The last few months it's been hard to find long stretches of time to sit and spin, however with bits of time here and there, I've been able to fill a few bobbins. As with any group of projects in the works, there comes a time when everything seems to come together all at the same moment. This weekend was the culmination of several spinning projects.
A couple of months ago the Rambouillet from Anne's Wooly Wonka Exotic Fiber Club arrived. I had a rough go of it at first...my lack of experience took its toll and after spending too much time in frustration I set it aside to spin something easier. Amy's June Spunky Club offering, Nightshade, was nearby and called to be spun...so that's what I did.
In an effort to continue the learning process, I tried to spin well enough to create a single with the Nightshade. The strand looked to be fairly even, not too tight (singles need to be a softly spun), so I let it sit on the bobbin for several days to relax the twist. When I wound it onto the niddy noddy I was extra pleased to see that it didn’t break and, again, set it aside for a few days more to continue relaxing of the twist.
I just couldn't help myself and, as a reward for a 'job well done', picked up the newest fiber to arrive from Amy's Spunky Club, Tulip. This is a very luscious BFL and it was a joy to spin. The fiber was soft, had a beautiful luster, and nearly spun itself. I couldn’t wait to start the second bobbin but, to my horror, I found that all NINE bobbins I owned had fiber on them. Something would need to be spun to the end and the best thing to do, so it seemed, was to go back to the Rambo, buck up and get the job done.
This time I was determined to spin 'woolen' (long draw) as I knew the fiber (and I) would be happier. After a few hours of trial and error my fingers and brain started to work together. Toward the end of the bobbin I really had a fair handle on what I was doing and found the results quite rewarding. Next came plying, which I did over a couple of
evenings and over did...sigh. The thoughts of finishing this fiber (remember my matching bucket and
toilet yarn plunger?), along with the beautiful alpaca/bunny Oberon, danced around my head. BUT, horrors again! The niddy noddy was full of Nightshade singles! However, I now had two empty bobbins.
So, if you're still with me you might now realize I have a bobbin full of plied Rambo, another of Tulip singles, and a niddy noddy full of Nightshade singles. The plan was to 'finish' all of this yarn over the weekend, but without the use of my niddy noddy (full of singles) I couldn't wind the Rambo or Tulip into skeins. My hope was to stand over the steaming pan during the cool hours of Saturday morning, but the only way to have an empty the niddy for use was to steam the singles on Friday and let them dry overnight. Just so you know what a sacrifice this was, the temperature outside was103 and 80 inside. Bleh. What one does for the love of fiber, I swear.
As a reward for standing over a hot stove (and NO, I did not cook dinner after that), I spun and plied the second bobbin of Tulip. By morning I would be able to wind both the Tulip and Rambo into skeins and start the task of wet finishing. As it was, the singles of Nightshade were dry very quickly (don't you love the desert?) and they turned out to be so beautiful!
Early Saturday, during the cool(er) hours of morning, I filled the bucket with hot, hot water, added a dash of soap, my delicate sample skein of alpaca/angora Oberon, and started plunging. A quick dunk into a bowl of cold water and then another dunk in the hot bath and a little slapping around on the side of the sink, I called it good (as I held my breath). The yarn looked good! So, I bravely, set about
abusing finishing the full skein of 600 yds. Scary as it was, it was worth doing...the finished yarn looked amazing! It's soft, round and nicely fuzzy.
Next up was the Rambo, and I really gave it a workout. I dunked, plunged, and slapped the yarn around as much as I dared, and then went on a bit longer. The fiber was greatly enhanced by the
abusive finishing and my spinning ills softened into a nice end product. (Before on the left and after on the right.) It's still over-spun, but it's soft and usable. The fulling of the fiber made a yarn with a nice halo that should knit up well.
While all this fiber drama was going on, the skein of Tulip had been soaking to set the twist. The colors make a fabulous barber poled yarn. It should make a very nice (and fun) scarf to wear with my black coat.
It was a very productive day and before Saturday was back into triple digits, I had four fabulous skeins of finished handspun.
Oooo, ooohh, ahhhh, I’m a little pleased with myself.