I’ve been on a big spinning kick lately. Sadly, not in time to participate in the Tour de Fleece. I’ve been spinning up a storm nonetheless. Partially I think this urge is because I’m between interesting projects right now. I’ve submitted a number of designs to places but now I have to wait until I hear back (and they give me yarn) to actually knit these designs. So, I’ve been spinning (and procrastinating on blogging).
This spinning jag even led me to bringing my spindle with me on a camping trip instead of my knitting. I’m still working on the alpaca/silk fiber that I bought at Madrona and started spinning in North Carolina. We camped in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, “near” Mt. St. Helens (not near enough to actually see, though!)
I’m using an LED headlamp (Petzl Tikka 2) that my dad got me a few years ago, which is the best crafting tool I have. It’s incredibly useful- it gives me just the right amount of light on my project without disturbing people around me too much. I use it at home, in the car, for knitting, spinning, reading- and it’s great during blackouts! I look like a total dork, but what else is new? At least I can see my fiber! Firelight may be romantic, but it’s not very good for detail work.
I discovered that there is a narrow range in which wine is helpful to the spinning process. Just enough to loosen me up so that I’m not stopping every five seconds to fix a section that is just slightly thicker than the rest, but not so much that I forget how thick I’m trying to spin my singles. I was very productive and spun almost an ounce of fiber; once I spin the remaining ounce, I’ll be ready to ply. (And yes, that singles in the ball does smell like camp smoke, but it’s not that bad and I think it will disappear when I wash the final yarn.)
Back at home, I’ve been spinning on my wheel. I finished some fiber that I’ve been working on and off since Christmas (a reddish-brown merino) and set the bobbins aside to rest while I spun up some fiber that I got for my birthday. The pictures make it seem much bluer than it is- it’s really an interesting blue/purple/green with some marling (aka barber-poling) and slow fades between the colors. I didn’t realize that the colors would shift so slowly and so I didn’t divide the fiber very symmetrically when I was setting up to spin. I don’t really predraft, but I split the fiber into the number of plies I want (so far always two) and then split those piles into workable chunks. That works great for solid or semi-solid top, but not as great for preserving the color changes/order.
Anyway, I spun the first bobbin with no regard to color order. To add insult to injury, I also divided the fiber in half and then left the second half alone while I spun the first. So I didn’t even sub-split the fiber in the same sections. I have decided that this is not going to bother me. My first bobbin has color changes frequently and the second has color changes vary rarely. I will have a very pretty and unpredictable yarn.
Just yesterday I finished up the second bobbin of the blue/purple/green fiber. I took the bobbin off the wheel and reached down to my lazy kate to get an empty one to ply the reddish merino, proud that I have two full bobbins of each fiber.
And then I remembered that two plus two equals four. And I only have four bobbins.
Aaaaargh. I need another bobbin to ply!
Lowell suggested that in the future I need a “Break Glass in Case of Bobbin Emergency” case next to the spinning wheel.