Archive for May, 2005

I finished two of the millspun copies and added the new pictures. I spun the fat single for the Brown Sheep sample and then had to go back and remove twist because it had too much. Ick. Now I guess I’ll start on the next one, I’ll do both from commercial Merino top. The others would have come out smoother if I had done that, but I had to use fleece to match colors.

I’m waiting for the water to boil to steam more blue yarn for a second attempt at the Andean swatch. I hosed the warp tension so badly I gave up and pulled it apart. I can still use most of the yarn but I need more blue and white for the pattern. If I’m going to re-do the white yarn anyway, I am going to go get some different fleece out of storage. The Blue-faced Leicester is nice, but the staple length is shorter than I’d like. I think the Shetland will do. I hope to get it warped by this weekend so I can work on it at a local spinning event Saturday.

This winding skeins business is getting really old. I’m doing fast skeins right now, so it seems like I get two new ones finished for every one wound.

Now the camel is done, it looks like small rope. Which is about all it’s good for, anyway. I did a two-ply of each color and then put the two of those together for the final cable yarn. The color makes it look almost like a two-ply, but when you look closer it’s obviously four. I like this color effect better than plying the colors together, it doesn’t end up as busy. I did the final plying with a spindle and then wound a ball, soaked it in water, and did it again to check that it didn’t twist. That’s the only way to be sure it’s balanced. It’s thick and heavy, I have almost 40g and I still think I’ll have barely enough for the skein and a wpi card. Now that it’s washed, it smells vaguely of wet camel.

With The Boyfriend gone for the weekend, I’m getting a lot done. The Cascade-alike is drying and it is a bit fuzzy but other than that looks pretty good. I stuck all four bobbins on knitting needles in a plastic box to ply and that worked ok. It only tried to shred a little bit. It looks kinda like somebody washed a skein of Cascade 220, so I guess that’s not too bad. Not that I’m washing this stuff. I sprayed it with water and hung it to dry to set the twist.

I created a new Misfit this morning by attempting to copy some things that I see all over in the yarn stores, a thick and thin bulky spiral. It looks exactly like something I’d expect to find put up in a 50g ball and selling for $15. The thick parts are too thick and although it looks good now it is so low-twist that it would start to pill even just trying to knit it. Sound familiar? I don’t like the ones in the stores for the same reason. I did it again with the fat single a little more even and it is more stable. It looks disturbingly like something from Lion Brand. But it’s a special effect yarn from a blend of fibers, in this case wool, silk and ingeo. The sky blue silk/ingeo blend from before didn’t spin up as smooth as I’d hoped, so I did something else and used it for the binder with a big Merino single. I knew there was a reason I bought that bump of black top.

I have to spin more of the cotton/silk blend, because I don’t have enough for the wpi card. Fortunately I had some blended fiber left. I did a little but I need more, this stuff is so thin that there’s going to be like 30 meters wrapped around the little piece of cardboard. In the interest of avoiding that nuisance, I started on the camel hair. I’m doing another cable, in two colors and fairly thick. It will go fast. That’s a good thing.

Now I can get back to my reheated pizza. The Boyfriend goes away and see what happens? It’s not all bad, at least. There are vegetables. And soy cheese (because I can’t have very much of the real stuff.) I ordered two so I’d have it for a few days, the place messed up my order and in fixing it I ended up with four huge pizzas. I gave away a bunch and we will still be eating it for a week. At least it’s good pizza.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate low-twist yarns? I have three of four bobbins done of the Cascade-alike single. I don’t have more done because I have to force myself to spin it. It doesn’t even look like yarn on the bobbin, it’s like there are just strands of fiber wrapped around it. That is very close to the truth. I have to use the slowest possible ratio of my wheel, which is I think 6:1. I didn’t even own the “normal” flyer until a few months ago because it just isn’t something I use. And this is not a large single, either. Most commercial yarns are like this, even the one that is supposed to be a substitute for handspun lace yarn. I tried to reproduce that one a few months ago and I was using the same slow ratio for an even smaller single.

These are absolutely the product of modern mechanical spinning equipment, because they could never be made with a spindle. It would immediately break with a drop spindle and you don’t get an extra hand to do a worsted style technique with a supported spindle. Even traditional worsted wool is supposed to be hard and smooth, not this light and fluffy stuff. It’s easier to make a consistant yarn from combed wool, and that’s what everybody wants for reliable high-speed processing, so there is almost no true woolen commercial yarn anymore. Rumor has it there is some somewhere, but I actually have never seen it.

The hardware upgrade was positively painless, so I’m back together sooner than I expected. The software upgrade was a different story, unfortunately. The one thing that didn’t work perfectly is my website development environment, so I’m back to the old system for now. I didn’t get much actual spinning done, but I did measure out several more final skeins, a truly dull operation. Pretty soon I have to get started on the wraps per inch tags, which begins with cutting out 40 little pieces of cardboard. Now that’s excitement! I’ve been saving the inserts from my monthly Apple developer mailings just for this purpose.

I bought a bunch of printable labels to avoid having to write out every single wpi tag and index card by hand. None of my friends have owned a typewriter for decades and even my mother got rid of hers when she finally switched to a computer. At least I have a printer now, someone gave me his old one a few months ago. I’ve been saving it because it’s an inkjet and as soon as I install the new cartridges, I have a limited amount of time before they stop working. I tried to find printable index cards but they are hideously expensive and I already spent enough on the box of labels. I’m not really clear the purpose of putting all this information on a 3×5 card (and it must be 3 inches by 5 inches) and then stapling it to a file folder. Oh, I don’t have a stapler either. But there is one in the office I can use when nobody’s around. All this paper, arranged in seemingly arbitrary fashion.

I also got another mailing from the registrar this week, with shipping instructions. I have to ship my package and then send, under separate cover, a form detailing a box inventory, date of shipping, insurance valuation and carrier. “The forms should arrive in advance of the materials.” I will certainly be sending this by something other than Parcel Post, which means the package may well arrive before the form announcing it’s impending delivery. Plus, the letter didn’t even give the actual submission deadline (despite blanks left on the form for this purpose) but only a hand-written note that it would be best if I shipped everything by the first of August. I only know the date because I sent an email to the registrar myself to find out. I realize this is a mostly volunteer organization, but there are some things that I expect to see just out of good practice.

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© 2004-2007 Andrea Longo
spinnyspinny at feorlen dot org