Spun a Sockyarn in One Weekend!

Finish Photo! Ran out of yarn right on the 7 o’clock finish line:

Here are my finished skeins: the sockyarn, my meager turtle silk and some random stuff I found lingering on my bobbin.

This was this morning, around half past five:

Yawn…. Let’s do this!

At half past six I was well on my way. I had tea, I was spinning in my pjama’s and was watching Along The Lanes knitter’s podcast. My life choices were still audibly questioned:

On 5 minutes to 7 my first strand ran out. The rest will be 2ply.

I marked the transition with a bit of pink thread. When knitting I’ll change needle size here. Or start a lace pattern or something. Now I had 5 minutes left until the deadline and I started peddling like mad. 2ply does take more twist than a 3 ply.

Earlier on I had marked another transition, it was when I ran out of Wensleydale and used a second strand of Hollands Sheep instead in the 3 ply:

There was Holland Sheep on the Wensleydale bobbin because on Sunday I had tried to transfer the Hollands Sheep entirely to another bobbin because I needed its original bobbin for the plying. I only have three bobbins that fit this wheel, you see.

So the vintage Louet S70 was brought downstairs and I started transferring the Hollands Sheep to it. But I hadn’t put in enough twist I guess because it kept breaking. It made for a very frustrating hour on Sunday Afternoon! Until I decided to transfer the Wensleydale instead. I just continued on the same bobbin and left the Holland Sheep as is:

The lack of twist in the Holland Sheep came back to bite me again in the end because after 7 o’clock I thought I’d chain-ply the rest of the single and use up all the singles I’d made. It wouldn’t play. Breakage. Frustration:

So at 7:02 I called it quits.

End result:

Here’s a picture of Sunday when I plied what little silk I had spun:

I put it right on top of one of my sock yarn singles since they are spun in the other direction than the silk singles. Before plying I took off the silk and counted its metres.

And I also plied some green single that was lingering on my bobbin into chainply.

Overall I made 275 m of sockyarn and have spun 1128 competition metres in total. A little more actually because I have not counted the few metres left of Hollands Sheep. But who cares. Pimmie, the organizing spinner, has spun over 6000 metres and made over 2000 metres of yarn this weekend! And she has 3 children! Including twins!

She used the long draw technique which yields a lot of metres fast. It’s the ultimate woolen spinning technique and my favourite, together with the ultimate worsted which requires smooth, well prepared fibres suchs as Mulberry silk. Long Draw also requires well prepared fibres: hand carded rolags. Pimmie spend a lot of time making those, prior to the competition:

Ohoooo, when I see this I want to card rolags by the box full too!

Longdraw is such a fun way of spinning. It gives bouncy, light, warm yarn. My Sprig pullover is spun longdraw (even though I used batts instead of rolags, shh, don’t tell). It was Longdraw on a vintage Louet wheel even!

I’m sure I’ll spin Longdraw again soon. In the mean time I’m looking forward to knit some socks with this:


tour de Fleece day 18 and 19: plying

Hill Top Cloud Gradient Pack. I used 120 grams and got 330 meters. It still smells of sheep.

Plied the purple silk. The colour is somewhere in between:

The feel and the shine of this yarn is amazing!

Waking up the turtles.

Yesterday I woke up the handspun turtles and made them into a plying “ball”. That’s when you prewind the two (or three) threads you want to ply unto a nostepinne.
It makes plying much easier then trying to ply directly from loose turtles that will bounce around and divert your attention, as I once discovered:

Plying from the plying ball went easy:

Poor woman’s nostepinne: carton roll from kitchen towels.

Yes, I’m wearing my bright red Deer Bleuet Dress. And my handspun green legwarmers.

During the winding onto the nostepinne one turtle would run out of yarn sooner than the other. But it’s easy to attach the new yarn to the ply:

Now I have 177,5 m of lovely purple lace. In 100% silk. The mulberry kind, my favourite.

Later today we’re travelling back to the city. I’m bringing wool!

Blue Art Deco Cardi is coming. Wollmeise is coming. Green spinning fluff is coming.
The little turkish spindle is coming too, in it’s own darling tin. With some more Mulberry silk. Doesn’t this speak of early Spring?

Finished yarn!

This is how 1355 gram and 503 m of sturdy rug yarn looked like late last night:

It fitted just so on the big bobbin of the Ashford Country Spinner!
The capacity is limited by the space between the core and the flyer holding the hooks. You can see there’s a little bit room left but probably for 10 meters of yarn max.

I spend the last two days just plying. Pffff!
First I plied the singles together into a yarn and then I plied that yarn with the yarn I showed you earlier. It was a lot of treadling!

Here’s me, stepping happily onto the veranda early morning on Thursday:
“Yes, finished all the singles! That whole mountain of white fluff is now gone!”

Let’s start plying!

As I needed one of these bobbins to ply the new yarn onto one of these singels had to be relocated.

I dragged my other wheel onto the veranda, the Louet S70, and treadled the yarn from the CS2 bobbin onto a Louet bobbin. It was just threadling, I added no twist.
I chose the single that had spend the most time onto the bobbin and would have lost some of its active twist already. Otherwise pulling a single with lots of active twist from a bobbin will make it twist back on itself and curl and dance and annoy me, especially on early mornings.

(Especially on this Thursday morning. The sleep psychologist encouraged me to start an experiment where I get out of bed by 6 AM. To improve the quality sleep. It’s shown to work in 80% of cases. Thursday morning was the first morning of the experiment. So no. No twisty singles for me.)

I bypassed the orifice from the Country Spinner and also removed its belt from the bobbin. This way it spun freely and I wouldn’t have to work against the friction of the orifice nor the belt. I did put the brake on firm so the flight would be stationary, not getting its hooks into my single. (past experience, lots of morning moods)

As it’s a heavy bobbin it won’t release the yarn too fast either and thus I expected a smooth threadle experience.
I did have some trouble keeping the supply even though. Sometimes the bobbin would spin too fast and if I did not speed up my treadling instantly the single would wind back up onto the bobbin the wrong way making the yarn attached to the active wheel go ZONK! when it ran out of yarn (while I had just upped the speed considerably). Luckily it never broke.
But let’s just say it was not very zen like treadling that morning.

I got there, I got all the single onto the Louet bobbin. Even though I used the lesser filled bobbin of the Country Spinner the single filled the Louet bobbin to the brim:

That’s 500 m of Heideschaap singles on a Louet bobbin. These S70 bobbins have the same dimensions as the modern S10 bobbins, only they’re made from solid oak.
Looking back I’d say there’s about 335 grams of wool on this bobbin and it could have fitted a little more. Maybe another 25 grams? Again: bulk it up until the wings of the flyer graze the wool too much.

After a little lie down and a lunch which involved chocolate ganache and whipped cream I set up for plying the two singles into a yarn.
It was to become a 3 ply yarn, adding a commercial yarn -it’s in the box-, and wrapping it with a silk thread -on the floor before the box-:

That’s truly and thoroughly Tour de Fleece Plying

It took hours… as does a day in the Tour.
More ganache and whipped cream were called for.

Halfway through I needed to use the last of the commercial yarn which was still on the skein. I brought my umbrella thingy out onto the veranda and started to wind it into a ball until I got smart:

Plying directly from the umbrella swift. It’s the chocolate that brings on the smart, I’m sure.

On the table you see the first yarn I made. It’s waiting there patiently for it’s brother to be created. They will be plied together into a cabled yarn.

hours and hours.

Then I ran out of the silk thread. I knew I must have plied about a 1000 m in total now as that’s how much was on the silk cone.
I still had some singles left but without the silk it just wouldn’t match the yarn I already made. Especially when I dye it which I plan to. The silk adds lustre.
So the rest of the Heideschaap I made into a 3ply, not adding extra twist as I had done previous. This 3 ply gets no additional plying, it’s finished yarn.

Nice round yarn, made up of my two singles and some Bergå Møbelgarn which had the same weight and was a single too.

170 grams, 138 m, 3 ply, aran weight.

Finally I got there and filled me another big bobbin of yarn! It was late at night so I didn’t take a picture.
I fell into bed. Knowing I had to get up at 6 AM the next morning.

Friday. Final plying set up:

It was the hottest day of the year. I didn’t feel like watching the tour, I just sat on the veranda and threadled.

The cat melted during the day:

that evening I was nearly done:

nearly there….. treadle treadle

the last bit of plying really tangled up my patience:

But I got there!

And this is how 1355 grams and 500 m of spun Heideschaap looks this morning:

Texture of the cabled yarn:

Frileuse Mitts and Plying Skills

I started some mitts to go with the Frileuse Hat:

This pattern is Sand Dollar Mitts by Ulrike Fawns. It starts with a nice flowery star. Afterwards you knit across the palm of the hand sideways. Then a thumb:

For Tour de Fleece 2014 things are going well.
Yesterday and today I plied the singles of the Heideschaap. I plied them with a commercial lace yarn and a silk cobweb.
It involved some impressive hand coördination:

I did an experiment of spinning two singles onto the same bobbin and then plying them simultaneously.
There still was some discrepancy between the speed/circumference the two threads were released from the bobbin meaning I had to keep one under tension with my right hand while I plied four threads with my left.
I won’t repeat this experiment.

Here are the two halves onto the same bobbin. With a Louet S10 bobbin held close for scale:

Glad it’s done!
This yarn is about half of the white mountain of carded Heideschaap. It’s about 600 m of nice round aran yarn. I think I’ll ply it again, cabling it. But then I’ll wind it into a center pull ball first so I can ply from the outside and inside.

Any next singles will be spun onto the bobbin and wound into a center pull ball first before plying.

The yarn is really nice, with the three different fibres going on. It will dye splendid I think.

Hacking the CS2, Ashford Country Spinner

I love Pip, the Ashford Country Spinner!
I added some modifications to love it even more.

I changed the place and the pacing of the hooks on the flyer to allow for lacing the thread and thus reducing the pull of the wheel.

Standard placement of hooks for Ashford wheels:
pic by Ashford.co.nz

It makes no sense to me to have one set of hooks on one side of the flyer and the other set on the bottom side of the flyer, of the other side.
Mr. Louet once told me this is because people like to use only the hooks on the side they spin to. So for Z ply people favour their hooks on the right side of the flyer. For S ply on the left.

But it doesn’t matter from which side the bobbin is catered with the new thread….

And it could have something to do with balance. But my experience is that only comes into play when the flyer is spinning really fast and the CS2 is not capable of that.

Mr. Louet put the hooks all on one side of the traditional flyer for the S10:
pic by Louet.nl
And the hooks are positioned “skippy”, they do not mirror each other, left to right.
This allows for lacing.

Since the CS 2 is a sturdy spinning wheel the hooks are just screwed in holes. They can easily be screwed out. Which is what I did.

These are the holes I was left with on one side of the flyer; this is where Ashford recommends you place the hooks and the previous owner dutifully put them there:

I went and drilled some holes on the other side of the flyer, pacing them between the holes you see here. I then screwed in the hooks.

It makes sense to have the hooks on the same side of the flyer, facing up. Just like the LouetS10 had/had.
That way you can lace the leader (and the thread) and thusly reduce the pull of the wheel. Especially convenient when your wheel is bobbin-lead (old Louets, Irish tension wheels and th Ashford Country Spinner)


Yes, Ashford Country Spinner is bobbin lead too. It pulls like a horse! This is good for thick yarns that don’t need much twist. You want them to wind onto the bobbin quickly.

Adding the possibility to lace your leader/thread adds the opportunity to spin thinner yarns. Just like you can with a Louet S10. You can spin anything on a Louet S10! Just lace the thread and you can do frog hair.

For proper lacing it’s important to have a extra hooks near the orifice. That way you can fill up the bobbin and still lace a bit, near the orifice.

I also placed two hooks at the very ends so I can lead the yarn away from the disc of the bobbin. Also the rythm of the hook positions shows. “Skippy” what?:

I tried it out and spin some DK weight yarn. Very little pull! I could play with it by allowing more or less lacing. (I did not need to use the brake.)

Another hack I tried out: plying from the same bobbin. I only have two bobbins and I love to spin 2 ply yarns. How to do that?
Buying another bobbin is really expensive… and with the capacity these babies have I don’t really need it for the yardage. Time to put their characteristics to good use!

First I spun both halves of my roving onto the same bobbin. I kept them a bit apart from each other and made sure I could reach both ends when I was done:

I placed the bobbin onto the lazy kate and plied from it:

In future I’ll have to keep in mind to let the singles wind on roughly the same way (like I did now). So that when they release each single it comes in the same speed.
If one single is on top of previous wound yarn, for example, it will yield more meters per turning of the bobbin than its partner that was wound straight onto the wooden core. Circumferences need to be roughly the same.

Good result. 22 meters of worsted/DK weight, spun without having to fight the wheel and plied from one (HUGE) bobbin onto the second (HUGE) bobbin:

the spinning orifice of the CS2 is directed towards the left, you’ll probably always want to lead the yarn towards the bobbin from the left. I wish I had taken this into account when positioning the hooks.

Now that I use the wheel a lot I find I never lace the leader from the orifice towards the right like I did on this picture. I always go left.

spinning colours under the tree

I should show you the little braiding studies I did this weekend. It was fun.

But instead of taking the few little pictures I need to illustrate it…. I’ve been spinning all my free time, sitting outside under the beech in the beautiful weather we are having.

I’m spinning a dent in that fibre exchange I told you about, where we exchanged bits of 20 grams.

Just tonight I started some nice purple rolls, they are rolled so loosely I can draft backwards and let the twist even out, just as with rolags and Long Draw:

(it’s on top of the Hampshire Down, which I’m also spinning. This is a big nono amongst spinners because now I’m forced to finish the purple rolls first before I can continue with the Hampshire Down. What is I run out of purple steam? What if I’m attacked by a Hampshire craving? Well, there are always empty bobbins to be filled. The Hampshire Down is a 2 ply so it needs a partner bobbin filled anyway before it can be used.)

There were orange irregular singles which I pleid with a very thin thread of silk hanky I drafted quickly. I quite like drafting hankies!
I see possibilities for the stack of gorgeous red purple hankies in the top picture!

With this orange yarn, I’d like to see up close if there’s something I can learn about the appropriate intensity of colour and thickness of a thread when you want to ply it with a single. I have a feeling this silk is too bright for the single. Tomorrow will tell.

And I finished plying the turtles of that lovely Mountain Queen spindle spun. I found another lonesome turtle this morning so had to ply that one too, with itself. A pleasure when it’s wind up precisely.

It has to rest now. Tomorrow I can skein it and then I know how much meters I spun.

Turtles having the last laugh

I put the skein of gold spindlespun silk through the spinning wheel, to add a bit more twist. Here you see at the top the original yarn and at the bottom the one with added twist. My fingers keep the twist from travelling into the top part.

I hope you can see it, it’s not easy making the iPad focus when you hold it with one hand and hold thread with the other. (I used my nose to tell it where to focus.)(I had a hard time convincing it that the radiator isn’t nearly as interesting as string)

But it worked. The extra twist now makes this yarn more like stringed pearls. Just the way I like it. It will wear well, pill less and withstand extreme blocking.
Great for a lace shawl!

However, putting in the extra twist didn’t go without trouble…

The skein was on my skeinwinder, on top of my Louet, and it got caught in the hooks of the flyer and then it went “Wieeeeew!” wrssswfrrrtblb!

Of course I couldn’t let go of the yarn (on the left, outside of frame) to stop it quickly. Then I had to keep hold of the twist while untangling all this. Which took quite a bit. (and this wasn’t the first time either but I didn’t take a picture the first time because, you know, these things happen)

Then 5 minutes later…. it happened again:

Those blasted turtles fighting me for the very last meter!
They sure got the last laugh.

How come I never see these kind of things on other blogs?

Well, since sealife mocks my spinning, I might as well end this post with a seal that hiccups.

Please know that when I laugh too much I get hiccups.
This seal makes me laugh.
Too much.

Weird Wool Wednesday: two turtles misbehaving

Indeed when you pull out the wooden bits from the little ball you just spun on your turkle spindle, it is called a turtle. Or a cob.

Two turtles plied together will get you yarn.
For this, just stick them in a tin and start plying.

This is the way you rig up a Louet if it pulls too much:

Some Louets are bobbin driven and this causes pull. Sometimes more than you need. By “lacing” the leader through the hooks you reduce the pull. Now you can spin lace on a Louet. (just lace it a bit more than I did)
Or ply silk that otherwise would cut into my fingers while I treadle just a little longer to get it more twist.

Let’s go turtles!


Those darn turtles!
They bounce out of the tin, dance around each other or release bundles of yarn all curled up.

I’m on a steep learning curve here: like any freshly woven single turtles like to rest for a bit before you ply them. Otherwise the twist is still so active on the thread that they all bundle up.
Also: I obviously didn’t spin consistently. There are pieces with more and less twist. Considerable amounts.

Stupid turtle humour

It took me hours to untangle this.
That silk is sticky!

Fellow spinners taught me about a plying ball, where you first roll up the thread of the two turtles into one ball, without twisting them intentionally.
Then you ply from that ball.

Ahh, it’s a steep learning curve.