Monday, July 5, 2010

Spinning My Wheel

Well, the Tour de Fleece has begun and despite my previous whining, I did get myself together in time for a timely start. First, I pulled out my entire fiber stash.

Tour de fleece 2010 - 001

Then I separated out my Spunky Eclectic club fiber...

Tour de fleece 2010 - 003

From my non-club fiber.

Tour de fleece 2010 - 002

Then I put all my club fiber in order by month.

Tour de fleece 2010 - 006

It almost didn't fit on my loveseat but I made it work.

I had two bags that had lost their labels. I put these aside.

Tour de fleece 2010 - 007

I pulled out the bags that had fiber I considered to be 'difficult' and set those aside for the challenge day of the tour.

Tour de fleece 2010 - 008

I pulled out two months that contained BFL fiber, since I want to try to spin new fibers during the tour, wool breeds I haven't spun before.

Tour de fleece 2010 - 009

I still had plenty left.

Tour de fleece 2010 - 010

I hemmed and hawwed over what remained, and picked out four bags (20 ozs) based on color and fiber.

Tour de fleece 2010 - 011

This is my goal for the tour, to spin these four bags plus one of the challenge bags (24 ozs total). My target three days per bag - spin 2 oz of singles each day and then 1 day to ply.

I started with Field of Screams:

Saturday I spun my two ounces and then some.

Sunday, being the 4th and a holiday, I had very little time, but I did manage to squeeze in some spinning time to at least meet the challenge requirements of spinning a little every day. Even though I spun extra on Saturday, I didn't get the full two ounces done in the time I had (although I came darn close, and if I had known everybody else would be so late to the party I would have stayed and finished it off).

Today, I have no plans, no obligations, and I don't have to go to work, so I'm hoping that today I will be able to finish off the last of yesterday's fiber and get at least my two ounces for today done as well.

I did manage to clear some bobbins before the tour started. I had a bobbin of red merino/bamboo that I intended to ply with some black merino/bamboo that I hadn't spun yet, so I spun up the black and finished off that yarn. I also spun through the white fiber that I had intended to pair with the colored puffs, and plied that. However, I ran out of white fiber before I had plied even one full bobbin of the colored! I snagged some white Corriedale at Uniquities that I will use to ply the rest.

I was, unfortunately, not pleased with the result of either the black and red yarn or the white and colored yarn. Once plied and soaked, I could see that the yarn was badly underspun. Anywhere there was a thick spot, it had very little twist at all. I think it's usable (if used gently) but it's definitely not what I want to be turning out.

I think the issue is that I have either gotten better with drafting or I've been using fiber that drafts more easily. As a result, I'm not holding on to the yarn as long before winds onto the bobbin. When I struggled with drafting, the wheel kept turning the whole time the yarn was in my hands, and the twist built up and I got kinky twisty yarn. Now that the fiber slides through my hands more easily, it's not building up as much twist.

I've been paying very close attention to this as I've worked on my TdF spinning, checking the singles frequently to make sure they're getting enough twist. I'm drafting with my hands further away from the wheel and I'm trying to be more aware of how much twist goes into it before I let it feed onto the bobbin. I won't know whether I'm successful until I ply, but I feel pretty good so far. I'm a little concerned about balancing the yarn when plying, though - I think I will have to be more aware of how much ply twist it needs as well. Up until now I have plyed best when I just let my hands and feet go on instinct, but since I am adding more twist in the spinning, I expect I will need more twist in the plying to balance it out, which means just going on instinct may not be enough.

I really like this fiber, so I hope I can get it to turn out well

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