Friday, May 30, 2014

Finish it Up Friday- Sheep to Sweater, Yarn

Remember back almost a year ago, last June to be precise, Uncle Doc presented me with a Merino sheep's fleece to do SOME-thing with. Well, I had it cleaned and processed in Phillipsburg, Kansas at the Shepherds Mill. They did a great job. They washed it twice and carded it into three bags full of roving just READY to be spun. It makes me so happy there were three bags full because I can chyme Baa baa black white sheep have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!!! Ooooh that makes me so giddy.

Well it arrived back just before my first year of full fledged teaching began. I knew if I even opened those bags I would not have been able to resist the urge to spin them. 
Sooooo I waited. And waited. If it wasn't one thing it was another. So on this my first week of summer vacation I went absolutely crazy. Here you can see the three bags next to the beautiful spinning wheel I have borrowed from my friend Mary. Her father made it!
 It was so thoughtfully designed! There are four bobbins so I can fill two with a single ply spin, and then use the two empty bobbins to ply the yarn. There is a Lazy Kate for holding bobbins for plying and storage built right onto the wheel! Brilliant.

Here is my first hank of yarn on the Knitty Noddy. The knitty noddy is a tool for making the big loops of yarn that are needed for setting and dying yarn. The yarn is often then twisted into hanks to showcase the yarn and balled on a ball winder after purchase or selection. 
Well I've been spinning like crazy. I've taken the wheel to two knitting group sessions and pretty much parked myself in front of the TV when I'm not doing anything else. My goal was to get about 1,000 yards to make a sweater. I've got 1,095 yards. 

I'm going to call it a worsted/DK weight but like many early attempts at hand spun yarn it varies a bit. There were 1.4 pounds of roving for spinning in this bag and I used all of it to get this yardage. (I still have two more bags to play with! Hmmmmmm.)
This project has more or less evolved into a sheep to sweater project. I will leave the yarn its natural color so that the texture of the hand spinning really shows and so that it emphasizes the whole process of taking something in its natural state and transforming it.
Here is the yarn hanging in my bathroom. Once it has been spun you want to "set" it. Before being set the yarn might have the tendency to un-spin. Much like hair in a braid, when it has been gotten wet the hair will retain the shape of the braid better. 
I have water bottle weights hanging from the yarn to kind of pull it taught and get a bit of the springiness out of it as it dries. I'm hoping this might help with the thickness consistency if I should choose to knit a sweater with work. 
I was worried too much weight might pull the whole towel rack down so I have one bottle on the floor with the weight supported and the other one is hanging down with its weight.
What a finish!!! Wahoooo!

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