Friday, July 28, 2017

Tour de Fleece results

I am very impressed with my spinning efforts this year. I had two objectives:

  1. Spin the singles for warp and weft for a collapse weave project
  2. Card and spin the locks I dyed at Rhinebeck last year
I achieved both and also spun about 1/3 of 2 Fiber Optic braids that didn't quite match. That will get finished in its own time.

Here are the final results of the Tour de Fleece 2017 for me in pictorial form. The photo represents the state of the spinning at the end of the Tour last Sunday night.

Since then, I have finished all the yarns except for the partially spun red braid.

The carded and spun locks made a nice DK-sport weight yarn. It is difficult to capture the actual color as it is a bit darker than this. It either looks black or it looks a bit too bright like this. I am very happy with it. It has a nice hand. It is a bit lumpy and bumpy but not too much.

I started plying from 3 bobbins, one of which had quite a bit less than the others. When that one ran out, I made a rather large plying bracelet with the larger of the two remaining bobbins and continued spinning a 3 ply. When the bracelet ran out, I used the loop from the end of it to start a chain ply with the last bobbin. Since that was the one where I had started with single color rolags, the chain ply created a single color yarn. You can see that on the coin. The rest of the yarn is marled as the rolags were blended and then they were plied. I am in love with the colors! I also got a lot more yardage than I had thought I would. It is about 132 yards.

Then I finished the weft yarns for the collapse weave. I wound them on a PVC niddy noddy and soaked them while they were on there and let them dry under tension. This was to control the twist so I can weave without getting pigtails in the weave.

Lastly, I finished the warp yarns. These were also wound on the PVC niddy noddy and soaked but then I applied a xanthan gum sizing per Sarah Anderson's Spinner's Book of Yarn Design. She recommends 1 tbsp of xanthan gum to 2 cups of water. The water has to be put into a high speed blender and the blender started. Then the gum is dribbled in from the top opening. This way you get an even mixture or goop as we will call it from now on. That is the goop in a plastic container on the counter.

I had soaked the weft in the bathtub but found it awkward. So this time I brought it down to the utility tub and soaked it there, Then I squeezed out the water as best as I could. I applied 1/4 cup of the goop by hand putting small amounts on each section of the fiber and massaging it in. I squeezed out the excess and ran my hands over the fiber to smooth out any blobs of goop. I left the skein to drip in the tub and then I took it upstairs and stood it up in the guest bathroom sink. I had done this with the weft and I knew that it sat in there very nicely with stability. I was afraid that if I left it in the utility tub, someone would run water over it accidentally.

I finished the Z-spun warp first and it was dry in 2 days. As it dried, I went by periodically and made sure that strands weren't sticking to each other. I wound this skein as I normally do, tightly. I found that it was difficult separating strands when it was wound so tightly. I had,  I also wound it with strands overlapping each other. Fortunately, tied the figure-8 ties loosely. I always do that so that the twist and the water can get in under the ties.
It is stiff but each strand is separate. Sarah Anderson recommends winding it into a ball which I will do before I warp.

Today I repeated the process with the S-spun warp. I wound the skein much more loosely and also made sure to lay each strand next to the previous one making sure they didn't overlap. That made it easier to separate the strands after the goop was applied. I will continue to separate them as it dries. It looks exactly like the skein above. I made sure to label the first skein so I wouldn't get them mixed up.

My plan is to alternate the S and the Z spun warps with the Z-spun threaded more loosely on the heddle and the S-spun threaded at double the density or sett. The relative sizes of these that I found aesthetically pleasing was 1" with the wider sett and 1/2" with the denser sett. I am thinking I will use a 10 dent heddle. I need to calculate how wide and long I can make it now that i know how much yardage i have. I need a wide sett to provide space for the weave to collapse but I also want some structure. I don't want it all to collapse into a crumpled ball!

This is the look I am aiming for but doing it on both the warp and the weft. In the sample, I only did it in the weft.
If you look at the top, I have done the 1" loose and the 1/2" dense. The bottom was done with 1" each and I didn't like that. The denser sett reduces the collapse providing the ripples. I am also alternating the S and Z spun warps so that the twist pulls the fabric in opposite directions, again providing some structure.

But it is all a big experiment so it will be interesting so see how it turns out. Stay tuned!

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