Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Well, I'm still whirling along on the urchin shawl (...you know, like whirling a pizza dough to stretch it out, only slower...yes, I have a strange mind...), and am now up to round 250! I think I'm actually getting there! For some reason, it seems like the recent rounds are going by faster then the earlier ones. (They aren't really, it just seems like it.) There was a bit in the middle where it felt like each round took f...o...r...e...v...e...r.

Perhaps it helped that we finally got the necessary wiring-connector-converter-adapter thingy to allow our DVD player to communicate with our TV, and I can now listen to my favorite movies while I knit. When you've seen Lord of the Rings That. Many. Times. the soundtrack alone is enough. The pictures just play along in my head as I happily count out my lace. We had the DVD player routed through our broken VCR when we were in Washington, but couldn't see the logic of bringing a piece of defunct electronics along on the move. Of course, when we got here and were connecting all the wires together, we realized why we had kept said defunct electronics; namely, that the 3 year old DVD player doesn't speak the same language as the 12 year old TV. Anyway, when my dad was here a couple weeks ago, he offered to send us the adapter he was no longer using since he recently bought a big huge giant over the top very nice new TV. The adapter works, and we can watch DVDs again.

I worked out something of a system for fiber work in the past week. I'm concentrating on the urchin shawl, but I have to have something else going as well, preferrably non-knitting, so different muscles are used. I find that spinning is a good complement to knitting. It rests my hands, eyes and brain, exercises my feet, and lets me sit in a different posture.

So my daily goal is to knit at least two rounds on the shawl, and spin if I'm still feeling crafty and awake. The spinning has been the almost-froghair silk that I posted about here and here. I started on a new bobbin after that last picture, the bobbin with eight hours on it. I weighed it to find out how much silk singles was on it, and portioned out an equal weight of roving. It was only 16.5 grams(0.56 oz)! I spent the next few days spinning that. It also took eight hours.

I then rewound both bobbins onto 6" weaving bobbins in preparation for plying. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the weaving bobbins with the silk on them, they were beautiful, and sixteen hours of spinning only produced enough singles to fill one third of each bobbin.

I plyed last night and this morning, and ended up with this:



After skeining it off onto the niddy-noddy to measure the yardage,



a quick dip in a warm bath and a breezy drying outside,



and I have this!



That little handful is 33 grams (1.16 oz), and 680 yards of 70 wraps-per-inch two ply. It represents sixteen hours of spinning, five hours of plying, and 30 minutes of skeining. The grist works out to just under 10,000 yards per pound. (!)

While I was plying the two bobbins together, the second one only had this much left over when the first ran out.



There is a five yard length of yarn at the end of the skein that is plyed from both ends of the leftover bobbin. That means that one bobbin only had 10 yards more singles than the other. Fairly consistent, considering how long that thread was!



I'm not sure what this is going to become. Maybe knitted lace, maybe something woven. I may spin up a whole bunch more of this and knit a gigantic, diaphanous, floaty shawl. Or I may use it as warp and weave myself something beautiful and impractical. This yarn is very strong- Neither the singles nor the plied yarn broke during the whole process. Well, OK, the singles did break once during plying, but it was not the fault of the singles, it was because Emma ran by and got caught on one of the plies.

I'm still working on my fine-spinning skills, but this is getting there. I think patience is one of the biggest components of spinning fine. You spin and spin (and spin and spin and spin) and the bobbin still looks mostly empty. It's worth it, though.

7 comments:

Valerie said...

Beautifully spun silk! Can't wait to see how you use it.

bibliotecaria said...

I really want to spin something that fine! Wow! Can you share some more details of how you drafted it? Set up the spinning wheel? Was it a special flyer or bobbin?

CrazyFiberLady said...

you make my laceweight look bulky! Gorgeous!

vanessa said...

lovely handspun!

Leigh said...

That is fantastic! Your spinning is lovely. I agree with you idea to have several types of fiber projects going on simultaneously. I usually have at least two, knitting and weaving, and usually spinning too. Glad you got your DVD player working!

Cyndy said...

Patience is a virtue that you obviously possess! Beautiful work Sue...

"I find that spinning is a good complement to knitting. It rests my hands, eyes and brain, exercises my feet, and lets me sit in a different posture."...I'm inclined to agree with you...it is all about balance ;-)

Swanknitter said...

You make me feel totally inadequate in the realm of lace spinning. Gorgeous perfect result.