Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Yarn Wrangling

So, just what was so urgent, so important, so necessary that I could not leave my house all of that three day weekend?

Plying. Clearing off bobbins. Clearing up a backlog of yarn ready-to-be-plied, piling up, so to speak. I did have a book on tape, thanks to recommendations from my friendly local librarian Lindsey (Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier) which also tends to keep me in place.

Thus I bring you nearly five pounds of plying:

pile yarn
First over 2 pounds of yarns for knotted pile.

knitting yarns
Plus this, over a pound of three-ply yarns for knitting.

The scary part? I could not even remember spinning some of this, cannot remember where I bought/obtained some of the fiber (the light grey Corriedale) and certainly have no recollection what some of this was to be. It's all good though, and will morph into some project or other. Most of it is now Knitting Yarn On Hand.

Next, we have over a pound of two ply knitting yarns:

cat shawl yarn
This is for the Mojo shawl from this post.

red shawl yarn
This is from Wooly Wonka Fibers in the Harvest colorway in Shetland wool, plied with some red I dyed to go with it. Looks like I will get about 1500 yards total, which is currently still seeking a pattern. Present thinking is a Shetland sort of shawl, perhaps Fir Cone (again) or Mountain Pines.

But all of this plying was the lead-in to the main event:

warp yarn May 2007

three ply wool-mohair rug warp. This is skein #2 in the series, 6.7 ounces and 254.5 yards. The fun part? Skein #1 was 6.5 ounces, and 255 yards, several months previous. I need over 1400 yards total, so this yarn will be the focus of spinning the next few weeks.

I use Lendrums, both the upright and the Saxony, with several heads and bobbin set-ups, for most of my spinning. Different bobbins indicate to me what I was planning to do with the yarn: pile yarns on one set-up, warps on another, knitting on a third. I'm a lazy spinner and want the wheel to work for me. Because of that, I can usually look at a bobbin and know if it was to be knitting or weaving yarn. But, hey, no system is perfect: I often run off the yarn onto TP tubes, thus negating any visual reference. Sometimes there are labels. Sometimes I have to remember, or look at my notebook (chicken scratch would be insulted to be compared with this), or guess.

Nonetheless, there were several Miracle of Plying moments: when the ends run out at the same time, thus leaving no little bits on the bobbins. There was also much Plying Nirvana: when treadling, twist insertion and drafting rate all come together at the same speed, and one can realize just why spinning was so easily industrialized: you are just there to hold everything.

I happily now have lots of clear bobbins and tubes:

bobbin basket

and can start the process all over again.

Perhaps this time keeping better notes, ahem.

14 Comments:

Blogger Sharon said...

I used to know where every skein came from, every bump of roving, every bag of fluff and I was so sure of myself that I didn't label a thing. Now I realize that I have no idea where a lot of stuff came from, other than my own guys, and I just try to use like wool with like wool in projects. There doesn't seem to be much forgiveness in using luster longwool skeins with medium corriedale-like skeins. And even then I don't follow my own advice.

10:31 PM  
Blogger judy said...

I guess that when you mentioned that all that spinning you do every morning starts to add up, you knew what spoke of.. oh my! That is a lot of plying. Makes my thumbs sore just looking at it.

I am re listening to the 13th Tale, some for the first time, some for the 2nd or 3rd. It became jumbled in my ipod and I ended up listening to a good bit out of order. It was too good to stop. Eventually, it became too confusing. Last weekend someone was able to tell me how to get it straightened out. Back on track, it has become epic.

5:04 AM  
Blogger claudia said...

Sara's Yurt Spinning Sweatshop.

;-)

I think I need to buy more bobbins.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Marcy said...

Woh. I guess you haven't forgotten how to spin with all this knitting you've been doing. :D

7:04 AM  
Blogger Deanna Johnson said...

Wow - polyplying piles of yarn! Very impressive. I love the idea of multiple wheels, each with a different setup.

Re. the labelling thing - I've got packages of hang tags sprinkled all around, but still neglect to use them. At this point, I'm thinking of going through my stuff and tagging all the various parts and tools so I'll remember what goes with what. I often think of those estate sales where you see sticks and gizmos for sale, and you just know they belonged with something.

9:32 AM  
Blogger J said...

In frustration, I once put the tips of my rosewood circular needles into an electric pencil sharpener. Sanded 'em down, then rubbed in a little teak oil (that I had on hand for my furniture). Voila, needles with points so pointy they're practically dangerous and a joy to knit with! My knitting friend was horrified. I'd do the same thing againg with bamboo or ebony or whatever will sharpen... Afterall, what's to lose? :)

9:50 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I finally note on the end of the TP rolls what the yarn is. I used to put all the yarn in bags and note on the bag. When reusing a bag, I learned it is helpful to cross out previous notes.

Did you see Laurie/etherknitter's find of 50 bobbins on a rack?

10:43 AM  
Blogger Leigh said...

Wonderful post. You are a much more organized spinner than I am, and I definitely tend to lose track of various yarns and where the fiber originally came from.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Charleen said...

Quite the main event. Is this all for one rug?

I loved Thirteen Moons! I'm looking forward to starting Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I just bought a lendrum upright! I see your v. fast bobbins in that pretty basket and have a question for you...how much yardage can you fit on one of those tiny bobbins? I'm trying to decide if I need the v. fast flier or not :)

8:20 AM  
Blogger jackie said...

With the huge pile of yarn at the beginning of the post, I was wondering how many bobbins you had. Two hundred? And at the end of the post I saw that my guess was only a little off. Great idea to use the TP tubes.

5:57 AM  
Blogger Birdsong said...

Sigh... yet another area where I can only aspire to be like you...I could start by ordering more bobbins and saving TP tubes, I guess. So cool that you got some of Anne's fibers and came up with such a great red. I want a red shawl... now to get busy spinning.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Birdsong, I can offer you some tp tubes - my family is a little too well trained to save them and I have bags and bags of them. I have been very good about writing down my notes on 3x5 cards - what fiber, which whorl, plans for, etc. with the sample which I carefully tape under tension to save diameter and twist angle etc. Do I have a place to put these cards so that I can find them again? Um... No.

6:23 AM  
Blogger dragon knitter said...

I LOVE YOU! i'm always looking for books to read (i'm a voracious reader, and sometimes i get tired of the same thing). i love the innernets. i get more recommendations from the blogs i read than any where else.

and i bow to your plying prowess! excellent job on matching those skeins. i hope i can get that good!

10:22 AM  

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