Fibre crafts / Spinning

Spinning bits and bobs

Back in April, right in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown, I got a package to cheer me up a bit. I was a member of the Hedgehog Fibres Fibre Club for a while back then, and I received some lovely fibre blends. The April one was no exception.

HHF Fibre Club April 2020

The basis was soft, mostly pink merino with a little bit of viscose, and this was mixed with sari silk. The sari is a beautiful women’s garment from the Indian subcontinent, traditionally made of silk or cotton. In the fibre world, old saris are recycled into small bits and bobs of brightly coloured silk that can be blended with other fibres.

I was still spinning my advent calendar project back then, so I postponed spinning this blend until after that was done. Which was last August. It was finally time to pick up this interesting project!

So many colours and textures!

There were some splotches of bright colour in the merino/viscose part of the fibre as well, in the typical bright Hedgehog Fibres colours. I was quite fascinated by this fibre, as I had never spun with sari silk before. Would it be hard? Would the bits and bobs fall out of the singles? Would it blend well? And what would the end result look like?

Blending in progress

Step one, as usual, was getting out my blending board to make rolags. I find supported spinning from rolags more manageable than spinning directly from a long sliver of fibre. It’s also a great way to make sure that the fibre is fluffed up a bit, and doesn’t stick together as much. In this case, I had to make sure that the bits and bobs were properly included in the rolags, but it wasn’t as hard as I expected.

A suitcase full of rolags

Turned into rolags, the fibre looked much more evenly pink. But there were still many subtle splotches of colour in there. And who knows what would surface during the spinning?

The first spindle

I selected my Mingo & Asho Glasspins to spin this project on. They are gorgeous spindles, and they work quite well for me. I prefer spinning thin-ish, but I don’t want to produce sewing thread. Supported spindles that have a bit of weight at the bottom, that don’t have a large diameter, and that have a thin flicking area/shaft are my favourites. They spin fast and relatively long. The spindle in the picture above was my first Glasspin. Back then, Asho still did her pyrography on the entire shaft instead of only at the bottom on the whorl. I prefer that, it makes the spindle look like a witchy magic wand.

I don’t have enough Glasspins to spin all the 32 rolags, so I also used my other glass spindles. One from Stephen Willette, and several from Paula Bunt. All lovely spinners, and so beautiful to look at. I spun the final 8 rolags on The Spindle Shop Dyavols. It was fun to work with all the colours and the bits of sari silk. It kept the spinning interesting. Including the bits and bobs was not as hard as I expected.

Singles are done

It took me a while to spin it all. It was a busy time, with two big scares regarding Freya’s health, and moving house to boot. But last week, I finally spun the final singles and I was ready to start plying on my spinning wheel.

Plying from a Matthes spindle lazy kate

Having just moved house, all my spinning stuff was still somewhere in boxes. It took me a while to find my spindle lazy kate, my niddy noddy, and my ball winder. But I found them in the end. I decided to chain ply (as usual) to hopefully create a fingering weight yarn. Not too thick, not too thin.

Using my lazy kate

The lazy kate is quite useful, but I’m still looking for a way to add some tension and to guide the singles. I might add a nylon cord and an eyelet, or maybe lace the singles to prevent the backspin of the spindles. I haven’t tried a true 3-ply yet because right now it’s hard to manage the singles flow.

Wound and skeined

When I was done plying, I wound the yarn onto my niddy noddy. I already noticed that the yarn balance was very good this time. During my previous spin, I overplied a bit sometimes, resulting in a yarn that wanted to curl up back on itself slightly. This yarn was just hanging straight. I counted the number of rotations and estimated that the resulting yarn was around 1180 metres/256 grams before washing. A light fingering weight.

Relaxed yarn

I gave it a bath and let it dry. The yarn did bleed a bit, hopefully it’s stable now. But I’m super happy with the result! From a distance, the yarn looks mostly pink. But if you come closer, you can see that it’s actually all the colours of the rainbow.

So many colours and textures!

I’m already looking for a pattern that can showcase this yarn. I’m thinking that a large, cozy shawl would be perfect, one that is mostly stockinette or garter stitch. I don’t think adding a lot of lace or cables would work well. I could also look into knitting a simple top with this. If you have suggestions, please let me know!

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