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November, Shorter Days, Sock Blends

Today I’m working on sock blends, in large part to work my way through the pile of bombyx silk seconds that I wound up with from recent silk dyeing sessions. Basically, any time that a silk fails my quality control for being saleable as top, I put it on the blending pile — it’s still beautiful fiber, but not quite up to my standards for sale. Usually, this will be because I break a top while moving it; sometimes it gets too tangly in a dyebath; sometimes it weighs up a little short. Every now and then, there’s one where the dye doesn’t penetrate to the depth I expect it to, or the colour is just not quite right. So anyway, blending fodder.

Muted Sock Blends TodayAs luck would have it, here as days grow shorter and bleaker, I seem to have already worked my way through the lion’s share of bright colours, and I’m left with the muted tones, and a whole lot of gray superwash merino, which is absolutely wonderful in its softness, but… you know, gray! So here I am with muted-colour silks and gray superwash that I’ve postponed far longer than I meant to. There won’t be a new round of really bright silks until I do another dye day, and that’s not going to be until my next shipment of bombyx silk arrives, sometime this week I expect. Of course, with Thanksgiving approaching, and family coming in to town, next week isn’t going to be a big work week for me.

Sock blends, though, are big fun. I find them very satisfying. To be a really good sock blend, the fiber needs to be very easy to spin fine, and absolutely next-to-skin soft. It needs to have some memory, so there’s some stretch and bounce, and it needs to be a long-wearing blend. Combining superwash wool, various silks, and a little bit of nylon absolutely does produce such a blend, and then it’s up to the spinner to spin the sock yarn he or she wants.

Perhaps the trickiest element with sock blends is coming up with something that it’s not just as easy for someone to buy in a millspun sock yarn. Especially in the past few years, the range of options for commercial sock yarns have really increased, and this is a constant challenge for me as a fiber producer. I tend to solve it by adding really luxurious fibers into my core recipe — a little angora, or some cashmere, maybe baby camel down — and sometimes man-made high-tech fibers that do really interesting things (like firestar nylon, which if done right can be both really startling and not too overpowering).

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“Old School” vs. “New School” handspinning

Original Post: http://community.livejournal.com/spinningfiber/862460.html

Are people spinning yarn today for the same reasons they were a few decades ago? Maybe, maybe not — maybe some of both. When a more traditional spinner encountered a newer art yarn spinner and expressed surprise, a little bit of a culture clash occured. Here’s what I said:

Welcome to the culture shock that happens when a longstanding spinner meets the new generation, many of whom are intensely focused on novelty yarns! It is pretty common among the spinners I’ve gotten to know in the past few years, who have been spinning for 5 years or less. There’s a real sea change afoot relating to this. And even many of the traditional novelties are no longer in vogue. Related to this is the art yarn movement — novelty yarn which is spun and never used in a product beyond yarn; the yarn itself is viewed as the end product.

To an old-school spinner, much of these seems terribly wild and crazy. Me, I was so stunned by my overall “not getting it” feeling that I spent a year or two working on both traditional novelties and new novelties. Pretty much across the board, I can’t find a use for novelty yarns; but, some of ’em were interesting and fun techniques to work through. The traditional boucle and its many variants are actually pretty addictive to produce, even if I have yet to actually use more than one of my products — and because I got hooked on boucles, I now consider coned binder yarns, synthetic flosses, metallic sparkly thread, to be legitimate supplies — something you wouldn’t have heard me say 5 years ago.

I think what’s drawing a lot of new spinners TO spinning, in the first place, is the appeal of being able to create novelty yarns that can’t be purchased, and that are wild and crazy. These are knitters and crocheters who have previously purchased novelty yarns. It’s a really interesting time in the spinning world, if you ask me. And there is not a ton of interaction between the new school and the old school. 😉

I subsequently received this comment:

I think a lot of it is just that spinning bulky novelty-ish yarns is just flat out more fun…especially if you’re low on patience (*cough*) I do find that a lot of them look nicer than store bought novelty yarns though, because they’re not made out of cheap scratchy crap and still look pleasantly handspun. A very good conventional handspun tends to look a lot like a very good storebought yarn, and as a poor young knitter, I’d be more inclined to go buy that sort of yarn than spend more time and money making it (or spending a LOT of money buying a handspun version.) I’d rather spin something that I can’t buy cheap, ya know?

See, this is interesting. This reply contains a selection of the sorts of statements that surprise, and sometimes even tend to upset or irritate the more “old-school” spinners of the world. Here’s how that breaks down:

1. “Spinning bulky novelty-ish yarns is just more fun.”

I think this might be true for new spinners, but it is definitely NOT true for the vast majority of people I know who’ve been spinning for decades. Most of the really longstanding spinners I know derive their challenges from spinning meticulously designed and planned yarns that are ideally suited to their purposes, from pushing the boundaries of what they already can accomplish with the techniques they know, from learning really new things — and the tricks of the trade for producing novelty yarns don’t tend to do that as much for a really longtime spinner as for a new spinner. The exception here, of course, is that there are spinners who really were largely forbidden from trying some of those novelty techniques, for whom they are exciting new things — for a while, at least. Whether that continues to be true is hard to say. I myself, despite spending almost 2 years of study on novelties, and being entirely capable of producing them, just never really found most of them to be much fun.

2. “…and still look pleasantly handspun.”

See, this starts to get the old-school going. Generally speaking, thick-and-thin, irregular spun, slubbed, irregularly-plied, imperfectly drafted yarn, looks to a veteran spinner like evidence of newbie work. I assure you that I can tell the difference between a thick-and-thin yarn produced by an expert spinner with thick-and-thin design elements carefully planned for, and a novice yarn. However, people who are not spinners and possibly even spinners who are not as experienced as I am, tend not to be able to tell that so well. Moving straight on from there into part 2 of the same peeve for a lot of old-school spinners:

3. A very good conventional handspun looks just like a millspun yarn, and it’s cheaper to buy the millspun.

And this is where the old-school spinner’s head is likely to explode. This is perhaps true… to the untrained, undiscerning eye. And this starts to get into the real meat of things for a lot of long-time spinners. The truth of the matter is that a millspun yarn looks almost like a real handspun yarn. In order for the Industrial Revolution to succeed, folks, two major things had to happen: first, machinery needed to be created to closely approximate work done by skilled labor; and second, the world at large had to be sold on accepting a lesser product, for a far lesser price.

I can’t stress that enough. The mill, the factory, the modern world as we know it, filled with mass-produced goods — it all depends on people being willing to accept a life filled with things that are not quite as good as the original variants, simply because they can be made more widely available when mass-produced. Two centuries ago, your clothes would have fit correctly — because either you would have made them to fit, or a family member would have, or a trained professional would have. Now, almost nobody even KNOWS what correctly-fitting clothes look like.

A guildmate of mine is fond of saying, “Columbus sailed to the New World on handspun, handwoven sails.” This is a fact, and one not often remembered or considered these days. Folks, textiles are so integral to our lives, so essential to our daily routines, that in many respects they are largely invisible to us, now that most of us no longer engage in daily work to produce them, or spend large parts of our lives acquiring the skills to work with them. Does a really good conventional handspun look just like a commercial, industrial, mass-produced product? Not any more than an elaborately crafted piece of handmade wooden furniture looks like something you picked up in a box at Target for $69.95. It’s far more accurate to say the mass-produced item comes close to looking like the original, handmade thing. Do we all believe that handmade furniture must have flaws, problems, and major imperfections in order to “look handmade,” or do we marvel at meticulous joinery and finish work? Why do Ferraris, custom motorcycles, and that sort of thing cost so much more than just buying a new Honda? Because they’re made by hand by people expert in that making, expert in ways it can take a lifetime to achieve.

More with the fiber arts than other arts and crafts still practiced, modern industrialized cultures tend to use this language to discuss them where we say “Oh with all those flaws, it looks handspun and handwoven!” To someone who HAS invested an entire lifetime in really doing things meticulously, this is an extreme frustration. It would be like a master furniture maker having his or her work shrugged off and disregarded because it doesn’t look like a 6th grader’s wood shop project, which clearly has a “handmade look” to it, right? Those globs of glue, flawed joins at corners, the nail poking out the side, and the uneven stain under uneven polyurethane — definitely handmade. By a novice. Who I’m sure enjoyed making that napkin holder, but that doesn’t mean it’s a master’s work. It could even be very nice novice work, and functional, and pretty or cute or really entertaining to use — but it’s not master work. Master work is the Real Deal that mass-production seeks to emulate in sufficient quantity, and at low enough cost, to make it available to large markets.

So, old-school spinners were steeped in the notion that the goal is to become a master spinner — someone who COULD have spun and woven sails to cross the vast uncharted seas, clothed an entire family forever, taught generations to do the same. In that mindset, novelties, in general, are just that — novelties: funny, amusing, light-hearted; there’s nothing WRONG with them, but they aren’t “serious yarn.” This is especially seen to be true when we’re talking about novelties that simulate the newbie look, which now there are even millspun yarns that do. To a hardcore old-school textile artist, it is utterly mystifying why anybody would *intentionally* produce thick-and-thin yarn, for example. But meanwhile, to many new-school spinners, who cannot (or cannot yet) produce truly excellent old-school yarns, and whose yarn use norms probably also differ from the old-school spinner’s, the question is why anybody would choose to spin something you could arguably just buy. And that particular question, too, is a sore point for many fiber artists, because it’s been being asked for SO long — why would you weave, spin, knit, crochet, sew, or anything like that, when you can just BUY stuff? For fiber artists, too, it gets asked with much greater frequency and often condescension than for other kinds of craftspeople and artists. Consider, for example, the kind of money that goes into build home workshops for people who enjoy woodworking — and how rarely those folks are ever asked, why would you make a jewelry box, chair, table, when you could just buy one?

This is what I’m trying to get at by calling it culture shock — for a lot of people who’ve been spinning for decades, things like the art yarn movement, or spinning thick-and-thin slubbed yarns from expensive, well-prepped raw materials, are shocking and incomprehensible — in much the same way as the art yarn devotee has a hard time coming up with a good reason to spin a meticulous 2-ply thread. Obviously, both schools of thought share more in common than they don’t, however: neither side has to ask the other “But why do you spin at all, when you could just buy yarn or better yet, finished items?” And both sides have things to learn from each other as well.

My purpose here is not to call one side of this debate better or worse than the other — they’re simply different, with different rationales and value sets and aesthetics, which can be shocking to each other. But there are things to be gained, great things, from open and honest debate. For the old school, there’s all kinds of new opportunity to rethink what you might be used to seeing and doing; and for the new school, there are vast, untold wealths of knowledge held by veteran spinners, which really can make you better at doing what YOU want to do, whatever that is.

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Articles That Irk Me Somehow

A selection of the kind of article I’m talking about, that definitely does heighten the profile of the fiber arts, but about which I have mixed feelings. I have seen links to these in some cases, but to collect a selection I just went to google news, put in “knitting,” and poof, all the same sort of articles crop up. I’ve been reading these articles for a few years now, in every local paper everywhere I go, in webzines, all over the place.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/19/fashion/thursdaystyles/19spinning.html

Unlike their colonial counterparts, whose clothing often depended on what was spun at home, many of today’s spinners are not concerned about turning their handiwork into fabric. Nor are they claiming to follow in the footsteps of Mohandas K. Gandhi, who spun every day to persuade Indian villagers to renounce imported textiles and resume making their own cloth.

Many spinners say they have no intention of making anything at all. They churn out skeins of wool, cotton or more exotic fibers like alpaca or camel, and pile up skeins, in their varied colors and textures, for display. Or they give them away to friends and relatives. It is the calming, rhythmic and even meditative effects of spinning that have won many people over.

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/01/16/Business/Wrapped_up_in_knit.shtml

Today’s bulky threads and bigger needles mean fewer stitches and less time. They also hide mistakes, which are obscured under embellishments.

“You don’t have to be really bright and know all the fancy stitches to make something beautiful anymore,” said Terry Schuster, a former JCrew and Urban Outfitters executive who took up knitting last year after moving to Tampa. “You just knit a pattern and the yarn does the work.”

http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cobb/stories/0112cobbizfea.html

“Knitting has definitely become the hip thing to do,” said Dana Lerner. “The yarns are so cool these days. You can make these gorgeous one-of-a-kind things. … It’s a timeless tradition that’s become new again.”

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-orspinners1206jan12,0,2161853.story?coll=orl-news-headlines-orange

“It was a very spiritual thing. All of that fiber went through my hands the whole time I was spinning and knitting,” O’Donnell, 46, said. “A part of me was in that shawl by the time I was done.”

Spinning, which dates back thousands of years, has been performed primarily by women, Colcord said.

Men, meanwhile, traditionally took on the more elevated roles of knitting and weaving.

On the way home from work last night, Chad and I were talking about this whole trend, and I commented that these articles seem to always interview these people who say the exact same things. “Well,” said Chad, “I mean, they make good copy, and all the people who’ve been involved with textiles forever aren’t going to say that kind of stuff.” I snorted. “Yeah, that’s a point — I mean can you imagine if they called up, oh, Alden Amos, and he said ‘Oh, it just makes me feel so connected to my ancestors to make spinning wheels — it’s so spiritually fulfilling!'” I don’t know Mr. Amos personally mind you, but from the things of his I’ve read, I don’t see that happening.

So, then I got to thinking — what would I say? What would YOU say? If I were going to write an article about this resurgence… well perhaps I should. But I’m also curious: how do y’all react to these articles and quotes?

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Denim-Look Mohair Silk Sweater!

From ages and ages ago, I had this yarn that I strongly felt should be a sweater, a sweater I even wanted, but which I had no desire at all to knit. A friend of mine kindly offered to knit it for me. We sat down together, talked it through, took measurements, and she designed and knit me a sweater. But, then she decided she didn’t really feel satisfied with how it came out, so she redid it! And now I have it.

Original post a bit about the yarn, which is a mohair and silk:

http://www.livejournal.com/community/spinningfiber/183539.html

Photo gallery: http://ucan.foad.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=denim-mosilk

My designated knitter, who’s been knitting longer than I’ve been alive, says she really enjoyed the yarn, and — as I hoped would be true — it didn’t shed, it was possible to frog the entire sweater, it was pleasant to work with, and it has bloomed in the garment finishing process and should bloom a little more still. All in all I’m pleased. 😉

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Why Spin Traditional Yarns?

In this day and age and in this western Europeanized culture, when spinning isn’t exactly something that is done out of necessity; when we have developed machines to do our spinning for us, is the effort to spin nice plain “traditional” yarns really just a sort of backwards timewasting (not taking into account the funness factor)? And the time and effort of handspinning would be better directed toward novelty/art type yarns of a sort that aren’t practical for various reasons to produce in an automated process?

Thanks to Geekling for the question.

This is the central question that I have struggled with for a great deal of my life, having grown up a weaver and spinner and in part, outside of the modern industrialized world. Many times in my life I have asked myself what, if anything, it means that I’ve achieved the skill levels that I have in the textile arts — and what value do these skills have in the modern world?

Certainly these skills are not valuable because without them, I would go unclothed (or clad in skins) — as would have been the case before industry and mass production. Unlike cooking — an archaic skill with modern interpretations and adaptations which most people roundly agree remains useful — textile production is no longer in any way essential to our daily lives. While most people will, at some point in their lives, have reason to be intensely grateful that they can cook, or negatively affected by inability to do so, most people in the modern world can cruise through their entire lives without ever having to produce a textile object of any type.

So what value is there? I think there are several factors at play, for me personally, narrowing the focus solely to spinning traditional-style yarns, which is a small subset of the textile techniques I personally consider extremely important. I’m also leaving out “fun” as your question says to do.

First, although it is possible to buy many kinds of yarn which are commercially produced (and cloth, and clothing) at a lower cost than the time invested to produce the same thing would be worth at even minimum wage, the truth is that the ability to produce your own goods exactly to your specifications allows you a much broader range of options than if you are forced to select from pre-fab goods. This could be compared to saying, in a world where you can buy chicken soup in a can, why would anyone bother making it from scratch? The answer is that the chicken soup from scratch is very likely just a superior product to that in a can, or made from a recipe that is unique and not found on the mass market. Clearly, for many people, that’s not a sufficient reason to bother with all the hassle involved in making homemade chicken soup, or baking your own bread, or whatever. But for others, there is something that makes it unquestionably worthwhile to have, say, great-grandma’s chicken soup just the way you want it.

The development of machines to make textiles is truly one of the most pivotal revolutions in history. Truly, it changed the world utterly, and unlike many other technological revolutions, did such a good job that it rendered itself all but invisible. But essential to the actual adoption of technological, mass-produced goods is the willingness of individuals to accept a lesser product than what can be custom-produced. We accept clothing that comes close to fitting, but that doesn’t fit us as well as something made expressly for each individual. We accept fabric that doesn’t wear as long, because it will be trivial to replace. We accept yarn that isn’t really as good or quite exactly what we want, because we can have it NOW, and we don’t have to learn to produce it.

Another factor is that there is value in the preservation of knowledge. All knowledge. Even apart from the fact that mastery of traditional techniques can allow for greater control and range of options in producing things that aren’t practical to mass-produce or make by mechanized means, there is historical value in making sure that things of the past are not lost from the world. As many people will agree that there is value in studying, say, hieroglyphics, or researching construction methods used in ancient Rome, so too there is value in researching, understanding, and preserving textile technologies. I would argue that it is all the more essential that these be learned by active practitioners, as there is far more to truly skilled textile production than can be simply written down, or than can be gleaned from examining old objects, old tools, and so forth. What’s more, because textiles are so commonplace in our lives that we don’t even think about them most of the time, I would contend that textile technologies are at far greater risk of becoming lore that is truly lost — a loss that impoverishes the entire world. Assuming, of course, that you believe as I do that there’s value in history.

I also personally believe that there’s value in really understanding things — that understanding the principles, premises, and so forth allow you to really maximize what you’re able to get out of technology, even. For example, I believe that if you drive a car, you’ll be a better driver for knowing how to drive stick, how gears work, when to use what kind of gear, and so forth — even if you drive an automatic transmission. And understanding how brakes work, what they do when they’re working well and what they do when they aren’t operating at peak efficiency, not only makes you safer and happier about driving, but lets you identify when it’s time to perform maintenance — even if you just pay someone else to do the maintenance. And you’re better off having a sense of whether or not a brake job is a big, hairy deal or a minor thing — you will be less vulnerable to being taken advantage of by an unethical repair person, for example. So too with producing textiles: knowing how to do it, what the materials are, and so forth, can make you a better judge of value when you do go to buy mass-produced items. Or handmade items, at that.

The final value factor for me is a little harder to nail down. That value is that it is worth developing skill to create even that which can be done by a machine. Machines are, at their root, devices contrived to do that which humans can do, thus liberating humans to do other things; or devices to simplify and aid in the objectives that humans wish to achieve. The relationship between humans and machines is a theme that runs throughout all of our daily lives, and has throughout history and across every culture of which I have any knowledge whatsoever. In thinking about that… I really like this quote:

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
~Elbert Hubbard, The Roycroft Dictionary and Book of Epigrams, 1923

There are countless stories, tales, fictions and realities of the struggle of man vs. machine. In producing more traditional handspun yarns, where similar goods are produced by machines, am I some sort of textile John Henry? Well, perhaps. But time and again we see that there is some intrinsic desire that humans have to do the work ourselves, for reasons which are perhaps primal and hard to quantify. I am called to by forces I can’t fully verbalize, that exhort me to engage in textile production and to preserve the lore of doing so. Others are called to by forces which say, “Make music, even though machines can do that,” or “Write stories, even though people watch TV more than they read these days.” It is a part of the human condition — and answering those calls has a real value, even though it is very hard to put into words.

Originally posted in livejournal.com “Spinning Fiber” community, 2005

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Hot Yarn Porn!

All yarn pr0n all the time! The past week or so of yarn.

Exciting yarn pr0n! Hot mohair action! Thrilling blends! Commercial alpaca!

Click any picture to go to the photo gallery (and you can leave comments and questions on the photos there if you like, too).


One ply kid mohair, one ply tussah silk, appx 2400 ypp


One ply merino/tencel, one ply merino/tussah silk, one ply space-dyed in the roving tussah silk


2-ply alpaca from commercial combed top

Next up: Deciding whether, and how, to dye the mohair/silk, and what purpose it’ll be put to. I’ve decided that 1.5 lbs or alpaca is going to be a cabled sweater, which means I won’t be getting to it anytime soon, and I’m going to deliberate about pattern, and doubtless come up with my own to a degree so that I can be one of the cool people who does that. The purple 3-ply tweedy giant skein is like 850 yards and, given an appropriate pattern, could be a close-fitting lacy sweater with a nice drape to it. With 3/4 sleeves and a wide neck, cropped. Haha.

I should be working on the shawl for my mother-in-law also, of course.

Next up spinning stuff: if there’s a Fiber Friday theme I’ll do something for that, I figure. I have this one bag of maybe a pound of blended interesting colour stuff I bought off ebay a while back, that I spun some of 2-ply and so now, of course, I have to come back and match that like a year later. I’m on a mission to spin my way through all the stuff that doesn’t readily fit in a neat location in my new stash organization scheme. Because if nothing else, the yarn’ll store in less space and it’s that much closer to being used for something, I guess.

I want to do some blending… but, I’m waiting for my new motorized Fricke drum carder, which I hope will get here in time for the weekend. It would be sweet to be playing with it this weekend. And now that I have solved my drum carder quandary, I have to also choose, then score, a floor loom. Then maybe I could chill out for a bit and just be productive.

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Projects, Projects…

A handful of recent projects. Lace knitting, even…

I started this in September as a “should take a while” project when we flew to Connecticut for my father’s memorial service, and finished it last week on vacation in Ohio:

http://ucan.foad.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=200402-shawl-01


It’s elann.com “Baby Cashmere,” which is a cashmere/merino/alpaca blend. One large panel with the leafy thing, two small end panels that are zig-zags, knitted; then each panel edged and straightened out some with single crochet then simple filet crochet border, then sewed together, then a simple crochet edging all around.

The major point of this project was prototyping for the shawl I figured on having made for my mother-in-law for this past Christmas, from this yarn that I spun last summer:

Impossible to photograph the yarn, and it turns out, even harder to photograph in progress

once it’s finished and blocked I’m sure it’ll look better. I’ll have to take pictures in daylight probably.

Included in the album are 2 photos of the swatch for it — it’s the leafy pattern, with central diamonds, and leaves have sorta diamondy vines around the center diamonds, which are going to occur throughout, and… well, okay, it’s just not gonna look right until it’s done and blocked and stuff.

Aaaaand a small amount of spinning:

I had 2 pounds of this commercial alpaca top in my stash when I sorted it the other week, and resolved to spin it all up reasonably fine, to get the hang of the new accelerating head for the Suzie that Chad gave me for my birthday. Turns out, inidentally, that I can cram about 8 ounces of this on a standard Majacraft bobbin:


That one’s not quite full yet. Once I get a pound — about 8 oz on each of 2 bobbins — then I’ll get back to the plying. I got about 6 oz onto the Woolee Winder bobbin, so I figure I’ll get another skein around that size off, then cram those 2 bobbins the rest of the way full again, using up the remainder of the yarn, and then ply for 17,000 years and be done with it. Then I’ll try to figure out what to do with the yarn.

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Oil Slick Yarn, or When Spindles Save The Day

I had packed 500 yards and over 5 oz on the Woolee Winder and…

http://ucan.foad.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=oil-slick

I just could not get the last little bit on there. So I wound all 3 plies into a pull-from-either-end butterfly type thing (hey, it works!) and then took the *other* end of the 3, and plied it with a drop spindle, and…

And then I had to feed it all back through the orifice, and 2 circles on the woolee winder, without tangling it, so that I could skein it off the wheel, and get…

Drop spindle saves the day! It’s a merino/tussah 50/50 blend that I had lying around, which is dark charcoal grey, with varied colour silks space-spun in different colours intentionally ummmm… and then with another ply that’s similar except less silk and it has some firestar, and a 3rd ply that is opalescent mylar or something like that, and the spacing of the colour repeats and the sequence of how they’re done, I’m expecting is going to work out so that the resulting shawl, which is for ME to keep in the office and use when it’s cold and I wore a t-shirt, is going to look like an oil slick on asphalt.

Anyway, this skein, which is a little less than half, is 530 yards / 5.5 oz. And the other skein is going to be larger so I’ll have to repeat the ply-the-last-bit-with-dropspindle trick… oof.

Dang shawl better come out how I want.

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Boucle Gallery

A few highlights from my photo gallery for the study I did in 2004 of handspun boucle yarns, found here: http://ucan.foad.org/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=boucles


The first, a blend of New Zealand Brush Tail Possum (whatever that is, it’s neat stuff though) and coopworth, with rayon binder. I tried to do this all 3 strands at once and it’s not a stable yarn. Therefore I’m stuck coming up with a project for it and working with its flaws.


“Tropical Rainbow Skeinbert”
Emma will be shaking her head over the flaws in this one, which is a true boucle and tolerably stable, but is the first I would deem so.


“Cadbury Foil”
A more stable boucle from a coopworth single from that same ebay source, ebay user jjfarm, that all these coopworth blends came from. 394 yards, 9.875 ounces.


“Dandelion Fields”
I dyed this yearling mohair bright freakin’ green. This time, I tried pills23’s sequence with twist direction, and got a too-twisty result which does have perfect little mohair loops in it. I think a washing and beating up will help this skein a lot. 133 yards, 3.375 ounces.


“Cranberry Garland”
Z tussah silk single, Z nylon core, Z plied together, then S plied again with the binder, this one is absolutely the best of the lot. I’m going to repeat this with other colours and other binders, with more tussah silk. 306 yards, 2.5 ounces

I have at least 3 more already-spun yarns to turn into boucles here, haha. A few more good evenings and I’ll be done, and totally sick of plying.

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Tropical Rainbow Skeinbert: Boucle

First you take this:


(coopworth/alpaca blend from Jehovah Jireh Farm)

and then you make it into this handspun single-ply yarn:

Which then in turn gets plied with this iridescent commercial flossy stuff for a binder:

And then it looks like this:

Then, ply it one more time with the binder, in the opposite direction from the last ply, the same direction in which the original single was spun, and when you skein it you get:


…what my better half named TROPICAL RAINBOW SKEINBERT!