Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Not a bad start

I've still been spinning since Spinzilla ended two weeks ago.  I've done a load of yarn on my Hansen miniSpinner, which is still SO FABULOUS, but I also did another tiny skein on my new Jenkins Bee Hummingbird spindle.

I bought a couple bundles of very nice raw Australian merino from a farm in eastern Australia (RaniSmithDesigns on Etsy.  Highly recommended.).  For this first little trial skein I used two 1 gram bunches from Ewe #71.  The fiber thickness on this fleece was measured at 17.4 microns.  This is beautiful wool, with gorgeous luster, crimp, and softness, and hardly any vegetable matter. 

I washed the 1 gram bundles individually, in boiling water and dish soap.  Each lock lost about 0.17 gram during washing- mostly lanolin, because there was hardly any dirt.  Here's what they looked like before and after.

Australian merino locks washed vs. unwashed

I flicked them with a dog slicker to get the tips open and the shorter fibers out.  Then I spun and spun and spun, about four hours for each bundle.

0.63 gram of Australian merino on a Jenkins Bee Hummingbird spindle

This is the first spindleful done. The wool spun like a dream, it just flowed and drafted out thinner and thinner.  It was delightful.

I spun each bundle as a separate spindleful, then wound them onto storage bobbins. 

1.28 grams of Australian merino ready to ply

I didn't make a plying ball, but just plied from the bobbins.  In retrospect I'm not sure why I thought that would be a good idea, because it never has been in the past, but I guess I thought minimal handling of the singles would be better since they were so very very fine.

It was not a good idea, and made plying much more frustrating than it should have been.  The singles were fairly strong, considering, and a plying ball would have been fine. As it was, I lost 0.38 gram of singles (which equates to a fair amount of yardage!) to a massive tangle that I couldn't get undone.  Ah well, lesson learned.

Anyway, I got the rest of it safely plied.

1.28 grams of Australian merino 2-ply, 73 yards

This skein is 1.28 grams and 73 yards of 2-ply.  It's a little underplied, but I'm quite pleased with myself.

1.28 grams of Australian merino 2-ply, 73 yards

So do you want to know a secret?  One reason that I'm excited about this tiny spindle and this little test skein of ultra-cobweb weight yarn is that there's a spinning contest in New Zealand that runs every two years.  It's called the International Longest Thread Competition and is part of the Bothwell Spin In and Fibre Festival.  The goal is to spin the longest 2-ply thread you can from 10 grams of fiber.  Entries for the 2019 competition are due in October 2018, and with the postal system being what it is, I would want to mail my entry by September 2018.

This skein is a good first attempt.  My goal is to get the yarn to half this thickness and I need to work on my plying joins.  With yarn this thin there is no margin for error.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Spinzilla 2017 Results!

Well, it's been a couple weeks since the spinning finished but the results are finally (finally, finally) in.  Here's a shot of the pile of yarn that I spun during that single week.

Spinzilla 2017 total

This is 20 skeins, a total of 4.7 pounds, 12,968 yards, 7.4 miles of yarn.  In terms of Spinzilla spinning credit (length of singles plus length of plying), that works out to 41,176 yards!  That's 23.4 miles!

I must say I'm proud of myself.  My goal was to break 40,000 Spinzilla yards, and I did it.

And not only that, my team won first place overall, with a total yardage of 255,718 Spinzilla yards!  Way to go Team Knot Another Hat!

And not only that, I got fourth place overall for individual spinner's yardage!  WooHoo!

I enjoyed this year's Spinzilla.  There were some serious top-level organizational issues, but my team is great and the spinning was fun.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Spinzilla 2017, Day 7

Well, here we are on the last day.  I went a little overboard.

Spinzilla 2017, Day 7

This is:
  • 2.9 oz Bam Huey Olive Branch (spun and plied today)
  • 2.9 oz Bam Huey Wild Berry (spun and plied today)
  • 15.2 oz (2 skeins) natural gray alpaca (spun and 3-plied today)
  • 3.4 oz SporFarm Black Pine (spun and plied today)
  • 4.1 oz Upstream Alpacas Moss Green (spun and plied today)
  • 3.5 oz white merino (spun and plied today)
  • 6.2 oz Bam Huey Calm Waters/Moon Beams (plied today)
  • 4.5 oz purple merino/silk (plied today)
  • 4.3 oz white merino (plied today)

I spun for 22 hours today, with a few short breaks.  Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Spinzilla 2017, Day 6

Here's what I did today.

Spinzilla 2017, Day 6: 4 oz SporFarm shetland/merino "Cherry Blossom", 3.3 oz Targhee, 3 oz Bam Huey D'oh D'oh Bird, 3 oz Bam Huey Moon Beams, 3 oz Bam Huey Calm Waters, 4.5 oz purple merino/silk

This is:
  • 4 oz SporFarm shetland/merino “Cherry Blossom” (spun and plied today)
  • 3.3 oz Targhee (plied today)
  • 3 oz Bam Huey D’oh D’oh Bird (chain plied today)
  • 3 oz Bam Huey Moon Beams (singles)
  • 3 oz Bam Huey Calm Waters (singles)
  • 4.5 oz purple merino/silk (singles)
I spun for 18.5 hours today. I am tired. One more big day tomorrow and then we’ll see if I met my goal of 40,000 Spinzilla yards. I think I must be getting close.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Spinzilla 2017, Day 5

Day 5 was all about plying:

Spinzilla 2017, Day 5:  PLYING.  3 oz Bam Huey Olive Branch, 3 oz Bam Huey Spinzilla Test Purple, 3 oz Bam Huey D'oh D'oh Bird, 4 oz SporFarm Dark Red

This is 3 oz Bam Huey Olive Branch, 3 oz Bam Huey Spinzilla Test Purple, 3 oz Bam Huey D'oh D'oh Bird, 4 oz SporFarm Dark Red, all singles that I spun earlier this week.

I took the miniSpinner out on the front porch for a while this afternoon, and it was so lovely to sit and spin and watch the sun through the leaves, the squirrels in the big silver maple in the front yard, and the kids playing across the street.  This little spinner is much more portable than my big wheel.

Peace.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Spinzilla 2017, Day 4

Here's Day 4:

Spinzilla 2017, Day 4: 0.5 oz Abstract Fibers “Ink”, 3 oz Bam Huey “Raspberry Sorbet”, 3 oz Bam Huey “Sun Beam”

This is  0.5 oz Abstract Fibers “Ink”, 3 oz Bam Huey “Raspberry Sorbet”, 3 oz Bam Huey “Sun Beam.”

You may also notice that my miniSpinner is here!!!!!  I made it back in time to get it from the post office and I've been using it, and it's awesome and I love it.

Can't talk more now, it's midnight and I really really have to go to bed.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Spinzilla 2017, Day 3

Here's Day 3:

Spinzilla 2017, Day 3: 3 oz BamHuey “Olive Branch” and 2 oz Bam Huey Raspberry Sorbet”

That's 3 oz Bam Huey “Olive Branch” and 1.5 oz Bam Huey Raspberry Sorbet” (half a wheel).  Not as much as I would have liked but I had to travel for work, from one side of the state to the other. I was in the office this morning, then a long lunch at home to spin this, then five hours of driving. Tomorrow is most of the day at the job site and five hours driving back home. I may not get anything spun at all tomorrow. Ugh.

On the other hand, I’ll try and make up for it this weekend, because... I did a thing, and my brand new Hansen Pro miniSpinner is arriving TOMORROW!!!  I probably won't get back home before the post office closes, though, and won't actually have it in my hands until Friday.  I've never owned an electric spinner, and while not having to treadle does feel somewhat like cheating, I couldn't get the thought of all that speeeeeeeeed out of my head.