Hi guys! It feels like I haven’t been spinning a lot since I got back from vacation in June. My friend Alide has been my saving grace. Almost every Tuesday night, we’ve been spinning out at her cabin, and that’s kept me going. Just on those Tuesday nights, I’ve managed my next sock spin.
These are the two analogous colorways that Katrina made for the Radnor Breed and Color study. Perhaps the most interesting thing about these two colorways is that there is a greater variation in value within the blue colorway than within the red one. Katrina told us that she made this design choice because it’s harder to get different shades of red without making pink. I think she did a great job making a truly red/orange gradient that isn’t dominated by pink. But more on that another day; today I’m going to talk about the blue.
The first time I tried a sock spin like this, breaking a braid down to spin it two different ways for two socks, was with this very similar colorway back in April 2020.
This is a useful point of comparison for a couple of reasons. What jumps out at me first is the obvious difference in the wool! The Targhee has the smoothness and plumpness of a fine wool, and such poof! Just looking at the Radnor yarn, you can see it’s more hairy and toothy, and it did not poof nearly as much when I finished it.
In the end, I did a fairly similar spin to that original Targhee spin. I spun a 3-ply fractal (below), but, wanting a more stark contrast, I went all the way to a chain ply (above) for max solid striping.
With the chain ply above, you can see that it did not come out as consistent as the fractal. My sock spinning has become pretty darn consistent (if I do say so myself). But even the small variations in my spinning were emphasized by chain plying, and the Radnor was not as forgiving as another wool with more sproing.
Another byproduct of chain plying is that I’m not quite as consistent with the actual plying process when I’m chain plying. There’s always at least a little bit of wrestling with the singles. I didn’t think this plying process was very difficult, but apparently, I put a lot more twist into the chain ply. It stands out visually by the way the chain ply yarn still pigtails after finishing, and the numbers support it. The fractal has a 30 degree twist angle, and the chain ply has more like 50 degrees! All that extra twist also compressed the yarn, affecting grist and WPI. The chain ply has a WPI of 21-23, compared to the fractal at 19-21. Despite that, the chain ply has a grist of around 1500 ypp, while the fractal is over 2100 ypp! That’s a very significant difference.
As usual, the real test will be in the knitting. I will spin the red top next, then knit both pairs. I’m most interested in comparing how the greater value differences in the blue yarn create a different feel from the red yarn. I expect the bigger value range to make for starker stripes in the gradient and a spottier fractal.
It’s not the rate of spinning I became accustomed to at the beginning of the year, but as you know, cake and summer took over my life. August is all about transition over here, and it’ll be a few more weeks before we’re anywhere near established in our school-year routine. I’m hoping that routine includes at least a little bit of spinning every day. Because I can’t wait to see that red yarn next to this blue one!
Also, if you’re underwhelmed with my sentence structure, I will make the excuse that I’m writing this post with Dooner on my lap while she watches Super Why on my other monitor. Let’s just say, we’re both very excited that she’ll be starting preschool soon.