I Know What You Did Last Sunday

I just submitted about 16 pages of papers, and I’ll submit another 20-30 next Friday. I’m feeling exhausted, but pretty pleased. But you don’t care about that. Heck, I don’t even care that much. So let’s talk about something you might care about: spinning!

Sundays are for Spinning, as it turns out. Or at least, if I succeed in getting a little more wheel time on the day after tomorrow, I think I can say it’s a Thing. This week I spun twice as much fiber for half as much yardage as the last time.

The victim: 4 ounces of hand dyed BFL from WoolGatherings. I got this roving at Sheep & Wool, when we shared space in the Cloverhill Yarn Shop booth. Just looking at their website makes me drool a little more… I cannot even explain how much I love just about every single color combination she comes up with. I am struggling with an intense need to own this.

I decided that this is what I wanted to spin, but here was my problem: From what I can tell, roving pretty much requires worsted spinning. I really want to spin at least semi-woolen, because my worsted is a little too thin for cheerfulness right now. So I improvised a weird thing.

I pulled the braid into little hunks, as short as I could manage. I then spread out the hunks as wide as I could and rolled them into little rolags. Poof! Rolags are woolen-spinning central.

The color runs were so short that nearly every hunk was two-tone like this. This made for some really fascinating color blending as I went on, as the singles changed in a marled fashion. I was able to blend them into each other more or less successfully.

You might be saying to yourself – the whole point of a combed top like what you started with is to carefully align all the fibers so they are the same length and all parallel! That was hard work for some expensive machine somewhere! What the heck is wrong with you, taking such a perfectly crafted top and turning it into rolags, that most disorganized of fiber preparations! At least, that’s what the voices of self-doubt kept telling me as I ripped up the prettiest roving in my collection, using a technique I’d never even heard of. My reasoning is that even though I was ostensibly “ruining” a very nice fiber preparation, the fact that it was already so neat and perfect meant that spinning the singles was that much easier. I don’t think I can attribute the impressive evenness of the singles to a dramatic increase in skill from the previous week – good preparation makes all the difference. Besides, making the rolags was so FUN.

Plump singles were not enough for me. I was determined that this time, I would have a bulky yarn. I finished the singles in a few hours, well after Jared was done reading this week’s selection on the history of Anglicanism in the Carribean. Then I put on an episode of Buffy and chain plied the whole mess. This was my first effort at chain plying, and it was… well. It will take a little more practice before I figure out how to hold the “tail” and the loop of the chain with even tension.

I was shocked when I wound it onto the niddy-noddy and discovered I had only made 77 yards. In 4 oz., that pretty much counts as a superbulky.

The effect of chainplying is more or less lost in the hank, but you can see the self-stripiness in the ball:

I couldn’t wait 24 hours before casting something on with this ball of glory. In addition to being poofy, it was much softer than the feel of the top would have led you to believe, and it was pretty soft before. It also has a gentle halo. I attribute it all to the worsted spinning… I might be addicted.

I cranked out the Mandelbrot hat in about two hours. After ruining my leftover yarn in the attempt, I decided to ax the pompom, though if I can find another yarn that coordinates – probably in the teal – I might try it. What’s a big-brimmed, slightly-slouchy hipster hat without an enormous fatty pompom? These are the existential realities we must ponder.

I have so much I need to be doing, but spinning feels like a celebration – even an indulgence, when it so speedily results in a delicious product like this. It felt appropriately sabbatarian. I think it needs to continue.

4 thoughts on “I Know What You Did Last Sunday

  1. I love the way you spun the yarn; I think it’s even prettier than the original braid. I agree that the way you did it was fine! If the braid prep made the rolags easier, then you made use of the product. Would you like “this” for your birthday? I think 4 of them spun in light worsted would make a stunning sweater……sound good for a weekend spinning retreat in May???? Anyone want to join us?


  2. *groan* uh, YES. Probably what I really want for my birthday is spending money for Sheep & Wool! Which I will probably spend most of at the cloverhill booth buying pretty rovings.


  3. Now that I’m taking this spinning class, I shall ask the teacher, Maggie, about what you did….I understand it better and find it quite fascinating. I have some braided roving in multicolors and wonder if I would prefer to make rolags out of them. Maggie said that spinning combed, smooth yarn is like going on the autobaun, while rolags are more like diving on country roads. I’ve been spinning much more consistently on my wheel with the rolags we are making in class……


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