Sunday, May 11, 2008

Smacking singles

No, I'm not going around taking potshots at the romantically unattached. I am, however, showing my yarn who's boss. There has been a lot of talk lately on Ravelry, in Spin Off, on Yahoo groups, etc about setting twist in your handspun by whacking your wet yarn against a table or some such to help distribute the twist and energy more evenly throughout the yarn. Jen finally convinced me to give it a try. I'm still on my quest to learn to spin a decent singles yarn. Here is my latest attempt with some corriedale roving I hand dyed. As you can see, the yarn is quite energized. There are kinks and coils and the yarn doesn't even begin to hang straight. Into a sink of very warm water with a bit of shampoo for a half hour soak. By then the water had cooled so I drained the sink and gently rinsed in cool water. I squeezed as much water from the yarn as possible (this helps to minimize mess in the next step). Then I held the skein by one end and smacked it against the shower wall. I did this a few times, then turned the skein and did it again. I believe I did about 8 or 9 whacks in all. Just be sure to get as much water out as possible or you'll get a face full of water! I've heard of people twirling their skein of yarn airplane-style over their head (outside of course) to use centrifugal force to help remove water. I'm going to have to try this one day (when the neighbors aren't out of course!) I hung the skein to dry and here's the end result. Oh yeah, BIG difference! I am quite surprised and impressed. The twist definitely redistributed itself and the yarn is much more balanced. I still have a ways to go at achieving the lofty soft twist single I'm aiming for. But this technique transformed a pretty rough looking skein into a lovely bit of quite usable yarn. Thanks Jen for pushing me to try this!!

Since my last post, I have finished the Spa Slippers.They have been sent on to the one who requested them and thankfully they fit her well. One of
these days I must make myself a pair of these.

I finished spinning and plying the Gryffindor yarn.
I loves it! The picture doesn't do it justice. The burgundy and gold subtly change throughout and the dark brown/black really sets it off. This yarn is destined to be fingerless mitts.

One stash acquisition to show:
This is Pigeonroof Studios superwash BFL roving in Nightshade purchased from a fellow Raveler who is destashing. I adore the colors in this and can't wait to see how it spins up.

On my needles: Jack socks, I'm almost to the heel of sock #1; Darvoset socks, finished sock #1 and just past the toe on sock #2; Milan cardigan, finished both fronts and back, seamed the should
ers and half way up the first sleeve.

Although I've got at least a few weeks of knitting left on Milan, I broke down and ordered yarn for Flyingdales. I was going to go with Valley Yarns Sugarloaf, but ended up ordering a new yarn called Country by NaturallyCaron. This yarn looks and sounds very interesting, a microfiber/merino blend. I ordered it from a place with a good return policy, just in case, but I've been happy with most everything I've tried from Caron so I'm confident this will be a worthwhile purchase.

A new podcast to check out...The Knitmore Girls. This is a mother and daughter team who podcast about their knitting. They are delightful.

I've gotten the garden all planted for the year. I changed the layout this year and we removed some ornamental grasses from one bed that we can now use for vegetables, so we are trying some new stuff this year. Here we have onions, peppers, cucumbers and (eventually) acorn squash with a cherry tomato plant in the pot. This long bed has eggplant, basil, tomatoes and zucchini.
And this little bed has butternut squash and broccoli. There's still some work to be done on the beds, the little bed needs edging and more grass patch around the perimeter and I want to get straw down on everything, but for the most part it's done and we need only wait for mother nature to do her thing.

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