I finally finished my spinning wheel practice yarn that I’ve been working on all week. Actually, I just decided to be done with it, already! I was a little nervous about plying it, since it would be a first for me and my lovely Louet, but it turns out she plies like a dream! I actually started using the brake band for this as it felt like more tension would be helpful, but the whole process was very quick and fun and felt almost effortless. And It’s a good thing I stopped when I did, because I don’t think I could possibly have fit any more plied yarn on this bobbin:
Here it is finished:
It’s OK, I guess. Uber-chunky for sure (love that phrase, willowcreekfarm!) and very all over the place in terms of thicknesses. But I’m sure I’ll think of something to do with it. I might try some experimental dyeing with it. I think it would be interesting to see what the heathered color does with dye on top of it.
My biggest motivation for finishing it was the fact that I just received the multi-colored merino that I ordered for Jonah’s slippers and I was excited to start spinning that instead. I decided to try pre-drafting this time, as I didn’t want to waste the fiber and I thought I might get smoother, more consistent results this way. Boy, was I right! I really wish I would have started learning on my wheel this way, and I highly recommend it for anyone transitioning from spindle to spinning wheel. It takes a bit more time, but not too much, and I was reminded that this was actually one of my favorite parts of spinning on the spindle… more hands-on time with the fiber! And SO much easier than trying to draft at the wheel when there is so much else to learn at the same time. I’m sure there are other ways that people prefer to do this, but I thought I’d share my method for anyone interested, as it’s worked so well for me.
First, I tear off a piece of typical roving… about 2 feet… and separate it vertically in half, then those in half, etc. until I have 16 even pieces. I’ve found that more than 16 ends up being a bit too breakable, and less than 16 ends up with very bulky yarn.
Then I start at one end with my fingers a few inches apart, and carefully draft it apart a tiny bit at a time along its length until I see the fibers aligning nicely together. Just a little bit of drafting creates a medium weight yarn, but if I want a thinner yarn, I draft it out a little thinner. When I’m finished, I lightly run it back through my fingers in the other direction to see if there are any thicker places to draft out a bit more. I then lightly wrap it around my fingers to make a little spiral. I do this for all of them, and then set them aside and start spinning. This also usually seems like a good amount of fiber to spin before I need to take a break. When I get almost to the end of one piece, I stop spinning and overlap it with the next piece, trying to align it so it creates the same amount of thickness as the rest of the fiber.
Here is my first single with this fiber on my lovely Louet. I think it looks SO much nicer and was so much easier to spin than the other drafting methods I used with the swaledale:
I’m really liking this multi-colored fiber. I’ve been studying it to see how it was made, and it looks like they just took several separately dyed batches and then carded them together. Here it is plied (also super quick and easy on the spinning wheel this time):
And here it is finished. I think it’s going to make lovely slippers for Jonah, and I’m excited to see how the thrums look with this fiber as well. But first, I’m going to have a lot more spinning to do…
Meanwhile, off in chicken-land, Gloria has decided to molt a TON of feathers at once. I’ve been a little worried because she hasn’t laid an egg in over a week. She’s usually more sporadic than Cleo, and she’s seemed happy and healthy, but it’s good to have a known reason now.
She doesn’t really look like she’s been molting, but these are all from today.. and not even half of the amount I found in the coop and yard, just the cleanest ones (plus one nice brown one from Cleo):
I decided to start collecting them because of a very inspiring photo in one of my library books: Spin Control by Amy King. I’m going to try making yarn out of them!
I wrote a poem once about spinning yarn out of feathers, but I had no idea that it would actually be possible! How cool would that be… to have a scarf made out of my chicken’s feathers?
I’ll leave you with a photo that my Sweet Prince took of me spinning… and Gloria out the window in the backyard watching me: