Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things I learned from my scraps...

I was hoping to practice making coils with my scrap yarn, but it didn't work out so well...but I learned from it anyway!

The brown in the center is from an alpaca fleece I bought to process myself...never having processed a fleece. I took great pains to make sure that the cut ends went into the drum carder first, teased open properly and that I ended up with a nice full batt. The resultant yarn was rather hairy and prickly, because no matter what prep and spin methods were used, the staple length was very short and just not the softest fiber. So, I proceeded to process my scraps with the notion that this was just for fun and it didn't matter how it turned out, because it would not be my style anyway. So, I just threw the alpaca willy-nilly into the drum carder this time (ran it through twice) and then added the color on top for one pass only so as not to blend the colors. My batts turned out beautifully and I almost declared it a work of art and left it as is...especially since I'm not officially entering the contest, because I don't need to win back my own prizes.

Individually, I thought the batts were gorgeous and the brown (combined with COLOR, of course) was starting to grow on me. I still had doubts about how it was all going to look together.

First, I spun the pastel rainbow roving that was in the scrap pile because it did not match the rest of the rainbow I dyed (see previous post). A nice, thin and even ply to coil upon.

Next, I spun the the alpaca blend. I tore each batt into three strips and alternated them, so there is still a color repeat in this yarn. :) I started to draft and realized that my fibers were too disorganized to truly control the thick-thin quality of the ply...sometime I had to let gobs of fiber into the drafting triangle just to keep it from falling apart. I also had to concentrate on how the brown met the color, so that the color did not just get swallowed up and trapped in the middle where no one could see it. *sigh*

Finally, on to the plying where I hoped I might still figure out the secret to fantastic, fat coils! It was much more difficult to get into a rhythm. Lots of stops and starts. Must pay attention. No zoning out like regular plying! Despite not having the optimal ply for this job, I did manage a few successesful coils. More importantly, I learned that I must add extra twist to my plys, because as I was trying to figure out when to put my hands where I let a lot of the twist out and had a lot of breaks. For this yarn I just put them back together with an overhand knot and let the ends be part of the look.

I also played with making twists that hang down from the yarn. They are rather cute and easy to make.

The most important lesson I learned was to put my all into a project (no more drum carding short cuts) even if I don't think I'm going to like the results. In the end, I am surprised with how much I really do like this yarn and I am eager to make something with it.

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