Thursday, January 3, 2013

Plying from a turtle

I spun quite a bit of the gradient that I have been working on but I haven't found a good way to wind off the cop yet so I have put it away and started working with my new Turkish spindles. Wanda Jenkins always sends some lovely fiber with each spindle and even spins a leader so you are ready to go when you get the spindle. I love that little touch.

I started with the Delight, which is the smaller of the two I bought. The fiber sample here was from Abstract Fibers, in the colorway Maleficent. The fiber is Organic Polwarth and silk and it was just dreamy to spin. It drafted beautifully and the singles came out fabulously smooth. I tried to spin it a little thicker than I am spinning the gradient but it was a little thick and thin. Since these are just samples, you get instant gratification.

I am posting a flash picture because it shows the colors better.
I let it rest overnight as I had trouble with the plying the last time I tried it (on the Kuchulu). While I was thinking, I realized that a plying ball is the perfect answer to the yarn barf that results from the inside-outside plying from the turtle.

In the meantime, I picked up the Swan and spun a little on it. This came with a fiber sample from NewHueHandspuns BamHuey in the colorway High Tide. The color is very pretty and the previous sample of this fiber, that I got with the Kuchulu, spun up very easily. This sample though is a little tough to draft. Also, since I was spinning on a much larger spindle, I went much thicker. This time, I got a fairly even draft.

This morning, I created my plying ball. Again, this is a little bit of fiber so all this takes very little time.
I started with my usual styrofoam core wrapped in a bit of handspun.
I slowly wound the single from both the inside and the outside of the turtle together on the ball. You have to maintain tension on the singles as you do this and make sure both are feeding evenly. I did break a single, but I discovered it a few inches past the break and I was able to join it and continue without too much effort.
Here it is midway through the process
The advantage of winding it onto a plying ball is that you can keep the turtle under control. If it isn't feeding properly, you can set the ball down without worrying about the fiber untwisting. This is what happened to me when I was plying directly from the turtle. The turtle would hang and start untwisting. Also, you can control the turtle by holding it in the palm of one hand while you hold the ball in the other hand. The fingers of the turtle hand feed the fibers under tension to be wound onto the ball.

I got a bit of yarn barf at the end but I was able to find the end and once it was under tension, I could untangle it. I had to enlist the use of another hand (my husband's) to hold the end while I untangled it. But it was less than a yard long so I could have used my toe or some other object to hold it in place. Plying ball is all completed here
Now I can ply on any spindle or even a wheel. Since the two singles are evenly wound on the ball can go anywhere without worrying about them. I will create another plying ball from the Swan's current turtle and then ply them both one after the other.

I am enjoying the slightly thicker singles I am spinning on the Swan. Once I see how thick the finished yarn is, I may do this as my next project. I have some lovely Romney from Into the Whirled which I got at Rhinebeck in 2011.
It is the one on the right. I think a DK/sport weight yarn in this color would make me a lovely headband and fingerless mitts. I am walking outside quite a bit here and my ears get cold. I hate hats so a headband is perfect. Also, I lost one of my lovely ski gloves yesterday. That leaves me with just one pair of fingerless mitts for warmth and I think a thicker pair would be better. The ones I have are stranded sock weight yarn.

So let's see how the thicker single ends up and I can plan spinning the Romney based on that.

1 comment:

Stitchmistress said...

I am spinning the Knitgirllls fiber gradient on my Lark. I LOVE my Lark. I am going to wind the Turtles on plastic weaving bobbins, and then do a 2 ply. (I split the fiber in 2 down the middle)

I kind of like 5" plastic bobbins for winding. They don't hold quite an ounce, but are nice for smaller spindling projects.

Happy spinning Jaya!