Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More Naked Yarn

At first glance this spindle full of yarn looks much like the Oatmeal yarn -- natural, straight from the sheep stuff. But this 2-oz single has a higher destiny. Once plied with its companion spindle (after the companion spindle has been filled, of course), this yarn is going to be dyed. How or with what, I am not sure. I've never dyed anything before. But I've been greatly attracted to some instructions provided by Lion Brand Yarn on how to create and use natural dyes. I lean towards tumeric. It's one of my favorite spices, and I like the color it will produce.

Another exciting thing about this apparently boring yarn is that the spindle does indeed contain a full two ounces, more than I have ever before been able to cram onto a spindle. And there's room for more--perhaps three, or even four, ounces. The two bibles that have guided my first baby steps into spinning ("Spinning in the Old Way" by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and "Spindle Spinning: From Novice to Expert" by Connie Delaney) provide more than adequate information on what a full 'cop' (the yarn wound on the spindle) should look like. But they are are a bit sketchy on the details of how to attain this perfect cop -- one that does NOT slide merrily off the end of the shaft every other twirl. It's a difficult thing to communicate in a book, so much easier if one had the expert at hand to say: "see, just do this."

But after much experimenting--and dropping of yarn--I have found a way that works. I wind the yarn down the shaft about 1-2 inches from the top, then wind back up. *Next time down I wind 4-6 wraps further, then back up to the top again. Repeat from *. Eventually the yarn is as far down the shaft as possible. Now it's time to retreat. I wind down but stop a bit short of the bottom and create a little cliff edge (past which thou shalt not wind) and head back up to the top. Each time down I retreat a little further. I don't know why this works so well, but it does. The bottom of the cop stays nice and solid, and nothing slips or slides at all.


Lucia said...

I will keep this in mind next time I'm spindling. At the moment I'm getting acquainted with a new wheel, but spindles are so handy and portable.

I've worked a bit with chemical dyes. It's a fascinating process.

beverlyanne said...

I am jealous of your ability to spin. I want to learn but am hesitant to start a new project. I'll get to it eventually though.

Have you seen the Knit Picks dyes. They look good to my eyes which are however unused to seeing dyes.

I am glad the scarf book looks good to you too. My AMazon list is probably as long as yours.

beverlyanne said...

Thank you for your helpful comment on stitch nomenclature. I answered you in a note appended to my last blog post.