Tuesday, June 29, 2010


This is just a quick note to let you all know that I am working on something, and it is just taking its time!

I've tried a few things, thought about things for a very long time, worked on doing some computer repairs (not going smoothly) and once in a while I try to do some household chores around here -- because if I don't do it, no one else will!

Here is a quick peek at what I am working on now. This is one of those skeins you've seen hanging earlier.It is going to be a small shawl, and I think I put a little too much twist in the yarn for this project, but would have been perfect for socks. Maybe I should make socks instead! But as you know, I NEVER rip anything! So it's going to have to stay.

More later!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Once I got the skeins rinsed, and rolled up in a towel (several towels, actually) and then snapped a few times to straighten out the strands, I hung them up to dry. I do not believe in weighting the skeins, as some do, because there is no need to do so. I also like to keep some elasticity in my yarns, and don't want them stretched out like commercial yarns.

I have a wooden yarn blocker, so these skeins are all wound to the exact same size (I can't adjust the size at all) but I noticed while they were off the blocker before being washed that they were all different sizes. In truth, it is hard to tell, since most of them were so kinked up that they were shortened a lot.

After I threw them into the bath, and leave them awhile, I find they do relax a lot. Most of the kinks seem to disappear too. After the rinse, I insert my hands inside the skein and then snap them open. Not with a great force, but just enough to straighten out the strands because they do get tangled a bit while being handled in the water. I then hang them up, usually on wire or plastic hangers because that is what I have! And then just let them dry.

If you take a look at these, you will see they are pretty straight, there are nearly no kinks at all now, and there is no twisting! So all my fears about having tight over-twisted kinky skeins was all for nothing! They just hang there, nice and neat, very relaxed, just as they should. I like that. But do you see that they are not all the same length? I mean, one would expect them to be, since that is how they started out.

These are all wool, but from different breeds of sheep, so there is a different amount of crimp in each fibre. There probably is some degree of variance in the amount of twist as well, since I am not that consistent on the spindle! Still, I am a little surprised by how some are shorter than others. This will require some investigation.

However, here is the pic of all 18 (yes, eighteen) skeins hanging when mostly dry. I'll get some close-ups as soon as my beauties are ready!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Bathing Beauties

This is to warn you that you will encounter some scenes that were shot in the bathtub, and some readers may find the following discussion shocking! Proceed at your own risk.

From my last post, you would have seen some skeins of yarn that I have spun and plied on my truly remarkable CD spindle. The skeins were all wound on my wooden blocker, and are all the same size. They are just hanging there awaiting the next step in the processing.

I was enjoying the plying and didn't feel like doing the rest of the work. So I plied more. And more.

You may have noticed that they were a bit twisted, kinky, over-plied. Well, that is the way I like my yarns! Okay, not so kinked up, but I like the twist in the plied yarn, and that is how I did them.

I tried to spin the singles with a lot of twist, knowing that I would be plying with a lot of twist as well. In the past, while I got a pleasing single, when plied, I found them to be rather weak, and softly plied. But according to my spinning instructor, we were to aim for a "balanced yarn" which means that the twist in the single is balanced against the twist in the ply resulting in a truly relaxed stable complacent yarn. Well... okay.

So when I plied my yarns, they were too weak for my tastes. So I put a lot of extra twist in the plying process to give me the yarn I like ... resulting in an over-plied yarn. Not good.

The result was what you saw last time. Today, I show you those beauties in the bath!
I ran a couple inches of the hottest water I can get in my tub. I added some soap and a dash of salt. Then I threw the skeins in, one by one. I didn't count them... there were quite a few!

And then I walked away. I never touch them, I leave them alone, to do their soaking and whatever else they want to do when I am not looking! I watched a movie, chatted with my brother about computer problems, and then remembered my poor skeins!

Here you see them laying quietly, peacefully, comfortably in the now-cooled water.

I drained the water, and refilled with warm water and let them soak a bit more. They are soaking now... I will go check on them in a moment, and then squeeze out the water, and hang them up to dry.

Now, where will I be able to hang them so they don't drip all over my floor? A final look at the skeins in the next post.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Kinky Stuff

So for the last several weeks, I've been involved in some other activities and haven't been blogging here in that time. I've been meaning to -- while walking to and from work, I keep thinking I will write a short note about what I've been doing. And by the time I get home, it has already been done (in my mind) and forgotten. Just not posted!

As you may know, I don't like to be idle. So when I have a few moments, I will grab my spindle and spin away. I will do this outside my apartment building while waiting for my ride, or while reading emails, or watching a movie. My hands can work while I do other things! So in the past several weeks, I've spun up quite a lot of yarn. I hadn't realized until I looked at all the bobbins of singles waiting to be plied. And when they are all together, there is quite a lot!! So for the past week or more, I've been plying. Some evenings I can get two skeins done. After all, plying is not that hard to do.

I always spin my singles on a quill, and then put them away until I have more done up for plying. Sometimes I just like to spin, and leave the plying for when "I am in the mood" to do so. Here is a collection of some of my paper quills that I have recently cleared up. Okay, so now I have to fill them up again??

These are usually half a sheet of 8x11 paper (salvaged from the office), or most often even a quarter sheet. You will also see some paper from a flyer, since that is all I had when away from home. It all works!

So I like a good firm plied yarn. I have been finding that when I ply "balanced" as my teacher tells me to do, that it is much too loose for my liking. So I have purposely twisted my singles very tight... and then plied tightly to make a yarn to more my liking. But that wasn't enough either. I found that to get the yarn I like I would have to really over-ply, according to my teacher. But that is what I like!

So here are some skeins I've recently plied, and they look a bit -- um -- over-plied? They are really kinky, don't you think?
I like the look of the yarn itself, but in the skein, they really twist up, and make all those kinky curls. Will it be alright? Will my knitting be all biased and twisted as well? Is this just a reflection of what I am like?

Stay tuned for the next episode in the "Kinky Files".