The Fourth Blendling: Chill Teal

The Blendlings are a series of small skeins of handspun I am making, in order to study color, learn combination drafting, and improve my spinning by studying and adjusting my practices in small amounts. For a fuller project description, click here.

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Colorwise, this was an expansion on Blending number two. I took all three teals and the blue, and made the two singles out of the three lighter and the three darker. A wide variation in value but almost none in hue.

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Lighter ply

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Darker ply

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You can at least see the value difference in this picture. Ugh flash.

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Spinning notes: After going too skinny in the last Blendling, I knew it was time to do something to make my singles thicker to get the worsted 2-ply I wanted. My first guess on how to do this is pretty much to manhandle the fibers out of the pre-drafted supply and give them the hairy eye every two inches. It wasn’t very comfortable or even, but plying covers a multitude of sins, and it did get things a little closer to the 9 WPI I’m going for.

I did the same ratio for plying that I’ve done since I started paying attention on Blendling 2, which is putting about 8 treadles in at 6:1 for every 12″ (by which I mean the eyeballed length of my forearm). Since the singles were thicker, this was actually a lot more ply twist, as seen by the higher twist angle (I was getting around 30-35 degrees and this one was 40 degrees). This also seemed like rather more ply twist than it seemed this yarn could handle, and off the niddy noddy it seemed hopelessly overplied.

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But you know, it all seemed to come out in the wash. I mean, literally, I washed the yarn and it worked out.

In all the googling around for spinning advice that I’ve been doing in the last couple weeks, I came up with a couple comments about balance that have helped me chill out about it a little bit.
1) A finished skein that twists in half on itself when you hang it is still “balanced”
2) You can expect a skein to come off the niddy noddy with 3-4 turns in it, and that energy relaxes when you finish the yarn. In fact, if a yarn seems balanced when it comes off the wheel, it’s going to be underplied when you wash it.
3) Even so, it’s ok to have an unbalanced yarn. It can be what you’re going for, or at least an acceptable side effect of getting the yarn you legitimately want.

I’ve always thought that a yarn had to hang perfectly straight after washing, or I’d done it wrong. I also thought that when you were plying, you should be able to stop plying, relax your yarn going to the oriface, and have it not twist on itself. <BUZZER SOUND> wrong! At least that explains why my handspun has been chronically underplied!

Speaking of information, I’m getting a lot of my information and inspiration right now from Rachel at the Wool N’ Spinning blog. Unfortunately for me, one of her main media is vlogs, which I can’t watch much of on our limited internet, though I’ve watched a few on strategic topics that have been massively helpful. I may reference them as I take you along on this learning journey.

I’ve installed Wool N’ Spinning on the left sidebar with a few of my favoritest links. Also, do you like the new “about me” page? I’ve only been doing this for eight years and never had a proper one.

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Color notes: Um, I love this. I just can’t stop looking at this yarn! No two dots of color next to each other are the same, but an overall impression is created. It really looks like beads.

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The Nerd Numbers:

ply #1: 1 light teal, 1 medium teal, 1 dark teal
ply #2: 1 medium teal, 1 dark teal, 1 blue
Spun worsted: combination of both hands moving “airlock” method (trying to pull just the right amount of fiber into the drafting zone, and just pulling back carefully with right hand with left hand supporting twist as it enters the fiber supply. Still quite controlled about twist amount though.
Spinning Ratio: 6:1
2 treadles : 2″ drafting zone
Plied from two bobbins
Plying Ratio: 6:1
8 treadles : 12″
S twist, Z plied

Yardage (before finishing): 25 yd
Weight: .6 oz
TPI: 5.5
WPI: 12 before finishing, 11 after finishing
Angle of twist (before finishing): 40 degrees

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