Posts Tagged ‘Spinzilla’
Now that Spinzilla is over you probably(hopefully) have a pile of new yarn, but what to do with all of it! If you’re like me you’ve amassed quite a pile of handspun this year between Spinzilla and Tour de Fleece back in July.
When I hand-carded this fiber and Navajo plied to create a gradient yarn I already knew what I wanted to make, a smaller version of my Matsumoto Shawl. Since gauge isn’t really an issue with this pattern I let the yarn decide what it wanted to be without fussing too much over how thin my single was. I ended up with a nice, bouncy worsted weight yarn and I love my little shawlette! My finished yarn was 280 yds so the shawlette is about half the size of the sample in the pattern, about 13″ deep at the center back, but it’s perfect just around my neck.
How do you decide what projects to make with your handspun, and what are you making with your Spinzilla yarns?
Time to go back and visit the single that I spun from the fiber that I hand carded. I did a lot of work to create a gradient, or ombre, in that single and I want to maintain those color transitions in my final yarn. To do that I’m going to Navajo ply my single. This is also known as Chain plying because you are basically making a crochet chain with your hands instead of a hook! You can see how to do that in the 6 images below.
1 – I like to start with a leader that ends in a loop, then I catch the end of my single between the strands but keep the loop of the leader open with one hand.
2 – With the hand that is holding the loop open reach through the loop and grab your single
3 – Pull the single through the loop while continuing to hold the loop open
4 – Pull your new loop so it’s rather large and let the upper part of the loop start to ply together with what remains of your leader (that’s your 3 strands!)
5 – Here I’ve paused so you can see just that little bit of leader that’s left
6 – And now you’re right back to where you started.
Keep repeating these steps until you’ve used up your whole single and you’ll have a beautiful 3 ply yarn that keeps the integrity of your ombre spin. There’s are lots of tutorial videos out there for Navajo and chain plying, and lots of variations on the technique. Find the one that works for you and go for it!
Here’s my finished yarn. Because I spun this worsted from rolags, my single was slightly underspun and I over plied by just a bit to help it all stay together, then I fulled the yarn in the skein. For those of you that don’t spin, I basically felted the surface of my yarn! I know that sounds scary but it really helps to finish a woolen spun yarn. I dropped my finished skein into a bowl of hot water with dish soap and squished and agitated it around for about 30 seconds, rinsed it in cold water and then repeated the wash and rinse twice more. Then I let my yarn soak in a tepid bowl with Eucalan for about 15 minutes, squeezed out the excess water and hung it up to dry. I’ll be crocheting a simple shawl with the finished yarn so you can see those beautiful color changes. Look for that post in mid-October!
Have you ever used Navajo plying? Are you ready for Spinzilla yet? Just one week to go!
When I sat down at my first wheel I was SO excited to get spinning that I didn’t take the time to make sure I had all the tools I’d need. I spun up my first full bobbin of yarn and then I was stuck, I only had one bobbin. I knew that the single on that bobbin wasn’t good enough to survive on it’s own, that it needed to be plied to be a semi-successful yarn. I carefully, and sadly, wound that single off the bobbin with my ball winder thinking that it was a loss until I was able to get my hands on a second and third bobbin and then I would need a lazy kate…
And then I looked at the ball I’d wound, it had 2 ends. I COULD do a 2ply! So I set that ball between my feet, tucked it up to the edge of my treadles and plied away. It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned that this was an actual thing other people did and I wasn’t alone. It’s important to remember that you still have to ply against the twist of your original spin to help balance your yarn, so make sure you check the twist on those ends before you begin plying.
Thankfully my Ladybug has an attached lazy kate and I’ve always got at least 5 bobbins now, but every once in a while I like to wind up a single and ply from the ball. This method is actually how I’ve plied the fractal yarn I’m spinning from this post. I’ll be knitting this up into a simple cowl so you can see the fractal effect on the color changes. Look for that post in mid-October!
Have you ever plied from a center-pull ball? What’s your favorite plying method?
I know, I know, I usually talk about weaving, but today I step from behind the curtain to reveal that I have a powerful obsession with spinning right now. It started with Spinzilla last year, when I made myself learn in order to support our team. Then there was a fiber binge at Rhinebeck and another one at SPA, but mostly I’ve kept it in check. Until now. Spinzilla is approaching again and not only is fiber piling up on my desk, but I convinced Kathy and Steve to bring in special fiber deals and now I have even more to stuff into my fiber closet.
We started by teaming up with Louet to put together 2 great fiber packs. As a newer spinner, I am still learning about different sheep breeds and their characteristics, so I love the WEBSzilla Monster Mile pack. It contains a half pound each of 4 different breeds – Falkland (white), Cheviot (white), Shetland Moorit (brown) and Coopworth (grey). I’m looking forward to seeing how these spin up as well as dreaming about plying and dyeing the handspun yarn. There is plenty of fiber in this pack to spin a monster mile and enough variety to keep the spinning fresh and interesting.
The second pack from Louet we are calling the Spinzilla Fun Pack. It tips the scales with 4 pounds of fiber-y goodness and a completely different assortment of sheep breeds plus some dyed fiber to keep it exciting. The pack contains half pound bags of dyed Merino, Masham Top, light grey Romney sliver, medium Romney sliver, dark Romney sliver, Dorset sliver, Wensleydale sliver, and dyed Karaoke (soysilk) top. Lots of possibilities for blending and plying…
And then, because some of us are completely captivated with gradient dyes these days, we asked our friends at Frabjous Fibers to create a special colorway for us. They started with a base of 70% Blue Face Leicester and 30% Silk and dyed it a beautiful tonal gradient that moves from the deep blue of our logo through lighter shades of blue into grey. It’s packaged like their new Lambs Tail with 5 one-ounce puffs of tonally colored fiber that gradually change shade. I have this piled on my desk right now and I just keep petting the soft richness and marveling at the wavy crimp. I know, I have a problem.
And what of you? What will you spin in October?
When I first learned how to spin fractal spinning was my favorite fancy thing to do. While it’s based on complicated mathematical sets, an endless pattern of fragmented geometric shapes that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole, it’s actually quite simple!
You will want to start with fiber that is dyed in bold and contrasting colors, I’m using Frabjous Fibers Hand-dyed Merino in the kaleidoscope colorway. If your fiber color progression/combo is too subtle then you’ll miss out on the fantastic effect this has in your final yarn. Loosen your braid or bundle and then split it, as evenly as possible, lengthwise into two parts and set one half aside. Now split the remaining half in half again(you now have 3 lengths of fiber), and each of those in half again (giving you 5 lengths of fiber). Be careful to keep all 5 lengths of fiber oriented the same way, you can lay them together and make sure that the colors match, you’re going to want to spin each length starting at the same end. Now spin that first half all by itself from beginning to end onto one bobbin, then spin the other 4 lengths, one at a time, onto a second bobbin.
When these two singles get plied together you’ll end up with a yarn that has varying sections of solid colors and barber-poling because of how the split fibers line up, but which colors are solid and which barber-pole will change because of the way you split and spun the fiber! Keep an eye on the blog later in the month and I’ll show you how it’s done! Are you planning on any special spinning techniques, or new fibers to try out during this year’s Spinzilla?
Check out this post to see how the finished yarn looks in the skein and to learn how it was plied!
This month we’ll be offering a few tips and tricks to make your spinning for Spinzilla, and the rest of the year, even more fun and interesting. First up, rearranging the colors in a pre-dyed fiber braid. You will need a braid of fiber with distinct colors and a set of hand cards for this.
I love the colors in this Gaston colorway on Targhee from Abstract Fiber but I wish they were more gradual, like an ombre, so I decided to make that happen. I unwound the braid and then fluffed the fibers at each color change before gently pulling them apart, don’t worry if you don’t get a clean color separation you can blend that out. Then I made piles with each major color. Once I had the whole braid separated I began laying fiber on one hand carder until it was full, but not so full that I couldn’t see the tines anymore, and used the other card to blend with a few strokes. Remove the fiber from the carder (pay attention to how the tines are bent and roll with that bend to get the fiber off the carders) and roll up your fiber into a rolag for spinning. If your fiber isn’t blended enough for you, or feels a bit rough, you can re-card it until you’re happy. Once I got halfway through carding and rolling I was able to layout all my little rolags in a clear gradient!
Now I just have to finish carding so I can get to spinning! I’m going to want to preserve the gradient that I worked so hard to make, so I’ll navajo ply the single into my finished yarn. Keep an eye on the blog later in the month and I’ll show you how it’s done! You can now see the finished yarn here!
Are you planning on any special preparations or different spinning techniques to try out during this year’s Spinzilla?
Remember all that fun we had back in July during Tour de Fleece? Well, we get one more week of prize-winning, spinning fun with Spinzilla!
Registration is open now, and you’d better go register for your team, they’re filling fast. You can always spin on your own as a rogue and still compete for prizes. Go here to register now! And keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks. We’re going to have some great spinning tips and tricks for you to get ready for all that spinning excitement. We’ll have all kinds of things happening in our store that week so keep an eye on our website and if you’re local come join us. In October we’ll even have some great posts about what to do with your handspun for knitters, crocheters and weavers!
Sign-ups open on Sept. 1st for our Spinzilla team, we’re prepared to spin our way to victory! Join us for a Pajama Party Spin-in and lots more fun if you’re local to WEBS, and look for some great prizes for our team members.
Steve’s Yarn Picks of the week :
- Classic Elite Big Liberty Wool
- Regia Pairfect
- Valley Yarns Superwash Bulky – New Colors!
- Valley Yarns Superwas DK - New Colors!
- End of Summer Sale is in it’s last week!
- K1C2 Ty-Dy Sock Dots
- Loren Patik
Sign ups are open for our annual bus trip to Rhinebeck – get your seat now!
Bathroom renovations are happening in our retail store starting August 23rd. Please plan ahead for restroom stops before and after your visit to help alleviate lines for our customers and staff. We will be down to just one bathroom stall through the Labor day weekend – PLEASE plan ahead.
Be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.
This week Kathy talks with WEBS Weaving Manager Leslie Ann Bestor about the upcoming Spinning and Weaving Week, Monday Oct 6 – Saturday Oct 11.
Be sure to stop into the store for lots of activities during the week, LA did a great post that details all the demonstrations and mini-workshops here, and if you’re on a Spinzilla Team get ready to start spinning! More details on the Spinzilla event can be found here.
Later this month you can check out the WEBS 40th Anniversary Weaving Contest Gallery Show. We have an opening reception on Thursday Oct 16th 5:30 – 7:30, and the exhibit will be open to the public October 17 and 18th 10-5pm.
Steve’s Yarn Picks :
- Online Supersocke 4-ply Sambia Color
- Online Supersocke 4-ply Mali Color
- Regia Design Line Colorations Color
- Opal Sweet and Spicy 2
- Berroco Lago – Closeout
- Berroco Linsey – Closeout
- Berroco Peruvia – Closeout – Featured yarn from our Titlted Duster KAL way back in 2007!
- Berroco Captiva Metallic
It’s time for our 11th annual Knit & Crochet for the Cure! Join us TOMORROW from 1-4pm.
8th Annual Bus Trip to Rhinebeck – Saturday Oct 18th. the buses are almost full, get your ticket now!
We have an amazing line-up of guest teachers this year!
Susan B Anderson will be here Columbus Day Weekend, Dora Ohrensten is doing a weekend of crochet classes in November! And be sure to check out all of our upcoming Events here.
Don’t forget that we’re collecting Hot Chocolate Run Polar Bears for Safe Passage, you can read all the details here.