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24 October 2006 @ 11:24 am
OK, so this has been bouncing around in my head for a while now, so I thought I'd post it here and get other's opinions/viewpoints on it.

When I sit down to spin, I usually don't have a project in mind - I am just spinning to be spinning. Later on I'll decide what the yarn wants to be. (Sometimes I'm project-oriented, but mostly I'm not). My default is a nice 2-ply, in between fingering and worsted weight; I've used it for both knitting and weaving with (mostly) success. Most of my yarns are pretty even, if that matters.

It's the failures that have me thinking. I spun up some nice alpaca/wool/silk roving into a worsted-ish 2 ply (the yarn is not tightly spun or plied, it's a nice, bouncy, round yarn, and was a joy to knit up), and knit my FIL a tam. I had quite a bit left over, so I decided to weave him a matching scarf. The problem? The warp keeps drifting apart! (This yarn was actually spun with the intention of knitting with it - my FIL picked out the roving, and "ordered" a tam....so, the weaving is just for fun)

It's not stress from the heddles - I am using my countermarche for this, and it has texsolv (string, basically) heddles - and it's drifting apart before it hits the reed. I'm not beating the weft in - I'm gently smooshing it into place; and again - it's drifting apart before it gets to that point (it's actually happening in between the back beam and the heddles...and for no real reason except that it can.)

I'm not upset over this (surprisingly!) - it was just a way to use up the leftover yarn....but I'm wondering. Is there a way to spin a "perfect" yarn; a yarn that can be squishy enough for knitting and yet still be sturdy enough for warp?

Again, most of my yarns have been woven up successfully, but I'd like to improve my spinning to where I don't have the failures. *Is* there such a thing as the "perfect" yarn? Or, should I start focusing more on the end-use (loom vs. needles) and less on the zen-aspect of spinning?

Discuss - I'd like to have other's viewpoints on this!
 
 
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Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
22 October 2006 @ 12:00 am
So I pulled out some carded wool from the stash and got to experimenting.  After I pulled the batt into a roving and started spinning--with more twist that I normally put in the singles and at a slightly higher ratio--whatever the middle ratio on my Lendrum is--I pulled out a sample lenth, let it twist back on itself and compared it to my "model" yarn, a length of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (as far as I can tell, it's the same damn yarn as Koigu).

That's when I noticed it. 

I spin my singles with a S-twist, then ply them with an Z-twist.  The CTH Supersock is the opposite. 

As was the other millspun plyed yarn I have sitting on the couch next to me (KnitPicks Gloss, Louet Gems Opal, superwash wool from Sundara Yarns), with the exception of the Silk Garden Lite, which is a singles yarn, spun with a Z-twist.  Which makes sense, as it's a singles yarn.

I know there's no "right" direction to spin/ply, but how does everyone else do it?  Is there a concensus that Z-spun, S-plyed yarn is better for handknitting and this is why all the millspun yarn that I checked is spun this way (I know that knitting can introduce/eliminate twist from yarns)?  Or is it just the way all the big mechanical spinners are set up?

On the upside--the higher ratio and increased amount of twist in the singles does seem to be producing the sort of yarn I want to produce--a tightly plyed and somewhat springy sockweight yarn (still not as tightly plyed or as springy as the CTH, though).  We'll see if the technique carries through to the good fiber.
 
 
20 October 2006 @ 11:27 am
What, in your experience, makes a very round, springy yarn? I'm thinking of yarns like Koigu or Cascade 220--tightly spun but still very springy and squishy. Is it just the fiber? The prep? The firmness or style of spin?

I managed a yarn that came out in this way once, seen here. Interestingly, this was spun from some mill-end roving from Blackberry Ridge, whose yarns are also quite bouncy. From this, my guess is that the fiber has a good deal to do with it--this wool had quite a short staple length (2-2.5 inches), was quite crimpy, fairly fine, and I believe the fiber was carded rather than combed because the fibers were not very well aligned. At the same time, I'm working some Ashland Bay merino top into a laceweight yarn, and while I love what I'm getting, I'm finding that it has comparatively few wraps per inch, even if I put what seems like a monstrous amount of twist into it.

The reason I've been thinking about this is that I recently bought two pounds of Shetland roving to make a sweater with. My very vague thought is that it'd make a lovely cabled sweater, so long as I can spin an appropriate yarn that will show off the cables well.

Your thoughts?