All quiet here on the western front today, which has given me some time to skein up my first batch of yarn. After much debating over which of my lovely rovings should be first onto the wheel, I decided to play with the merino/tencel blend I bought recently, as I already had a bobbin full of it, and figured that I should ply that up sooner rather than later. So, I spun away. I'm definitely finding it easier to draft as I spin, although getting started each time is tough (I keep snapping the darned yarn and having to re-thread it through the orifice, and somehow it takes several minutes to convince my feet to keep the wheel moving at the top of each turn).
I have developed a number of ad hoc tools to help. My orifice hook is a bent paperclip, which is doing the trick perfectly. And, as I have no lazy kate, and only one bobbin for the ashford, once I was done spinning the singles, I wound them off the bobbins using my ball winder, holding the bobbin on a dowel with my toes. Then I plied from the center-pull balls, which worked like a charm. It's good to know that I can manage pretty much whatever I need to with what I've got at this point. So, I finished the singles early yesterday evening, and then just had to stay up late to ply (I was kind of interested to see whether all of this made-up equipment and technique was going to do the trick).
Then, this morning, I measured out a yard of scrap yarn, and used it to set my swift up to a yard in diameter (did I mention that I also have no niddy-noddy?). I used that to wind the plied yarn off the bobbin into a hank. Then I tied it off and put it to soak in a very hot bath to set the twist. When that was done, I beat it against the wall of the shower (I'm still not entirely sure what purpose the beating serves, but I've seen it recommended in several places, besides which, it kind of felt good), and hung it outside in the shade to dry.
It has been an absolutely gorgeous day today, and everything is in bloom. The wisteria is going nuts on the back patio.
And there's still more to come.
The sage is also in bloom, the fig tree is just starting to leaf, and the orange blossoms are smelling heavenly. Spring has definitely sprung.
The yarn is the perfect purple color to go with all of these blooms.
You can see there that the spinning is still not even; there are definitely some loose bits. But there are quite a few strands that spun and plied up very evenly, and the ply was also even overall (no twisting when I hung it in its hank), and I have hope that there will come a time when I have better control over the process.
I used about half or a little more of the roving, and ended up with about 100 yards. In spite of the fact that I am wild to get the Linguistic roving onto the wheel, I think that I will finish this roving up first, for a couple of reasons. First, I figure that if I want this yarn to be about the same all the way through so that I can use it for one project, I should probably spin it more or less at once, so that I keep these charming (humph) inconsistencies (from what I've read, there comes a period in the middle skill stages of spinning when it gets hard to purposely produce "novelty" yarn; I'm looking forward to that stage, to be quite honest, since I never buy or use lumpy yarn). Also, once it's all spun, I'll have a better sense of just how much I have to work with, and I can start to consider what exactly can be knitted out of 180-200 yards of lumpy yarn. A shrug for one of the girls? A lace scarf from the Victorian Lace book? I'm at a bit of a loss...