As soon as I finish spinning one bunch of roving, I pick another and start spinning anew. Susan suggested that I should start knitting with some of the yarn I’m creating, but this is more like exploratory spinning, as I want to see the yarn not an FO. The goal is to learn how to handle as many different types of wool as possible, and to learn the ins and outs of the wheel. In the process I'm learning about myself, as often happens.
Knitting is a joyful and contemplative task and my love of its process is well known (isn't it by now?). But, spinning is another process altogether. As it turns out, nothing relaxes me like spinning does. The flow of fiber through my fingers, the soothings sounds of the wheel, the pace and repitition of drafting, all have a way of lulling me into a very relaxed state. More than once I have felt myself slipping into sleep. Spinning is like Calgon...it takes me away.
Almost everything I do in life is done quickly. I’m the first one finished with my dinner, never take long showers, and can rush through almost anything faster than anyone around. My body is covered with bruises, as rushing about takes away any grace. Spinning has forced me to slow down, to analyze and understand the whole picture. My singles are smoother if I carefully predraft or just slow down the wheel and take time to draft with care. With each skein of yarn that comes off the wheel, I study its characteristics, the way it looks and feels, and if it is something I'd like to spin again.
Once plied, every skein is wound on a niddy noddy, washed in a hot bath, abused to varying degrees, and dried. A record of the endeavor is kept on the roving tag by writing in the date, how spun, how many yards, and any other useful info.
The types of yarns that I like to spin have grown in number faster than the types I don’t care for. The Fine Wool spun for my first handspun socks was very enjoyable and I’ll use it again. The alpaca yarn was a pleasure, too. Blogless Karen dyed it for me and the color is fabulous and I’m trying to decide on a scarf pattern now. This and a couple of other skeins have started to tell me they're ready to be knit.
The Barnswallow batts that I purchased at Rhinebeck (in the color Copper Rose) were so much fun to spin and I ended up with about 350 yds. The color is so wonderful and the yarn is fairly soft, too. It cries to become a small shawl or scarf and that may just happen.
Awhile back I spun up some Romney wool and, while it was easy to spin, it's doubtful I would knit with it. The end result was too course and scratchy for socks or a hat. Lucky for me, I had a similar colorway in a wool/mohair blend and found it every bit as easy to spin. The end result was a softer texture than the Romney and a very handsome yarn. From 5 oz. I ended up with 330 yds of fingering/sport weight.
I’m completely in love with the warm, earthiness of its color. The wheat colored gold, warm sienna brown, coppery pink, and glowing terracotta, make a rich and lovely combination. I spun all weekend, but with the added advantage of Friday Spinners, I was able to finish on Monday afternoon. After it's bath, and bit of abuse, the yarn was more wonderful than I first thought. Stay tuned, as I may just need to knit something from it soon!