That Batt (Returns) Pt. 2

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Spindle Spinning / Spinning

I am definitely more of a product knitter. I tend to scroll through the pattern pages on Ravelry, find the item I want to own, and then find / buy the yarn before casting the project. It’s not to say I am not a process knitter (because I like to think all knitters have a bit of process love in them, or else we would just be happy with buying store bought knitted items!), but I definitely count down the days till I have a finished item. Spinning is different, there are times I rush myself to finish spinning a braid to start another but there are moments when I just enjoy the movement of sitting there and not having to worry about following a pattern, getting the right tension, or focusing on the end product. I am a new spinner (only 7 months in) and so I am no where near good enough to purposely spin for a specific weight of yarn, so I just hope for the best and begin experimenting. There are technical spinners out there, but I am not one of them and that is what works for me. So this spin was my experiment without giving a care about the end result.

In Part 1 of this post, I had talked about the batt that ended up being spun on a wheel but what about the fibre that was already spun on my Jenkins Turkish spindle? No, those singles did not go to spinning fluff heaven but instead I decided to play around with plying. The singles were spun worsted using short forward draw (the bat was prepped by following only steps 1 – 3 from Part 1’s post and was not predrafted). The singles were close to lace weight and so I figured I would keep plying it until I ended up with a weight of yarn I was happy with. A chain plying ball was made (chain plied the singles while wrapping it around a small tennis ball) and plied using my Bosworth Midi drop spindle. Then I plied this yarn back on itself. To do this, I took the plied yarn, wound it into a center pull ball, and then took plied both ends (from the outside and from the center) together. I do not yet own a skein winder (on the wishlist!) so I used this tutorial to wind my chain plied yarn onto a pill bottle to form a center pull ball, which surprisingly worked quite well! To ensure I wouldn’t have to worry about the ball of yarn collapsing (which could lead to multiple tangles) as I was plying, I pulled both ends together and wrapped it around a small tennis ball again. Could you tell I am addicted to plying balls? This made it super easy to ply the yarn again on the drop spindle. In the end I ended up with a 6 ply skein that was 54 m in yardage (33 grams) and roughly sport weight! Surprisingly the yarn did not turn out to be over twisted, and all that plying really helped even out the singles. Individually, the strands have a braided appearance so it would be interesting to see how it looks knitted up.

One thing to keep in mind was I added a lot more twist when I was chain plying the singles (compared to the normal amount of twist I would usually do) since I knew energy would be lost once I plied it back on itself. This made sure my final yarn wasn’t too loosely plied, but then again I am a fan of tightly plied yarn. It was also important to remember which way I had to spin; the singles were spun clockwise (Z twist), chain plied counter-clockwise (S twist), and then plied clockwise again (Z twist).

Overall it was a fun way to thicken up singles that I knew I wouldn’t have used otherwise (I tend to knit more fingering weight to worsted yarns versus lace weight) but definitely would be a process if I wanted to do this for at least 4 ounces of fibre!

Now I am wondering how it would look like to chain ply a chain plied skein of yarn…

Do you ever try experiments with your knitting or spinning?

Weekly Loadout #3: Labour of Love

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Knitting / Spindle Spinning / Spinning / Wheel Spinning

Weekly Loadout #3

Vacation has flown by and tomorrow is the first day of school. Today is Labour day in Canada and the US which means at least school didn’t have to start on a Monday this week. I haven’t even packed my school bag yet, but I already made sure I have a knitting project for my bus ride. I prioritize well…

It will be interesting to see how much fibre crafting I get done with school starting. So what’s up to be worked on this week?

I casted Merlot (with Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Socks in Ireland, and Julie Asselin Piccolo in Cailloux) on the 15th of August and it has been the one piece of knitting that has had the most work on! I really want to finish this and start casting on future Christmas gifts (because I am the queen of procrastination and know that I can’t knit multiple things the week before Christmas like I did 2 years ago).  Plus I am determined to finish a KAL, especially after the recent Tour de Fleece fail.

Below the shawl is a plying ball full of my Spun Right Round Olivia singles, and I am spinning it on an Enid Ashcroft Maxi spindle. This spindle is big and slow, characteristics I am not used to so it is definitely taking a while to ply. Don’t even look at the wrapping skills, for some reason plied yarn does not wish to pack on neatly for me!

I know two weeks ago I posted about starting a new project with the Pigeonroof Studios BFL in the Hallows colourway, but I really wanted to clear off my oldest spinning WIP. This fibre, Sea Glass colourway in merino/nylon from The Fiber Imp,  is what I used to learn supported long draw on, and this project started me on my love of support spindling! I spun half the braid on an Enid Ashcroft Tibetan spindle, and now I am working the second half on a Spanish Peacock Tibetan spindle. It’s definitely a tall guy and requires more frequent breaks since my shoulders aren’t used to the height of the SP’s spindle shaft.

To the right, I have three 1 ounce batts from Nunoco that were part of a Ravelry group spin a long for September, in which two batts were chosen (one from you and one from a secret partner, in my case it was Cool Beans and Aurora Bore Da) and the ladies of Nunoco would create a third batt as part of the order. The goal of the SAL is to spin a 3 ply yarn (I think I almost forgot what it is like to spin anything but 3 ply recently). I am not sure if I want to keep the three batts separate and then ply together, or to combine spin the batts but so far I love the colours I got.

I am working my way to getting all my little cousins to own at least one pair of hand knitted socks. After tracing Anbu’s (I figure it’s time I start referring to my cousins by name versus just ‘cousin’ :D) foot, I decided to do a vanilla sock with a Fish Lips Kiss heel. To make sure it will fit better, I am doing a 3×1 rib (knit 3, purl 1) which will allow for some stretch since I started the sock toe up and it looks a bit big. He’s 10 years old yet I had to increase the toe up to 64 stitches to fit his foot template! I usually do 64 stitches for my feet which is a women’s US 9.5. I am hoping that by doing a rib pattern I can err on the side of more stitches that will grow as his foot grows. The yarn is Le Petit Prince in the 7763 colourway which Anbu chose from the stash of sock yarn I showed him. I am terrible at deciding things for other people so this is a solution that benefits both the knitter and the recipient. It’s been a while since I casted on a pair of socks so it’s nice to use my tiny needles again!

Anyone else have big dreams for their September plans? Had anyone considered starting their Christmas knitting early, or is that just a fantasy?

That Batt Pt. 1

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Spinning / Tutorial / Wheel Spinning

Do you remember that batt? The one from FatCatKnits (made up of BFL, Polwarth, Superwash Merino, Silk, Tencel, and Firestar) that I was prepared to spin for TdF on a Turkish spindle? Well I finally finished it up a month later. What wasn’t already on the spindle was spun on my Haldane wheel instead. The wheel spun yarn is purposely chunkier than the spindle spun singles I was initially working on (thicker singles = quicker finish!), though it was not easy trying to spin thick after a long time of spinning thin singles!

Spinning a Batt

This is how I chose to prep the batt before spinning. I opened up the batt (step 1) and tore a narrow strip lengthwise (step 2). Then I ended up drafting the strip very lightly by pulling on the strip horizontally (steps 4-5) before going back and drafting it again (step 7) until I got it down to a more manageable size for me to spin it. Notice how much length I got predrafting again in step 8 versus step 6!  I created a stack of these bundles (step 8) before finally beginning to spin. Though the batt was quite smooth and fun to work with versus the first art batt I tried, I still had to keep a lint roller nearby to pick up the sparkle and fluff that clung to my pants. I ended up plying these singles using the medium whorl on my Roadbug because I like the end result of using a low twist to spin the singles and a higher twist for plying versus the same amount of twist for both spinning and plying the singles.

Photo of FatCatKnits Batt

The final yardage was 100 metres of heavy sport weight yarn (14 – 16 WPI overall, though there are thicker and thinner spots) from 83 grams of fibre. This was a traditional 3 ply skein (meaning I spun 3 separate singles and plied it together versus chain plied), and I am happy with how it turned out. I definitely would have liked more yardage but as someone who is still new to spinning I am just happy when my handspun turns out to be useable!

As you noticed I did not do a weekly loadout this week because I ended up not working on the fibre I had posted (the Pigeon Roof Studios Hallows). Instead, I am focusing on finishing up my spinning WIPs! I have 3 days before school starts so I hope to fit as much spinning and knitting as I can during this long weekend and I also need to take photos of what I have finished so far so I can share it with all of you :). This means skeining handspun yarn, washing, and waiting for it to dry while also hoping for good weather so the sun will help speed up the drying process!

Any volunteers to wind off handspun yarn from a bobbin onto a niddy noddy for me? It’ll be a great arm workout…