Friday, 11 January 2013

Some small achievement and the smell of wet wool

This morning I had an interesting conversation with a friend.  She weaves on occasion and I wanted to run a bit of a thought process by her, knowing she'd be honest and knowledgeable in her opinions.  I'm spinning this Perendale with the idea of weaving a shawl. I'd dithered over whether to spin and knit socks or spin and weave the shawl.  It's a bigger project to do the shawl and will require a fair bit of dedication and regimentation to get it done in close to 50 hours, since it needs about 1800 yards of yarn.   The socks would have been an easier project but if I had used the Perendale, I wouldn't have wanted to wear them as I prefer superwash socks.   I ended up chosing  the shawl because it's a much bigger challenge, using materials I have on hand and something I'd use, which sure wouldn't be handwash socks, even though I wear hand knit wool socks 10 months of the year.

I wanted to run by her my idea of putting on a commercial warp with a slightly longer length than needed so a) I could test pattern ideas without using the handspun and  b) then weave the shawl, cut it off, leaving the loom dressed and just tie on the handspun warp so that I don't have to spin the loom waste.   In essence, a useful dummy warp.

She thought I should have chosen the socks because the project would still fit in the time criteria I have and not have to push myself or make it a challenge.  She told me that she thought it was better to choose something that you liked a little less, which would be easier than chose something harder or obscure which requires a lot more work.   I thought it would be more enjoyable to chose the challenge and knitting socks I wouldn't wear would be harder to complete, because I wouldn't like doing it enough to keep at it without lots of breaks and distraction.  I thought it was an interesting and very big difference in opinions.  What do you think?

So, I've been spinning ... 13 hours in the past 4 days....   In that time,  I've flick carded a rather large amount of locks.  I flicked a few locks and then spun them up in order to keep control of the fibre because the kitten kept eyeing them a bit too enthusiastically for my liking.  I only had to distract him a couple of times though.      I did keep a yarn sample on hand so that I could keep checking the grist.  I know how easy it is for me to make them slightly bigger or thinner when I spin while distracted.   

Skeins temporarily skein for photo, as they're still wet!
I plied them together.    I got two full bobbins of plied yarns, plus a little bit extra.   There is just over 500 yards here.  That is almost half the warp that I need if I use the sample shawl as a dummy warp.  I should have enough Perendale left for that remaining 500 yards from what I have washed.  I'll have to spin something else for the weft or wash more.  However, I was thinking that since I need another 700 ish yards for the weft, that I might do that with a shorter fibre, using a long draw for  speed with it being softer as a bonus.  I'm figuring on 6-8 hours for dressing the loom, and another 6-10 to weave it off.  With time needed to wet finish and twist the fringes, it doesn't leave a lot of time to spin the weft.

The Perendale yarn is still drying.  I had just wet finished it and skeined it up only to take a photo.  It's flat and drying right now,  drying flat so that I can keep it away from the kitten!  Boy, do I love the smell of wet wool.


Leigh said...

Well, I have to agree about not using the Perendale for socks. I want my socks to wear well so unless it's Lincoln, I don't use handspun for socks. The superwash of course, is another matter, but just as important. In the end, I think the right project is the one that inspires you. Those skeins are lovely by the way.

Woolly Bits said...

I have to admit that I tend to go over the top my self, too. if I want something I'll throw out sense and go for night shifts etc. just to make this project. not necessarily good for sanity, but I nearly always make the deadline! the downside of course is that disturbances by "outsiders" or problems with the project can bring everything down, even though I thought I can finish it all in time! which does nothing for my state of mind or nerves:) but then, if there's never any challenge, there won't be much of a development either?

good luck - however you decide to procede (and the yarns look scrumptious!)