My First Hand-Spun Yarn and more!

So back in August this past year, I started on a new hobby that set my head spinning. You guessed it! It is spinning! No – not the cycling type of spinning but that type that makes yarn… image_medium2 (5)So here it is my first own hand-spun, hand-dyed little creation! Being that this was my first spinning project, I threw myself entirely into the process. I not only learned to draft my first singles yarn, I also took on the task of plying it! I decided for my first plied yarn that I would use the ‘chain’ ply method (aka Navajo ply). A chain ply yarn creates a very nice 3-ply finished yarn. This method ended up being very easy for me to learn and master because of my crochet background. Basically you create large chain loops with your singles yarn, one-after-another, letting the singles ply back onto itself. I surprised myself on how well-balance my first project ended up. image_medium2 (3)Now that I had a lovely bare white yarn to knit with, I really wanted to try to see if I could dye my first skein to add some color. After some extensive internet research, I choose to use more natural method of using food coloring and natural acid source so the yarn can accept the dye like vinegar. Here are some excellent online articles that helped me: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Dye-Yarn-with-Food-Coloring/?ALLSTEPS http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter07/FEATfoodcolordye.html image_medium2 (1)This little skein was created with love and intention. The intention was to knit it into a project, but alas in the end this was not meant to be. First of all, even though my first project seemed okay, it was very rough on the skin. This was mostly due to the fact that I had too much twist in my yarn. The second problem was that even though 4 ounces of fiber sounds like a lot, but once spun, I only ended up getting only 22 yards. Unfortunately, in the knitting world, 22 yards isn’t very much at all. Despite this, I did attempt to knit up my first yarn into a cowl, while it looks pretty good, I was ultimately unhappy with the results. So I ‘frogged’ (unmade) my little cowl and decided I would keep my first hand-spun yarn as a memento instead. It is very interesting how much more knowledgeable I am today versus those first steps I took on my spinning journey on my spindle.I will say that I learned a lot in a short period of time. I took time to learn about the different types of fibers, how they are prepared. pre-drafting, spinning and drafting out the right amount of fiber to make consistent yarn, how to fix mistakes, understanding the difference between natural dying and chemical and most of all, I learned to enjoy the entire process. There is so much I learned that I cannot possibly blog about it all in the post. I can say that I have definitely grasped the concept of spinning. While I feel I have mastered the basics, I will continue to strive to improve as practice each day and seek to learn new techniques. Since my first project, I have spun other projects on my spindle. Here is my second attempt:

This one was also created using the chain-ply/3-ply technique. I ended up with 48 yards of usable yarn out of this project. This one was dyed using a commercial dye from Dylon called ‘Terracotta’. Seems like I am getting better right? For my third project I spun, this time I used a pre-dyed fiber It was a Wool of the Andes from KnitPicks called Salsa Heather. Instead of using a chain-ply, I opted to try 2-ply spinning instead. It got a little tangled at points, mostly due to my inexperience, but overall I am pleased with the results. I will definitely need to try to improve my 2-ply plying technique as I find that it worth the extra yardage I get out of my spun project. I got a whopping total 81 yards – wow!

BTW – The pictures I have doesn’t do it justice. It’s an awesome color! So that’s all I have to show for today. Next post I will explore all the knitting projects I have been working since August. Until the next post 🙂