Tuesday, July 04, 2006

And the race is on ~ for me, anyway :)

I started out this morning spinning the Shetland for my Tour de Fleece challenge...




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And what a challenge it's turning out to be! I recently discovered how to do long draw spinning and have been having a bit of trouble with it. So the first 4 oz of this roving came hard but toward the end (like the last 1/2 oz!) I might have been getting somewhere. I was tweaking tension (scotch and drive band), playing with different whorl ratios, you name it! This roving is more like combed top and maybe Shetland isn't the easiest thing in the world to use in long draw spinning, I don't know. I'm going to google it here in a minute and see what I can come up with to share.

This blog ~ PINK TEA ~ had a pretty interesting entry about a Shetland Spinning Class. And take a gander at the Tussah Silk she spun and plied...WOW! Awesome! Anyway, she mentions spinning "semi-woolen", which is drafting forward I assume, rather than back. I ended up playing with that some myself about 2 oz into it and found it helped so maybe I'm onto something after all :) And I found that I, too, needed to really loosen up the scotch tension to get even close to enough twist.

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I did spin up some other dark Shetland, (not as "combed top-ish) as this on the Mazurka at work and it wasn't easy either but I wasn't at all trying to draft foward. I finished it as 2-ply and it's very soft...I think it wants to be a scarf! There are about 200 yards of a fingering weight (mosttly!) Then I tried with some Coopworth which was really tacky as if it had a lot of lanolin or spinning oil in it from processing and THAT was NOT easy. I did have a very easy time with some wool roving at the shop on Mom's Ashford Elizabeth...that stuff just flew onto the bobbin like magic and the Elizabeth put lots of twist in. It was a bit of a challenge getting twist in with the Traditional today as fine as I was (trying!) to spin...I think I need the smaller bobbins...I'm using the standard right now.

So tomorrow I may try the Mazurka with another four oz...I think the ratio (which I really don't understand the way I should) might be better...loose tension, draft forward.

Now I'm eyeballing a ball of cormo roving to practice true woolen spinning...the question is...dye it before or dye it after? Hmmmm....(as the huge pile of stuff waiting to be dyed on the counter screams at me ) Add to "To-Do List" : BUY SOME ACID DYES!!! The Jacquard dyes I have are really boring colors but I think I may have to dig them out and use them up anyway. And there's always Kool Aid, and Wilton's (but I think NOT the Rit anymore...it bleeds something awful and takes a thousand and twelve rinses to get out...but sometimes it's good to add a bit of it to other dyes to tweak color)

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This is the tacky Coopworth I tried to spin on the Traditional using the long draw but it was VERY tacky and just a PITA to spin. (and my dining room table isn't pink...its a very cool beat up barn red!) The singles weren't real even by any means, I fought it every step of the way. I ended up making a 3 ply from it, after reading in the current issue of Spin Off about plying and spinning for knitting. Sigh...I though 2 ply was grand until I read that! So I only ended up with about 240 yards or so of this. It was interesting trying to wash out the tackiness...took awhile and super hot water! I do like how the 3-ply looks though. The article said that 3 + plies fill in the knitting better than 2-ply, and that 2-ply is better suited to lacey knitting, which is a relief, because I want to make a lace shawl out of my pound of Shetland :)

I'll have to do a lot of searching for a pattern that can use all 4 colors and I've also played around with the idea of plying two different colors together...the two darker and the two lighter together and see what I get. It looks like I'll be able to spin this up in plenty of time for the challenge deadline (July 23).

I'm off to check out the other participant's blogs to see how they're coming along.

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