Sunday, February 26, 2006

Yesterday's project

This weekend I'd planned to dye some fiber for my guild's annual project. North Country Spinners is working on a color wheel for its booth at the Warren Country Fair this summer. Those who wish to participate are asked to donate 50 yds of handspun in one of the colors of the spectrum. I drew purple.

Digging through my more than ample stash I found two purple fibers. I was relieved not to have to dye inside with the poor ventilation we have in the kitchen. One fiber, in a tidy top, is variagated purple -- Ashaland's Columbia, I think -- which I cannot stand, really. It had been much too slippery for me as a beginner. Eventually I did learn to spin it very fine on my Journey Wheel. The other purple fiber is the rest of a bagful of "junk" Morgaine at Carolina Handspun gave me this summer. We'd made a pilgrimage to her hard-to-find (for a New Yorker) store in San Francisco. There I found the very hand cards I was searching for. Morgaine very generously invited me to grab as much of some purple fiber that was lying around as I wanted so I could practice carding in the hotel room. Which I did, of course. The fiber turns out not to be "junk" at all. It feels like Romney or a relative. Morgaine said she'd just thrown some stuff into a dye pot and this is what came out. Lucky me.

I'd already carded about half and was so relieved to find an equal amount. Friday I carded the rest into rolags. My goal was practice spinning the short draw. I'm weaning myself from exclusive reliance on the worsted and inchworm draws. On Saturday I spun and plied (2 ply) 76 yds on my Louet S10 (NJ wheel). I'm quite pleased with the result. It's not an elegant yarn by any means. You can see in the photo that there are only a FEW skinny and extra fat bits.

Using the long or short draws make me feel positively wild and free. You just have to give up the control needed for inchworm or worsted. The advantages, as Stephanie Gaustad and Alden Amos pointed out in a workshop last spring, is that it's much faster and makes a lofty, woolly yarn. I still need to wash the skein.

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