Monday, May 27, 2013

Two Distinct Batches

A quick post today to show that I did, in fact, finish plying all of my sweater yarn.  In fact, I finished over two weeks ago but just now got around to taking some pictures.


I'm really happy with this second batch of yarn.  I call it my second batch because I spun and plied the first 24oz. almost a year ago and then did the remaining 12oz. this past month.  I hadn't really done any spinning in the intervening time, but I did spend some time reading books, scrolling through forums, and watching countless videos and my approach to spinning the final 12oz. was a bit different than the first batch.  I did want my new yarn to resemble the first batch as much as possible, but I think my singles were a little thinner (and definitely more even) and I took a more conscientious approach to my plying this time around.  I think that's the biggest change I made.  With the first 24oz., I put 2oz. of singles on each bobbin and then plied two bobbins together into a 4oz. skein.  This time I began the same way - with 2oz. on each of six bobbins - but when I got to plying I made sure to continually switch bobbins throughout each skein to make as even a yarn as possible.  All six bobbins of singles contributed to each skein of plied yarn which means that overall, the yarn is much more consistent.  I was also more deliberate in the amount of plying twist I was putting in to prevent having some spot overspun and some underspun.  All these changes reflect, I think, a more knowledgeable understanding of the qualities of fiber and yarn and how to manipulate these to get exactly the yarn that I want.  This is a shift from my previous approach to spinning, which was to essentially throw the fiber at the wheel and hope for the best.  I hope to continue spinning with a deliberate and thought out approach that will result not only in a yarn that I like, but in a yarn that I planned for and intentionally produced.  A much better approach, I think.


On the left is a skein from the new batch of yarn.  It's not as fuzzy looking, but it does look much more even and consistent, doesn't it?  The skein on the right has thick spots and thin spots and spots that don't have enough twist.  They're both useable, but now I have to come up with a plan that will allow me to use both yarns throughout a sweater without any jarring discrepancies that would come from changing skeins in the middle of the body.  I was thinking I could use the new yarn just for the ribbing on the body and sleeves and then again for the collar, but if I ran out of the first batch in the middle of the yoke or halfway through an arm, I'd be SOL.  What if I did set-in sleeves and used the first batch for the body and the second batch for the sleeves?  Would that look weird?  I don't think alternating skeins would be a good way to go because I would be afraid of having some strange corrugated effect happen.  I'll have to think more about this.  Any ideas?



I also have another experiment coming up with this yarn.  I took the last of my singles and plied up a small skein of 3-ply yarn and will do some comparative swatching to see which I like better.  I figure it's a good thing to know and interestingly enough, the 3-ply isn't any bulkier than the 2-ply.  I'll let you know how it goes!


On an unrelated note, alpaca shearing in five days!  I'll be at the big farm (did I mention that I don't just volunteer at the small, 4-alpaca farm?  The big one has 77) and am so excited for shearing day!  I predict I won't take any pictures, but I'll be sure to tell you guys all about it.

15 comments:

  1. You could switch skeins every couple rows like you're supposed to do with hand-dyed yarns to avoid obvious color differences. Or lightly full the sweater when you finish it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Kitten - was just getting ready to post the very same thing. Alternate skeins every knit row (divide out the skeins so that you're constantly alternating between yarn from each of the two batches.

    I think you did a brilliant job spinning it all - and when it's all knit up, it will be very cohesive!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know anything about spinning but would love to learn some day. I can't tell any difference from the photos. All of the yarn looks fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1. Sooo pretty!
    2. Is a corrugated effect a bad thing?
    3. I'm thinking using contrasting directions or textures might work...
    4. If you worked ribbed sleeves in one yarn and stockinette for the body... don't you have the Patons Jet Men's pattern book? There's a couple ideas in there.
    5. Or there's the gansey look... or even Cobblestone... where a bit of contrast right in the middle of the torso is the order of the day

    I can't wait to see what you come up with, because I know it will be brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah, try swatching with both yarns and see how different they look. Maybe take 2 old skeins and 1 new one and alternate every row. It might blend well.
    I have heard that if you think you'll have to stop partway through your spinning project for a while, you should make all your singles first and then ply. That way you can mix older and newer singles into one skein and things will come out looking more even. Doesn't really help you now though, does it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Peter, you have done an amazing job with spinning. Yes, I have to agree, the yarn on the left is more distinctive, but they are both beautiful. I have a work colleague who raises both types of Alpacas and she had a shearing a few weeks ago. I told her about you and I may be in touch again about some spinning, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with Katie's advice, if you try this again. I never ply until I'm done with a project, and that really helps avoid any big differences.

    And WHAT a difference between the two yarns! I don't say that in a bad way. I'm really impressed with all the work you put into the second half of your project, that's all. I think you'd be okay alternating. Your only other option is to have fuzzy sleeves, unless you end up having enough to do the ribbing idea instead.

    It's a conundrum, but your finished yarn is gorgeous and so will your sweater be as well.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Gorgeous! I would also alternate every other row. Make a swatch, see how it looks. Or something like the Cobblestone sweater, where a large section of the sweater is in a different stitch.

    It´s really lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It looks fantastic! But yes, the second batch does look a little more fantastic than the first. :-) Knitting really does equalize a lot of differences.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I spent much of yesterday helping at a shearing of 24 animals. I did the sweeping up and skirting of the fleeces. It was just fun to be around the people who love the animals and competently handle everything about their care. It was a busy day and a fun day.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Fantastic! I love this handspun - it's wonderful. I really don't think you'd wind up with a corrugated effect if you are alternating skeins every other row or every fourth row. You could also consider something like seed stitch (or more texture than stockinette) for the main pieces - that would help conceal any differences too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think the yarn looks just brilliant. I've never made such a massive amount of one yarn, so I don't think I could have made it as consistent as you have! I don't know how to avoid letting the differences show too much, but the previously mentioned alternating every couple rows sounds like a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
  13. That yarn looks AMAZING!! (although the new stuff looks amazing-er)

    I too think that the alternating thing will be adequate to conceal the differences between the two batches. But you should swatch first, of course. I can help throw together a design idea or two if you get stuck.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow! The consistency of your yarn is great. Love the colorway.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don't understand the spinning terminology though I get the gist in a broad way. But that is lovely yarn and whatever you end up doing with it is bound to be equally lovely.

    ReplyDelete