And spinning

I didn’t really intend for this, but I seem to be learning to knit and spin concurrently. I do want to put up a post about how I’ve started that pursuit, but in the interest of keeping projects and discoveries current, I’m starting from the middle. Think of it like a trilogy.

IMG_20160405_120821I recently ordered fiber from Classy Squid Fiber Co. which I am super excited about! It’s so beautiful. It goes from light to dark, shiny to matte. It contains polwrath, mulberry silk, carbonized bamboo, firestar, and angelina. Let’s ignore the firestar and angelina for a moment, which are obviously plastic. After I received my fiber I looked up bamboo and realized it’s often processed in the same way rayon is. I guess it is possible to process bamboo in a way that is less chemically demanding, and therefore more environmentally friendly, but I haven’t asked if Amanda knows how this bamboo was processed. I mean, there’s firestar and angelina in this too so it’s kind of a mute point. Apparently the lure of beauty is still winning for me, but as I continue to look things up I’m increasing my ability to make informed purchase choices. If I’m aiming to curb my environmental impact, I need to stay aware and be sure I feel like that fiber is worth the occasional indulgence in my stash. I do really love the look of it, and I know more from having bought it. The fiber came with a yak and silk sample in red. That sample is what I’m actually focusing on today.

IMG_20160409_094620-1I’ve been using a salt and pepper mix of an unknown wool, maybe Blue Faced Leicester (BFL), for practice and testing twist. The wool wasn’t labeled with content type and I forget what the gal said it was when I purchased it. (A bit of a mystery for all of us.) I had the keen idea to spin little chunks of the red sample in with this salt and pepper mix. To do that, I spun the top in a typical short draw method and broke it every so often to spin in red “from the fold“. I had picked up spinning from the fold at the drop spindle class, and read about it again in Ply magazine – the woolen issue. That let me do a small blip of color, because I think it would be tough to spin a short amount when drafting like I was with the top. Doing the blips of color also makes for good practice with joining yarn.

It was really beautiful when spinning the single, but I got a little worried once I plied it. I wasn’t expecting to get red on red with this, but that 2-ply looks SOOO candy cane that I could think of nothing but Christmas. The intensity of the yarn seemed dulled as well,  because I think the plying loosens the alignment of the fibers in the individual singles. But I still had to knit it. One never knows until you knit it.

20160410_104958I really like how my test swatch came out. It’s not the best background for the photo, and I haven’t actually blocked it, but that barber pole is lost in the stitch pattern, and the line of stitching the red makes isn’t so defined. I did get a section where the reds happen to overlap. That’s up in the left corner. Even there it’s not too stark, but I think I like the other areas better. I also like that they are separated by a few rows, so I want to make sure I don’t put my blips too close together. The swatch is 35 stitches wide.

I was contemplating chain plying to keep the blips more distinctly red, and also shorter. I might still do that. Chain plying is not so easy a thing, particularly on a drop spindle. I tried it for the first time with some random Chroma I have. Practicing was a great idea. If I do end up chain plying as well, I’ll update this post. 🙂

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