks to the temperature dropping quite a bit over the course of the day, the radiators were kicking and served me well to dry the wet yarn overnight.

The large/main skein here is a crepe yarn. This is a ply structure in which you spin a two-ply yarn and ply it with a single. I know that doesn't seem very complicated, but it requires careful attention to the way you're spinning so that you have twist in all the elements going the right direction. Typically, handspun yarn is spun with singles twist in the Z direction (meaning it's twisted to the right) and plied in the S direction (twisted to the left). That's what I did with the two-ply component of this yarn. But because it was plied S, that meant that the second step of plying would have to be in the Z direction, and thus the single I'd be plying it with would have to be spun S. Confused yet? Basically the rule here is that for each step, you need to reverse the direction to balance out the twist. That's not that hard to keep track of, but muscle memory is a real thing to contend with, so I had to put a note with an arrow on my wheel so that I remembered which direction I was meant to be spinning.

The finished skein is in the sport to DK range and about 208 yards. The mini skein above is what was left of the two ply when the single ran out. I find this ply structure to be interesting, but I don't love it. I suspect it's something to do with the unevenness of the structure -- crossing one ply with two. I also admit I didn't do a great job of balancing the twist, so the yarn does kink up a bit. But it was good to do for the learning aspect in any case.

Up next on my wheel is another item from my 20 in 2020 spinning list: battlings from the now out of business Hobbledehoy:

"Battlings" are just small bits of fiber that come from pulling apart a larger batt. I have two bags of these, for a total of 4 oz., and my plan is just to spin them at random onto one bobbin and then ply from both ends to use every last bit. These are a blend of merino, silk, bamboo, and sparkle, so they should be pretty easy to spin.

I also got some fiber in the mail yesterday that was a bit of a surprise!

Over not-Rhinebeck weekend, Loop Fiber Studio had a series of giveaways on Instagram, and I won one of them! I had a choice between a skein of their Yin Yang yarn or one of their bullseye bumps, and as it's been years since I've spun one and I'm always tempted when I visit their booth at festivals, I chose the fiber. These are pretty fun to spin, because they're made like a center-pull ball of yarn but in fiber form. The one I chose is called Vernal Equinox, and it's a mix of merino, nylon, and sparkle. It looks like it'll alternate sections of black with pastel colors.

Finally, I have some photos to share that I promised Vera I would take. These are from the front yard of a house in my neighborhood; I rerouted my run yesterday so I would be able to stop and take photos. Whoever lives in this house clearly has a sense of humor and is left leaning. Click the photos to embiggen and read the signs!

We had a very low-key Halloween here. We went out to have a small get-together with my brother and sister-in-law and some family friends on their deck (so we were outside and socially distanced) and then picked up pizza for dinner. We did not hand out candy or carve pumpkins. I suppose it was a bit depressing, but no one complained! Today is supposed to be another gloomy, cold day, with rain turning to snow(!) later on. I am helping out at a clothing drive at our synagogue for a couple of hours this afternoon, but otherwise I plan to stay home and craft and try not to think about Tuesday.

I almost forgot to mention! Eileen and I have been talking about doing a virtual spin-in via Zoom or Google Hangouts. If you would be interested in joining us, please let me know! It would likely be on a weekday evening or weekend afternoon.


  1. I like that crepe yarn, the colors in the battlings are lovely, and so is the Loop fiber! I'll look forward to seeing the yarn you spin. And those signs are just great! Things like that really go a long way towards giving me hope for tomorrow (that I'm also trying not to think about).

  2. Wow, I had no idea that crepe yarn was so many steps!! It turned out lovely, Sarah!

    I would absolutely love to join up for a virtual spin! YES! Just the diversion I need :)

  3. We, too, had a low-key Halloween--but fun. I'm a bit of a Halloween Grinch, so I was quite fine with it...! (I DO love those deorations, though!)

    1. I'm not hugely into Halloween, either (at least not the scary stuff), but I enjoy costumes and decorations that have a sense of humor!

  4. Such beautiful yarn you spin Sarah. The fiber looks like fun. And I do love a neighbor with a sense of humor.