Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Spinzilla Report

I’ve been running to keep up with my fall schedule and finally it overtook me (and ran me over). I had not realized it had been soooo long since my last post! When last we spoke, I was preparing for Spinzilla.IMG_9170This is what I managed to get done in the M-F week I had available to spin. Each of these is about an ounce of fiber. I wind them off the wheel bobbin onto these storage bobbins using my power drill. I just tie the single on with a knot: IMG_9002 And then I get really loud and cramp my fingers holding the drill with one hand. (The other hand is needed to guide the thread onto the bobbin in an even way.) The green rubber band keeps the bobbin firmly on the drill bit:IMG_9003 I number the bobbins for a reason. The first time I spun a sweater quantity of yarn was for SPAKAL 2012. The Knitmore Girls recommended labelling the bobbins so that you could ply them randomly. The idea is to distribute any variation in your spinning out over the entire batch of yarn. I’m less worried about variation in my singles and more worried about variation in color. You can really see that the fiber changes a lot as I move through the giant cloud of fluff I bought:IMG_9171 I had difficulty measuring this yarn. Last year for Spinzilla, I finished all the yarn I spun. I plied it and measured it on the niddy noddy. But this year I really wanted to keep chipping away at this Greynbow fiber. I knew there was no way I’d finish it during evenings after work. I needed a way to measure the singles I actually spun during that week. So I wound some off onto my niddy noddy, weighed it, and measured it. Then I did math. I wasn’t confident about this method because these singles are fairly fine, but I forged ahead anyway. Using this method, I calculated that I finished 1,406 yards (266 g). But later I learned that one of my knitting buddies owns a yarn balance. She brought it to knit night last week and we tested my singles again. Using the balance I calculate that I finished 2,170 yards – that’s 50% higher than my original measurement! Bottom line: who knows how much it is. I had fun spinning it and look forward to getting back to it.

I took a break from the Greynbow to play with the latest shipment of Sheepspot’s Fiber Club – this is Montadale top in color “Fall Birch”:IMG_9179 To be honest, I had a little trouble spinning this. I kept hitting sections where the fiber fought me. It didn’t draft well (even though I had predrafted). I got little nepps that destroyed my smooth, worsted style yarn. It just wasn’t easy. At first I thought maybe it was the dye, but the white parts had the same issue. Then I thought maybe I was seeing second cuts. Let me show you:


Can you see those? IMG_9442

I logged in to participate in the Breed School Chat with Sasha and some other club members, and Sasha said that this wasn’t the best combed top that the mill has ever produced. Those pieces aren’t second cuts, but they seem to have gotten caught at the edge of the combing equipment or something. She’s going to speak with the mill about it.

Anyway… I persevered and kept spinning. These singles took me a long time and the “nepps” were only partly the reason. I also spun it pretty fine, even though I used a much bigger whorl than usual (10.5:1). I think I’m developing a real default single and it doesn’t matter what whorl I use… I’ll still get what I get!IMG_9465I didn’t attempt to manipulate the colors in this at all. When I started, I was tired, and I just wanted an easy spin. I hoped the yarn would at least barber pole to distribute the color. For the most part, it did. Here is what the 2-ply looks like on the bobbins:IMG_9472And here it is in a skein. The final count is 419 yards in 101 grams, so it’s pretty fine. IMG_9482As usual, I have absolutely no idea what to do with this. I would like to get better at planning for projects before spinning them. At the same time, I would also like to be more relaxed and just knit with my handspun more often. Susan B. Anderson has some great advice about spinning for knitting that is worth reading even if you don’t spin.

Next time, I will update you on TWO knitting projects that use my handspun!


  1. I love the Greynbow colors so far, and bonus points for using power tools! Fall Birch is also beautiful. It would make great-looking socks, but without nylon I'm guessing that may not the best use for it? Looking forward to seeing your handspun in action!

  2. Oh my, this turned out so beautiful!!

    You have enough yardage for socks!! Have you knit the famous Monkey Socks? You can find the pattern on Knitty: http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTmonkey.html

    I think those would be gorgeous socks!!

  3. Hi Kat,

    I've made Monkey 3 times and I agree, it's a great pattern!

    I might sub in commercial sock yarn for heels/toes (as Susan B Anderson often does). That is a solid idea for how to use this. Thanks!

  4. I'm really impressed with your spinning skills. It all looks great. So impressive to see on those neatly arranged bobbins what I last saw in a giant, amorphous blob. And the yellow/black/white/gray yarn is really striking. It kind of reminds me of Crazy Zauberball. Beautiful!

  5. I'm considering the Sockhead hat pattern for this yarn. Feel free to weigh in if you are pro or con!