As you know, I’ve been trying to improve my spinning this spring. I’m registered to take a plying class with Maggie Casey at MDSW on Sunday, and I’m really looking forward to it. A spinner spends a lot more time spinning singles than plying them, so she learns singles faster. There are many knitting analogies – plying is like the finishing techniques that we just don’t spend as many hours practicing.Anyway, I wanted to do one more spinning project before my class. I’m supposed to bring at least 4 empty bobbins to class, and I only own 4… so I need to be between projects. I thought I could spin another 4 oz bunch of fluff, so I reached into my fiber stash and came up with this BFL top in color “black.” This the natural sheep color, so it may look more brown or gray to you, but the official color is black. Somehow I didn’t manage to take any photos of the top before I spun it – sorry!
BFL is a longwool and Clara Parkes’ The Knitter’s Book of Wool says longwools “beg to be spun worsted” (62). Perfect – that’s my default spinning style. BFL is probably the softest of the longwools, with an average micron count of 24-28 (for comparison, merino ranges from 17 to 22).This project was a bit more ambitious than I meant it to be. I had TWO 4-oz bundles of this top, so I really spun 8 oz total. I wanted to try a 3-ply yarn so I divided the fiber by weight and spun onto 3 bobbins:I think my singles spinning is becoming more consistent. And I used some techniques that I learned (or re-learned) on Rita Buchanan’s How I Spin DVD when it came time to ply. I think this may be the best yarn I’ve made!
There are still inconsistencies. Some of the appears to be fingering weight, while some gets close to DK, maybe. It’s hard for me to tell. If I’m going to make worsted weight yarn (for the SPAKAL), I’m going to have to spin fatter singles or use more plies.I have one fat skein that is 162 grams and 346 yards, and one small one that is 39 grams and 84 yards. The yarn is soft and cushy and I’m so pleased with it.
I still have some singles on 2 bobbins, so I need to either ply some 2-ply, or navajo ply the rest. I see now why it’s good to have your singles in smaller amounts on more bobbins, so that you can reduce this “leftover singles” issue.
3 more days ‘til MDSW. The main item on my shopping list is fiber for the SPAKAL. At first I thought I needed 24 oz, but then I spooked myself and decided to get 30 oz, just to be safe. I’m not committed to a particular breed or blend at this point. But if I see some yummy BFL, I just might go for it!