Friday, November 23, 2007

I did a bit of dyeing on Monday, some roving this time. Dyeing roving is not as easy for me as dyeing yarn. I worry the whole time that it is going to felt or pull apart or tangle or fuzz.

The results, though? Delicious.

This is some Falkland roving that I won a while ago, from a contest over at Wool for Brains. Caroline sent me 200 grams of this beautiful, silky, lustrous roving from Wingham Wool Work, all the way from England. It was so lovely in it's natural white state that I almost didn't dye it, but Monday was a cold and gray day, and I wanted to try something new (to me) with dyeing.

My goal was to get two similar but different colors that would blend together when plied, to create an intermediate color. I divided the roving in half (by length), and made the dye for one half blue with a little green, and the other half green with a little blue. This was cold-pour dyeing; I arranged the roving on plastic wrap and dripped on spots of dye, then wrapped the plastic around and smooshed the wool a bit before steaming. This gave a beautiful mottled, tonal variegation. There are spots where the dye is nearly full intensity, and there are spots where there is only the barest flush of color.

I shall have fun spinning this. Thanks Caroline!

In other spinning news, I did another skein of laceweight. This is some Merino roving I found in my fiber closet, that I think came with the lace flyer I bought for my Ashford a couple years ago. Very nice fiber. But wait, what is going on with my wheel?

I have it set up for double drive! I usually spin using single drive (Scotch tension). I actually taught myself to spin on a borrowed double-drive-only wheel in September 2001, and liked it OK, but a couple months later when I bought my Ashford traditional, I had to switch to single drive since that's all it did. Really, at that point, it didn't make a whole lot of difference, since I was still in the beginner lumpy-bumpy over/underspun stage. I was making yarn, and I was happy.

I tried double drive a couple times over the years, and while I could make it work, I didn't feel like I had any control over the process. Scotch tension just felt better. But recently, I've felt like this was a cop-out, to keep using solely one method just because it's what I've always done. I wanted to try again.

So I did, and it worked much better this time. Easy, even. I was able to spin a fine singles (90-100 wpi) with very little effort. The drive band is cheap #5 crochet cotton, tied in a plain square knot. I had to fiddle a bit with the tension and whorl sizes to get it set right, but once I had that sorted out, it went really well. The plying was a bit troublesome because the takeup was so soft, but once I switched up to the next larger flyer whorl, it went fine. I spun the entire little bag of roving into singles on Tuesday evening, and plied it Wednesday evening.

That's 1.5 oz., ~385 yards of ~40 wpi two ply, enough to make a little lacy scarf or weft in something woven. It was really hard to measure the wpi and yardage of this skein, it's so soft and bouncy and stretchy. The skein measures 58" around when relaxed, and 67" around, stretched!

A good reintroduction to double drive, though I still think Scotch tension gives me better, finer control over the draw-in tension.


Cathy said...

Nice colors. And lovely laceweight. Looking forward to the project for them both.

Laritza said...

Beautiful yarn, beautiful color.

Caroline M said...

The colours in the roving are lovely, I struggle to dye without getting saturation. I shall wait patiently to see the finished yarn.

Leigh said...

It was interesting to read about your experiences with Scotch versus DD. Mine were very much the same, and like you, I always felt that Scotch tension was easier to fine tune. I have two wheels, and deliberately set them up differently (Ashford Traddy in Scotch, Kromski Minstrel in DD). Soon I got so used to the DD that it didn't matter which wheel I spun on! Your yarn (and roving) are lovely.