100! 100! 100!

I guess I’ll start off with some light eye candy, having finally gotten halfway decent photos of some of the laceweight tussah silk singles.

Let’s see, according to my records (this is last week’s evening spinning, mostly), those 9 come to 3,320 yards, and this…

…which was horrible to photograph, is 600 yards, so that’s just shy of 4,000 yards of laceweight silk singles last week, plus…

…a chained single (aka Navajo plied) coming to 200 yards.

These were all from seconds from my tussah silk dyeing — seconds, because the silk got too beat up, or was under an ounce when all was said and done, or something. Stuff like this:

which turned into this:

So, it’s not like those aren’t spinnable, nicely so even… they just didn’t make the grade to be Franquemont Fibers product as fiber. Thus, instead, every single one of ’em became enough yarn to make a nice scarf, and in some cases a shawl.

Since the sun came out today for a bit so I could take these photos, I also snapped one of those Pond Scum batts!

I really wish I could come up with a way to get these photographed next to the scum on one of the ponds across the road, but I can’t — the pondscum only looks the colour I was after from a distance. Ahem, but anyway, the Pond Scum batts are superwash/silk/mohair. I like them more than I expected to.

Oh, let’s see, here’s what I did Saturday night! Remember this?

Well, unbeknownst to all y’all, I embezzled some of that blend and put one large batt of it into my “to-spin” stash. It was a superwash/tencel blend, and I really liked the blend, but it was high-maintenance to produce so I don’t think I’m going to keep doing it. Though I enjoyed spinning it, so… perhaps. This one is “Sea Breeze,” and there was a Pink Lemonade one as well, but that went to its rightful home.

I really, really like how this one came out. I got 330 yards of 2-ply yarn in a middling sock weight grist, which is actually probably enough for a pair of socks. Except I might like it more than socks. Anyway, it’s destined to be something for me. The carded blend with tencel in it is interesting — the shine and glimmer from the tencel is there, but it’s more distributed, meaning that the yarn looks relatively matte until the light catches it, at which point it glints in a crystalline way, rather than looking wet-shiny like the commercial combed top merino/tencel blends tend to do.

But by now perhaps you are wondering about the title of this post. I’ll explain.

Here it is, June of 2007, and this post right here is my 100th post in this blog! What a whirlwind it has been since going live last November! I guess blogging is a little bit like plying — it takes forever to build up on the bobbin, so to speak, and while you’re doing it, it seems like it’s taking forever, but then when all is said and done, there is more there than you thought, and it makes sense that it took as long as it did.

To demonstrate what I mean, let me show you this blend of California Variegated Mutant and tussah silk. It looks really, really luscious, like you could just dive right in and get totally lost. So you get started, with a clear vision in mind for where you’re going.

Is that… a toe of some kind on the bottom left? Why, yes it is!

And voila, just like that, surprise! Distraction. But then you knuckle down and get to spinning

Friday night you finish spinning two out of four batts onto your first bobbin. There’s a little disappointment when you stop, and you feel like the blend is just not quite as luscious as you felt like it was, and there were a few tiny neps and noils around, and… fine. Do something else for a bit. Let’s look back at what I thought this blog was going to be like when I started it.

The first big surprise for me, looking back, is realizing that despite having thought, in November, that I’d gather up lots of my legacy content and clean it up and put it online here, I ended up producing mostly new content. But it was a fun stroll through memory lane all the same, and I’ve no doubt I’ll do more as time permits. Here are a few things I did gather up from other places I’d posted them, and put here:

I know that way, way back, archived in all sorts of scattered places, I have hundreds of other things I’d like to gather up and post too. I expected to clean those up and have them online as part of the first 100 items, and it’s amazing to me that I haven’t.

Perhaps it’s because instead of just getting on with that second bobbin, I did this instead with Saturday afternoon.

It was quickie, leftovers, needed to be done and cleared of the “spin me” pile anyway. 220 yards of 2-ply sock yarn from a test of that superwash/tencel top.

Speaking of the “spin me” pile, wanna know what I’ve got for titles in my “drafts” pile? Dig on this:

  • What Do I Need To Start Spinning?
  • Make Your Own Spindle!
  • A Little Bit About Working With Batts
  • Spinning A Cabled Yarn
  • Yarn Tech: Plies
  • Measuring Your Yarn, ala Mabel Ross
  • Some Timed Spinning Results
  • Is It True You Hate Art Yarn, and Spinning Without A Purpose In Mind?
  • Spinning Wheel Drive Systems
  • Some Customer Results!
  • How Can I Spin Laceweight Yarn on a Wheel?
  • So What’s Really The Right Fiber To Start With?

So let’s hear it: out of all these subject lines, which one would YOU most like to read next? Or, well, how about “soon,” instead of “next?” A few of ’em have been lingering because they’re slow going, very technical, or require spinning to be photographed.

This is not unlike when you finally spin up that second bobbin of the CVM/Tussah blend on Sunday afternoon, and immediately set about plying, but 15 minutes in, you decide you’ll have a pint while you’re at it.

Because just look how much there is to go.

(no, don’t look at the couple of silks from the “spin me” pile behind the lazy kate)

Half an hour and a pint of Harp later…

Hey, that’s great! Looks like lots of progress! Except…

Back to work. But you can have another pint while you’re at it.

While we’re straw polling here, and while I’m going down memory lane, I got to thinking about which of the articles I’ve done are ones I’m genuinely happy about, and why. I was going for a top 20, and I managed to pull off… an top 16. In no particular order, here it is:

  1. The Louet Victoria Review I assigned myself this piece as much as a writing exercise as anything else, and approached it in a principled manner, modeling it after reviews I’ve really liked in non-fiber publications, taking pictures and notes, coming up with a test plan, and so on. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.
  2. Can You Explain Spinning Wheel Drive Ratios? In this case I’m proud of brevity. Brevity is a challenge for me (no, really?)
  3. What Are Batts, Top, Roving and So Forth? Again, brevity! Well, relatively. In retrospect though, I think it needs pictures.
  4. Drop Spindle Basics Video This is essentially a demo routine I’ve done for US audiences since I was about 8 years old. It’s my first sort of principled bit of video.
  5. Waylaka While I’m nowhere near my parents’ caliber of ethnographer, it’s hard to be one about one’s own life, especially when it’s about a subject that’s essential to the core of one’s own sense of self. I’m resolving to do more writing like this in the next hundred posts.
  6. Choosing Your First Spinning Wheel This one took me months to pull together, and sat in my drafts pile for what felt like forever.
  7. What Difference Does Drive Wheel Size Make? An important mechanical question that we don’t talk about much.
  8. Chullu Knitting Geeze, does this one need cleaning up. I still like it, though.
  9. The Queen Is Dead, Long Live The Queen More of that emotional stuff, a remembrance of my old lady cat.
  10. The Salmon Electric I admit it: I just really like this yarn. And I’m fairly pleased with the process post.
  11. Woolen vs. Worsted I’m pleased with this mostly because I want to see more discussion of the subject as a continuum.
  12. The handspun yarn pricing discussion is another thing I just want to see discussed and thought about. Am I trying to tell everyone what to do? No. But I do think folks considering selling their wares ought to think about some of these things.
  13. Stupid Tangled Bobbin Hah. Oh yeah.
  14. Pagoda processIn this case, it’s largely the photos I’m pleased with.
  15. Memorial Day Again, emotional writing.
  16. Making a Tweed Blend It took longer to document and write this up, by FAR, than to make the blend.

So, yeah, I guess we’re making progress here after all. Another pint and half hour in, there’s actually some content on the blog, er, I mean, yarn piling up on the bobbin.

Of course, this is also where it becomes clear you’ve got uneven amounts between the two source bobbins. Not like you didn’t know that would happen, but even so, it’s more than you expected.

I guess another pint wouldn’t hurt, for this home stretch.

So let’s hear it: what are your favourites from my first 100? Pick any number — I’m totally curious. I have a hard time looking at my own generated content, within a matter of months, and telling if I actually like it or not. In general, if an article took lots of work and many edits, I seem to feel more positive about it than if it didn’t — but, some of the articles that people have told me that they’ve really found helpful have been ones I took almost no time with at all, like the half-hitch one. And I always feel like simple yarn porn and eye candy is a cop-out; I always want to be producing Brilliant Technical Articles, or something. And as my draft list might indicate, I’ve also got a problem with being unwilling to declare something finished, or good enough.

When it comes down to the end, there’s always some fiddling. With producing yarn, at least, I’ve gotten pretty good at accepting this and moving forward. If this weren’t a fancy custom blend, I’d just toss what’s left on the one bobbin…

But nah, I’m not gonna be a total waylaka about this. I can fit that on here.

And what’s more, I’ll be glad I did.

A quick butterfly pulls a bunch (about half) off that bobbin, and after splicing it in and grabbing the end from the bobbin again, back to work. The butterfly, having a cross in it, won’t tangle too easily. I’m in the home stretch here and just want to see how this yarn is going to come out, after all.

And finally, then, we approach the moment of truth — the singles are all gone, and the bobbin is full.

Look! Something to show for the seemingly endless effort. I mean, not that it wasn’t fun and interesting and not that I don’t enjoy it; but it was still work. Looking at it there, just one bobbin, I feel like, “Is that all there is?”

But you know, it’s a full bobbin. And 100 posts is a lot.

So, what’s the contest? Well, first, the prizes: featured items from blog articles.

The tweed from the tweed blend tutorial:

Merino/Tencel Testers Pair, about 4 oz total:

and, not pictured because I can’t, 4 ounces of a you-ask-for-it custom blend, that I’ll make for you if you win.

All you have to do to win is…

…guess how many yards are on this bobbin.

I don’t know either — I won’t find out till later this week; I’ll force myself to be patient. I play this guessing game with myself with every bobbin I fill, incidentally.

Now, here’s the dirt. I’m looking for how many yards of yarn I end up with once I’ve finished the yarn, which I intend to do with the hot-cold, hot-cold fulling wash. I’ve got no clue — because I didn’t write it down — how many ounces of fiber there are. Well, I’d guess it’s around 5-6 ounces, or 150-175 grams. I really can’t be sure. It’s on a standard Majacraft bobbin. You have until this Friday, June 29 2007, and you must post your guess as a reply. The closest guess will get first pick from the 3 prizes; #2 will get to choose from the remaining 2 prizes; and #3 will get the last prize. If for some reason a winner can’t use the prize he or she gets, like if it’s fiber and you don’t spin, well, we’ll figure something out.

82 thoughts on “100! 100! 100!

  1. I’m not good at this, but I wanted to give it a try too. To lazy to read through all the comments so I’m just hoping my answer isn’t given yet. I’m guessing 1097 yards, though knowing how fine you can spin I think it might be a lot more!

    Happy spinning!

  2. I’m probably way underestimating here, but I’m going to guess 587 yards. I’m basing that solely on having spun CVM fairly recently and knowing what a bouncy fiber it can be. But maybe it behaves differently in the hands of a different spinner.

    I love all your articles, Abby! I can’t choose! SO much information (sometimes my head spins but that’s my fault) and I’ve learned so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  3. Well, my guess is around 470 yards, though whatever the length, it’s still beautiful

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