Thursday, January 3, 2008

What Have I Spun ??

I had a plan. With this lovely fiber (Olive Tones BFL from Lisa Souza) I was going to spin fingering-weight singles and then knit them into socks. No plying. Although I love spinning on a spindle – so free and easy, almost like a workout – I detest plying. I chose BFL, because it is reputed to be relatively easy to draft and because I thought that a long-staple fiber would make a stronger yarn.

So, I spun up a sample few yards and put it through the standard finishing process. Two things happened. First, the yarn was much too thin. That I could fix; my hands were simply accustomed to drafting for two-ply. But the sample also emerged as a solid medium-dark olive color. Apparently the darker color was bleeding out and overdying the lighter colors. Perhaps slightly cooler water and less time in it?

So on to sample number two, taking lots of pictures along the way. I pulled off a section of roving that had a good variety of the lighter colors, as well as dark.

I spun it up, skeined it and popped it into not-quite-so-hot water for not-quite-so-long.

Success. The colors are fine, and the yarn is almost thick enough. Time to spin for real. At this point I had slightly less than 4 ounces of fiber left, which I separated into two groups of about 54 grams each. This number becomes important later. I did weigh very carefully.

The spinning was not fun. Either I am a total loss as a spinner (possible) or BFL is a completely dreadful fiber (not likely) or this particular batch of BFL is flawed (also possible) or maybe it's just one of those compatibility things. I have a great relationship with Targhee. And Merino is delightfully easy. Camel/silk blend? No problem. But ohmigawd that BFL.

But it is spun, that first 54-gram set. And finished. And the colors survived. And although it doesn't look a bit like sock yarn, it's deliciously soft and squooshy. Voila!

And here's a closeup of the . . . ahem . . . slightly variable yarn width.

But the really odd thing is this. Remember I started with 54 grams? Well, when I wound this stuff on the niddy, I had 275 yards. A lot of yardage for 54 grams, I thought. So, after finishing and drying the yarn, I weighed it. Seventy grams. Yep. I began with 54 grams of fiber, disposed of a few knarly bits while spinning, and ended up with 70 grams of yarn. Huh? I don't know how the yarn can weigh more than the fiber it was made from. Air trapped inside? Maybe?

I don't know if this yarn I have spun is at all suited to making socks. But I am going to knit a swatch and see how it looks. And I have already begun to spin the second 54-gram batch. We shall see how this half turns out.

1 comment:

Lucia said...

The weight gain is a scientific mystery. Love your blog name! I'm embarrassed to say I had to look it up.

You sound almost as good (or bad) as I am at being seduced by whatever new project or technique happens by.