Monday, July 16, 2012

Spinning Projects: 8oz Merino Wool

So, I've definitely been totally caught up in this new project of spinning yarn!  I have learned SO much since I began back in January.  I've taken on lots of new projects since my past spinning post, but I'll limit this post to just one of those projects.  And believe me, it was a big project!
Read on for more...

So in early April, my mom and sister and I visited Pufpaff's Fiber Processing in Hastings, MI.  There, we got to see the entire process of preparing yarn, from shearing (we happened to go on shearing day!) to washing to dying to carding to spinning.  Along with lots of information, I also brought home 8 ounces of a forest-green merino wool roving, and 8 ounces of natural light gray Corriedale roving (from a sheep named Quince).  8 ounces doesn't sound like it amounts to much, but the fuzzy ball was bigger than a soccer ball!  And so began the saga of turning the fuzz ball into yarn.

First, I used my top-whorl drop spindle to spin all of the roving into a singles yarn.  Each time I filled up my spindle, I wound the yarn onto a niddy-noddy, tying each new section on as I went.  By the end, I had this:

8 ounces of Merino wool roving spindle-spun into a singles yarn.  860 yards!
Now WHAT do I do with all this?  I wanted to ply it, making 430 yards of a 2-ply yarn, which is much more balanced and strong.  Lacking a yarn swift, which easily holds this big loop of yarn while you wind it into more manageable balls, I made my own makeshift swift with two chairs:

I used a shoebox with a hole on each end to suspend a knitting needle, which I wound the yarn onto.  I used two knitting needles, trying to get half the yarn onto each one.  I ended up using the deli meat scale at the restaurant where I work to make sure the two amounts weighed the same.  That brought some interesting questions from my coworkers!

Now I'm in the process of plying the yarn, taking one strand from each knitting needle and using the drop spindle (counterclockwise!) to spin them together.  So far I've finished three skeins, one from each time I filled the spindle.  I've also found a better shoebox :-).

Once totally finished and knitted into something (gloves? hat?), I'll update on this project again!

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