My latest hank of handspun took quite a bit longer than the previous one. Part of that was that I tried to create skinnier yarn (still in search of the ever elusive handspun sock yarn). Toward this effort, I got a new whorl. So now I have 3 altogether – here is my whorl tower:The bottom two came with my Ladybug; the top one is the Schacht high-speed whorl. Each one has two grooves and depending on which one you put the drive band into, you can get different spinning ratios:The higher the ratio, the more times the flyer spins around for each revolution of the wheel, and the more twist you get. When you draft the fibers out very fine, you need more twist to hold them together – so spinning finer yarn requires a smaller whorl. (I think I have that right!)
This is a 2-ply merino-silk blend (70/30, I think). I got 432 yards in 120 grams (4.25 oz). I spun it worsted style, which means that the yarn is fairly smooth – not lofty and airy – and it has nice drape thanks to the silk. It’s pretty! I’m not exactly sure what to use it for. It should probably be something that goes around the neck, because it’s soft enough. Maybe a kerchief-y or cowl-y neck thing. Some of those smallish triangular kerchief-y/scarf things have been catching my eye lately.
My next spinning project is going to be another attempt at a true sock yarn. That means THREE PLIES. It is just so hard on my hands to knit 2-ply yarn at the density it needs to be knit at for hard-wearing socks (that beautiful gray Jacob sock yarn I’m currently working with is 2-ply). I’m going to use the high-speed whorl at the 16:1 ratio in order to get the thinnest singles I can. And I will spin either the BFL/mohair roving I got in Bedford or the treasured Wensleydale roving naturally dyed by Tactile Fiber Arts that I got at Sock Summit last summer. Wensleydale is a very long-stapled wool and it should be good for socks.
I’m taking a quick trip to the Midwest this weekend, which means airplane/airport knitting. I think I’ll take a project for the plane that requires a little more attention – perhaps the Butternut Scarf that I started last fall and then abandoned for holiday knitting. I’ve revived that in the past week and it’s a lot longer now. Or maybe the Campanula Scarf in laceweight cashmere. I cast on for it again last night with my new Knit Picks Harmony needle (you were so right, Janna, about which needle would work best). So far it’s very slow going. And then, I’ll need a plain vanilla sock for knitting amongst people. Dang, I have some packing and planning to do. Better go!