Last week I had the fun opportunity to do a spinning demo for a class of first-year students at my college. Their course is called A Matter of Substance, and it’s about the raw materials that make up our world. The faculty member is a physical chemist by training. The students are writing papers about things like wood, glass, steel, plastic, etc., and one of them chose to write about textiles. (She might have had a nudge from me, her friendly reference librarian.) So the professor asked me to do a short spinning demo for the class.
I decided to take both spindle and wheel, and to have the wheel set up with finished singles ready to ply. That meant I needed to spin some singles, since I had recently finished the Mohair-Finn yarn. I grabbed the remaining Heidi’s Blues roving I purchased at the 2008 Knitters’ Day Out market. This was one of the first things I spun, and some of it became 40th Birthday Yarn for Kristina.
Here was the original 1/2 lb of roving (called Heidi’s Blues – I think one of the sheep was named Heidi):
Here was Kristina’s birthday yarn (248 yards, 114 g, 2-ply):
And here is the remaining yarn from the Heidi’s Blues roving (209 yards, 91 grams, 2-ply). There was way more yellow in this half of the roving!I tried to spin this in more of a woolen style and I do think it looks fuzzier than the first skein. Usually I spin worsted, but I wanted to try something different and see if I could change my drafting style (which is very inchworm-y). I think I felt more free to experiment with this roving because some of it had already been finished successfully. It’s a weird mind game, but I felt like I could afford to mess this up, you know? My singles were definitely less consistent and more fuzzy (less smooth) than they usually are.
I had a little bit left on one bobbin, so I fired up YouTube and taught myself how to Navajo ply (I found this video to be the most helpful). For my readers who don’t yet spin, Navajo ply is a 3-ply technique that actually creates a chained yarn rather than a plied yarn. You make it from one single (not singles from 3 different bobbins), which makes it great for using up every last bit of single on the bobbin. It is also used when spinners want to preserve the color changes in a painted roving so that the resulting yarn moves from one color to another (rather than showing a barber pole type stripe). I WAY overplied my Navajo ply bit – it relaxed a little in a hot bath but is still twisting like crazy. Clearly I need to work on this technique some more. Let’s end with another good photo, shall we?