Saturday Sky
Pioneer Day aka Days of '47

Spinning Drama

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.

Ramboiulettesoftandluscioushardtosp A couple of months ago the Rambouillet from Anne's Wooly Wonka Exotic Fiber Club arrived. I had a rough go of it at 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 that's what I did.

Singlesonniddynoddybeforesteaming 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.    
BobbinoftulipfromspunkyI 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.

Bobbinofbadlyspunrambo 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.

Singlessteamingonthestove_2 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!


Sampleofoberonforfinishing 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.


Rambobeforebeating Ramboissomuchsofterandloftier 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. 


Great looking yarn! That Nightshade is just gorgeous! I think my spinning wheel is feeling rather neglected- perhaps I'll show her some love this weekend (and the picture above for some encouragement!)

You SHOULD be pleased with yourself. Not only is it beautiful spinning, but the photo documentation of before and after is a real eyeopener. I haven't tried pure singles yet. Yours look perfect. I should do that. Much more yardage possible!

Your handspun is gorgeous! Certainly worth all the effort!

Yum! That's my weakest area - the finishing. I tend to spin, niddy, skein, and stall. I have many skeins waiting to be washed up. Not my idea of fun... I enjoy the spinning part too much!

That's what determination will get you! Hooray!

Thats a lot of work, and how satisfying! You should be very pleased. I've been a leetle scared to try out the Rambo myself, as I want to long draw but I suck at it!

As you should be! Those are beautiful yarns (I've tried three times to type which is my favorite, but I can't decide!). Thank you for continuing to inspire my own efforts to learn to spin! I'm a big fan of finishing (i.e. abusing) my handspun too.

Lovely! But do I really need the temptation to join Amy's fiber club? No. I don't. I have all of these hanks laying around that I need to finish... or at least wash. I'm just terribly lazy. I should get them all together one of these days and do that.

Very productive indeed! All are lovely, but the Nightshade singles are really gorgeous!

Beautiful job on all the above! You did exactly the right thing, by the way, on the Rambo. JMM says to underspin and overply with woolen-spun yarns; the finishing evens it all out. You are ready to think about entering something in Great Basin!

it amazes me. EVERY skein of nightshade is tons lighter than mine was. wonder if i got the first of hte batch, lol?

Wow - I don't know much about spinning but it certainly looks involved. Congrats on successfully finishing ALL those skeins!

What absolutely gorgeous skeins! Hey, process and product! They are all so different but each wonderful in their own way. The angora looks so soft, and I love the Nightshade singles. And you've convinced me to re-finish my Rambo skein and abuse it a bit.

All of the skeins are beautiful! Your finishing techniques really make them shine. The nightshade is my favorite. Amy does some amazing things with color (and you with spinning). I can't wait to see it knit up.

Wow! Spinning sounds like so much ... work! But the skeins are beautiful, so perhaps the payoff is equally substantial.

Wow - what a beautiful collection of yarns that you have spun up & what a busy weekend you had. I look forward to seeing what your needles do with them in the coming months. :)

Wow, the Nightshade IS spectacular! Heh, sounds like you need to buy some PVC and make a backup niddy noddy for emergencies!

Truly beautiful stuff!

Glad you had such a beautiful and productive weekend.

And well you should be! The Nightshade is a spectacular colorway and I am eager to see what you will make with it. I just got a short-handled plunger this week, and now that I see the fabulous results, feel better about 'abusing' my spinning. Wonderful work.

Beautiful, makes me want to learn to spin! (In all my hours of free time, ha!) Thanks for sharing.

Ooooo! Ahhhh! This is as much fun as fireworks! Woman, you need a swift!

Beautiful! I bow to your skills and productivity. I need to get busy.

All of the yarn is beautiful, but I especially love the singles. I didn't know about steaming them on the niddy noddy. I probably would have just removed the yarn and soaked it as usual to set the twist. Do you think it makes a big difference in the finished yarn to use steam?

Yes, I agree you should be proud!

Weren't you worried that the finish on your niddy noddy might come off on your singles as you steamed it? Maybe Smith could make you another niddy noddy out of pvc (couldn't hurt to have another).

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