01 April 2015

Making Treasure Out of Trash

The spinning wheel had been idling for about a month. I decided to go to spin night at The Whole Nine Yarns, so I just grabbed some fiber as I scurried out the door. I purposely grabbed something I didn't want to think much about.

Well, I started to spin and wondered why I had even purchased this fiber. I bought it in Maryland. It was locally grown. The fiber is 70% Dorset and 30% angora. It is soft. It was undyed, so the color of dirty dishwater. And the batt was, well, not something that's going to win any awards. It had a lot of neps. What the batt most reminded me of was the galactic dust clouds from which new stars form. The price was good. I do recall chatting with the owner. I must have bought this thing just to be nice, possibly thinking that $15 for 30% angora would surely be worth it.

Obviously, this was not going to be a worsted yarn. So, I spun it woolen. I just accepted that this was going to be a textured, slubby yarn. I spun it onto three different bobbins, then plied it to produce a surprisingly springy woolen yarn. This is a very loosely plied yarn, with a twist angle of only about 10°. Not too bad. The color, however, was still unappealing.

Fortunately, I have been accumulating a small stash of Jacquard dyestuffs.

When I wound the skein off the spinning wheel, I was able to figure length. From that, I decided to divide the skein into five sections. I wound each section on my warping board, putting a cross in the center of each section. Crossing threads as you wind them is a trick used by weavers. There is a limit to how much threads can move -- and therefore a limit to how much chaos they can create -- if they cross each other and that cross is secured. I tied off the cross of each sections, plus I tied each section at both pegs. Yes, that's 15 ties. It was worth it.

I was able to dye each section a different color. I'm still learning, so the dye isn't even. The transitions between colors also leave a little to be desired. And I got a little blue in the yellow, turning it more chartreuse. Since the section next to the yellow was also chartreuse, I over-dyed that section another day with sky blue to make that part more green. In the end, I have a skein with 60-yard sections that progress from purple to pink to green to chartreuse to turquoise. (In the photograph below, I've folded the skein back on itself.)

Conclusion: 300 yards, long-print, soft, plump woolen-spun in a light worsted or dk weight. I think that's worth its space in the stash.

1 comment:

Laura said...

It looks beautiful! Bright and cheery - ready for spring!