Lesson: Swatch! Swatch!

Spinning is my new obsession since the summer. 

Read a half dozen books and watched a few Craftsy spinning classes. Makes sense. 

So far, I’ve spun four projects. Love the yarn. Was blissfully believing “It’s all good. I got this.” Spinning seemed natural and easy, until the fifth project. 

The fifth project was a real struggle getting the smoothness and thickness right. I decided it was time to pay attention to every step of the process. I will follow ALL the steps from the classes and books. No skipping. I will test run the different processes, keep notes on thickness (wraps per inch), twist angle, general characteristics and knit a swatch. No big deal. Just follow the book and class examples. 

The other motivator, the Wool n’ Spinning group is working on their default spin. Since I haven’t developed a default spin yet, I thought this is a good time to create one. 
My ideal default spin is a 3 ply fingering weight yarn spun worsted for socks. Shouldn’t be hard, right?

It took five tries to get a yarn that MIGHT have worked. I learned a lot from the experience.  

Lesson learned: don’t skip testing & swatching.  I ignored that step in the first projects. Now, I’m afraid all of them are junk (not worth knitting).

Here’s the process I went through in project 5. The fiber is unknown wool, mixed coarse with fine, sticky and matted with neps and vegetable matter. It’s 15-20 years old stored in a ziplock bag with a handwritten card, 5 oz. $6.50. Each test is approximately one quarter to a half a bobbin. I didn’t weight them. I probably will for the next project. 

Test 1: too thick single worsted spun and too twisted ply creates a hard heavy rope. (No picture)

Test 2: too lumpy single & ok 3 ply but it’s almost Aran weight yarn. Need to get thinner single. 

Test 2: 3 ply knitted swatch & card notes


Test 3-4:  thinner but not thin enough single, 2 plied is good but still too large. 3 ply is ok until I knitted a swatch. LOOK AT THE SWATCH! The swatch shows I overtwisted the ply.  If I had spun & plied the whole bag of fiber, it would have gone into the trash bin. 

Test 3-4: 2 ply & 3 ply knitted swatch

Now, I’m worried about all the previous handspun. Can’t bring myself to swatch them quite yet. 

Test 5: worsted spun, much better, but still too fluffy

Test 5: nice 3 ply yarn knit on size 0 US

The last lesson learned: Not all fiber is worth spinning. This one is destine for the center of dryer balls. 

In order to get as nice a yarn as I could in test 5, I had to pull off every tedious and frustrating nep. 


I had to prove to myself that I could do this. Test 5 is not a useable sock yarn. At least, it is pleasant to knit. I’m much closer to developing a default spin. 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s