Another Hobby Blog

Monday, July 18, 2005

Alpaca-wool Skein

Since my wrists were hurting anyway, and I really couldn't knit as much as I wanted, I shifted a good measure of my attention to other pursuits instead, among them spinning and dyeing.

Back in April, my roommate and I went to the local Spring Fair. I got quite a few things while I was there, including a good deal of roving which I've managed to not start working with yet. But since I'd been short-sighted enough to leave my spinning supplies and knitting at home, and wasn't carrying anything easy to work on while I walked about the fair and talked with people, I alsp picked up a new drop spindle and two smaller handfuls of roving, weighing in at somewhere near one ounce each. Both the rovings were multi-colored, very similar in color spectrum. One is a wool-alpaca blend, the other a wool-silk blend. Originally, I thought that I would spin up seperately and then ply together.

As I walked around the fair, chatting with members of the local spinning guilds, artisans, merchants, etc., my spindle started to fill. I really enjoyed the smoothness of the wool-alpaca blend as I drafted and spun it. I spoke with one lady on the virtues of Z-twist yarn. It's better for the way that I knit, after all, and apparently it is better for the way that she crochets! I hadn't ever noticed any effect of twist-direction in my crochet before, so now I will start looking more closely.

The weeks progressed. I finished spinning the alpaca-wool blend on May 1, at a friend's party. By the end of it, the spindle had gotten very heavy and the yarn kept slipping apart if I wasn't extremely careful. But since I had A Plan, and very little roving to finish spinning, I perservered, finally managing to spin all the alpaca-wool onto the one spindle.

Since I had A Plan, I then wound that single off onto a chopstick so that I could set it aside while I spun the second roving.

Then my drop spindle and roving got misplaced.

I simply hate that.

I despise being disorganized.

I really want to throw a fit when I cannot find the simple little things.
Like my wallet.
Or my car keys.
Or my drop spindle.

Sometimes it's even my fault that it's been misplaced.
Usually my fault, really...
But that doesn't make it any better, really. I still want to throw a fit.

This past week I found it again. It doesn't matter where.

By now the twist has set in the single that has already been spun.
By now the weather has turned, and I am not really eager to spin a wool-silk blend.
By now I have other projects clamoring for my attention.
By now I have learned, through experience, that plying one type of fiber against another can yield very unexpected and potentially unpleasant results.

So I gave up on The Plan, and decided to ply the single back on itself.

Let it be known that I am a sucker for center-pull balls.
I KNOW that it is unwise to try to ply from one. I have experienced the tragic results myself.
Many times.
And yet, if I have the opportunity, I will always try again.
I am a sucker for center-pull balls.

Since I'd wound the single off onto a chopstick the way I'd wind it off onto a nostepinne, I was dead in the water already. There was nothing that could have been done to save me. I simply slipped the ball off of the chopstick and had a ready-made center-pull ball.
With a very small center-pull hole. Much smaller than a nostepinne would have given. This might have been a mistake...

The tangle that ensued cannot be described. It was not quite the Gordian Knot of legend, but so close to same as to almost be indistinguishable. Lacking a sword, I did my best to untangle the mess one unforgiving inch at a time.

Many hours later, I finished plying the yarn. It has a lovely hand and weighs in at 1.25 ounces. It's 98 yards in length, and approximately a fingering weight.

It is soft and springy and lovely. If you look really closely, you can still see the rainbow of colors from which it is comprised, but from an arm's length away, it is somewhere between a light chocolate brown and a soft burgundy.

I love it!
I have absolutely no idea what I will do with it.


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