Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fiber keeps happening

I have been plugging away at various things here, and actually have something to show for it.   I have been spinning the BFL which I'm planning to ply with my already-spun Polwarth, and I am here to tell you two things.  First, it takes a LOT longer (for me) to spin four ounces worsted than it does to spin four ounces woollen.  A lot.  Second, the worsted-spun fiber takes up MUCH less space.  My four ounces of Polwarth (spun woollen) take up the better part of two bobbins.  I'm two-thirds or so of the way through the four ounces of BFL (spun worsted), and I think it's all going to fit on one bobbin with room to spare.  The wraps per inch look about the same, so it's got to be a function of the amount of air in worsted spun yarn.  I'll be sure to have pictures next time.

While that's been going on, I also pulled out the first of my one-ounce fiber sampler, deciding to start with the Lincoln.  I got out my trusty Pipy to do the spinning.
Lincoln is an incredibly long-staple fiber.  The staple length on this particular sample was somewhere upwards of eight inches.  And it has almost no crimp.  It feels more like holding hair than wool, in many ways; but this particular preparation was clearly wool - it had a lovely lanolin smell, not too strong, that hung about the fiber as it was spun, and my hands afterward.  For the first time, I understood why Clara Parkes describes that scent as "spicy" - it is, in a warm, cooking spices sort of way.

Because Lincoln is a prototypical longwool, and because the preparation of this sample was such a lovely combed top, I spun it worsted.  It came out fuzzier than I'd expected, given the fiber and the preparation and the spinning.  The BFL I'm spinning has less fuzz - weird, no?
I then made both a two-ply and a three-ply yarn out of the singles.
 That's the three-ply on the left, and the two-ply on the right.  The three-ply was (as one might expect) a much rounder yarn; interestingly, it seemed to me that it bloomed more nicely than the two-ply.  I'm not sure why that would be.  It also seemed to me to be more lustrous than the two-ply (luster being another hallmark of the longwools).  I do know that if I were to spin a project out of Lincoln, I would absolutely spin a three-ply.  In fact, I'm rather thinking that I'd love to source some dyed Lincoln to spin a colorwork bag out of.  I imagine that a bag like that would be absolutely stunning, and would wear like steel.  All in all, a successful first sampling session.

I have also been working away at the latest pair of Rick socks, in time for him to go out of town next week.
These are the Blunnie socks from one of last year's Rockin' Sock Club kits.  As soon as I saw them, I knew they were going to be for Rick, as he has a pair of blunnies that he loves.
These fit like a glove.  I really aimed for a tight fit this time (and they are knitted on size 0 needles), to see if that improves the wear of his socks (mainly by preventing the semi-felting of the soles of his socks, which tends to happen after a while).  We'll see.

So that's one project off the needles.  In the meantime, I've cast on for Vitamin D (a cardi), and am plugging away at the yoke.  With luck, I'll have something to show on that next time, plus I might (maybe) have finished the BFL and be ready to ply!


EGunn said...

I'm glad you're finding time for fiber! It's interesting that the worsted is taking up so much less space. I wonder how the grist compares between the BFL and the Polwarth? The Lincoln looks beautiful, too. I especially like the three ply, but then that's no surprise...three-ply is my favorite yarn. (Let me know if you have trouble finding dyed Lincoln...I'm sure we could work something out.)

I'd love to hear if you come up with ways of making Rick's socks last longer...Branden's have the same problem. It does hurt to drop a needle size or two when the socks are so big already...congratulations on making it through!

The Slop Queen said...

Your Lincoln sample is lovely! I have a half fleece is steel Gary/silver colors that I need to get busy on. Looks like you've got the twist just right. My sample attempt had wayyyy too much twist and wound up being closer to wire than fiber!

Willow said...

I googled Vitamin D cardi to see what you were talking about. I wondered if the semester had caused a deficiency due to lack of said Vitamin and you had miswritten the, there it was on ravelry looking absolutely adorable!

The spinning is lovely. I like the three ply also. I think I'll plan a three ply project. As for me, I'm so so looking forward to summer for more spinning and knitting time. I might even truly delve into the weaving. Finally.

RobinH said...

Lovely yarn- both the handspun and the socks!

I tend to knit socks on the small needles pretty much all the time- fingering on size 0, light fingering on 0 or 00, and sock weight on size 1. Results- well, I've been knitting socks since 2002, they are worn on a daily basis, and I haven't had a single hole yet--not even on the very oldest ones that have gone through the wash ~50 times a year. I'll be interested to hear how Rick's socks go!

RobinH said...

Whoops. That should be 'knitting socks since 2006' not 2002!
Brain wants more caffeine...

Brandi Schoch said...

I recently started giving spinning lessons and it was probably the greatest thing that happened in awhile. I remembered my love of spinning and have made it a point to do some every day.

twinsetellen said...

I've had the same experience - worsted just packs into a small space - it is sleek and dense. And during the washing, worsted yarn sinks right into the water, while I have to push the woolen down under.

Your Lincoln looks wonderful. What are you going to spin next? I'll pull that sample out and spin it with you. Also a fan of the 3-ply, here.

The sock are great, too. Very amusing name! Very nicely knit!

Nana Sadie said...

I'm really glad you had some knitting in there for me to comment on - I didn't read or look up the pattern, I just embiggened the photo to see if - heavens! - did those socks come undone??? (in the small it looked like a HUGE run!!)
Such is my vision - those socks are amazing. Is there any nylon in that yarn? Because the only socks I've had wear holes in them are socks that are 100% merino. Anything with a touch of nylon seems to wear like iron, and I also think the dropping down a size on the needles will help.

scienceprincess said...

Hey. I haven't been by in ages, but I wanted to drop by and say hello. The spinning looks great, and I love the socks.

My excuse is that I got pregnant and had a daughter.

In any case, I'm glad you're well.

Take care.

Boo21's Mom said...

Just stumbled upon your blog -- only the second one by someone who lives in the greater San Diego area. Your "burban wilderness" looks and sounds almost like mine (complete with coyotes and kestrels)so I figured you weren't far from El Cajon where I live. I blog about my dogs but am a knitting and spinner, so it will be fun to check in on your blog.

Lynne said...

Those socks do look like they fit very well. The talk of spinning was a little beyond me but I think I got the gist of it - it seems you're enjoying it and that's what counts.