Saturday, July 12, 2008

Spinning batts

As I posted recently, I just purchased a set of Hanks In The Hood batts from Paradise Fibers, so this week I decided to finally break into them and see what they're all about. I decided that with the Cozy Stripes, I really wanted to produce bulky, felted singles.

This was a good idea in theory, except that between my wheel and the fiber, it was a battle hard won. My singles ended up far more thick and thin than I would have liked; I was fighting to draft smoothly. I don't think that the preparation is to blame, I think that I was just trying to force something on a fiber that it didn't want to be (with a less than stellar I miss my Lendrum...)

I realized that I needed to pre-draft as carefully as possible, leaving almost nothing left to do when I was actually inserting the twist.

This is how I handled the batt to deal with the color changes. Here are the last two colors unrolled on the couch (so sorry, the photos were taken last night in artificial light, so please excuse the bad colors and crappy setting).

First, I split the batt as cleanly as I could just before the two-color overlap.

Then, I drafted that out lengthwise (in this picture I would have grabbed the top and bottom of it from this angle), making it pretty much as thin as I would need it to be for spinning the bulky singles.

Next, I split the batt where the color overlap ends and it becomes solid purple again.

I made this into a rolag, and drafted that out into a long continuous strip, pulling from both ends...

Until it looked like this:

Then I lengthened out the remaining solid purple bit, and rolled them all into tidy bundles:

There's probably other ways to do this as well, but that's what seemed to make sense for this particular project, and for the way that I wanted the colors to come out (with Noro-like transitions between the solid, rich tones of the individual colors).

Once I was done spinning, I gently felted the skein in a few alternating soaks in cold and hot water, with a little bit of squishing involved (enthusiastically executed by the three-year-old this morning).

Here are my results. Definitely knit-able (or crochet-able), but as far as consistency in spinning, not up to my usual standards.

I would love to crochet this into a flower-motif scarf (I find the vintage 70's combo is almost ugly, yet strangely inspiring), but I don't think that I have enough yardage for anything crocheted (this is just under 23 yards).

So....what do you suggest that I do with it?

Usually, I would have sat down immediately to knit this up as soon as it was dry, but instead, I got out my tiny Golding LeFleur spindle and spun some metallic thread out of some green blend Firestar (100% nylon).

(It's almost impossible to capture metallic colors on camera.)

Then I spun some fingering weight singles out of this stuff:

(The grey is actually a green, but...well, I'm having color troubles this week, it would seem.)

It's Hanks In The Hood "Moss", and I wasn't sure how I would feel about the layered colors.

As it turns out, it's alternating colors as I spin, which is quite fun!

I'm spinning this as fingering-weight singles on my Golding Celtic Knot, and I will then Andean-ply it to be a dk-weight two-ply.

The original plan was to three ply it with the thread, but....well, I don't really know what I was thinking. The colors are shockingly bad together, see?

Anyway, I'll use the thread as a binder for something else, but I'm not sure what yet. At the moment I'm really enjoying the color changes in the batt, and it's proving to be a much more enjoyable experience alltogether than the Cozy Stripes spun on my HitchHiker. Funny, I never thought I'd hear myself say that (or "see myself type that"?) about spindle spinning...
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