Friday, May 2, 2008

Ebony and Rose Garden

I got the rest of Ebony's roving spun, plied, and washed. Ebony is (or maybe was, this wool is several years old, and I'm not personally acquainted with the sheep) a BFL/BL/Romney/Coopworth cross with lovely gray/brown wool (when finished, it's more toward the gray scale than the Chocolate Romney). I really love the subtle color changes, from dark to light, in this batch. I ended up with 15 ozs of 2 ply yarn, and a little over 1,000 yds. I finally remembered to take a picture to show the scale of the yarn (I can't check the WPI until the yarn is wound into balls, and I don't do it before washing the yarn because the bloom changes the wpi count)- it always looks worsted weight in the pics, but the pencil shows the true size (between fingering and sport). I am very pleased with this yarn, and it'll eventually end up as part of the handspun sweater that I am planning. I may spin another 8 ozs of the chocolate romney to have more brown, but I am mostly done with the yarn for this sweater. Now I can start planning the design.

I dug through the stash and found a braid of merino that was dyed by my friend Dana. She didn't name it (it's a one-of-a-kind piece) but I think I'll call it Rose Garden. I am spinning this very fine (for me) and I haven't decided how to ply it yet. I'd like to keep the color separation, but I dislike Navajo plying (I'm not very good at it, and my brain rebels at needing 1/3 more single for the same amount of yarn). I may just spin and ply singles and let the colors come out as they want. Or I might get some white merino and ply Rose Garden with that (it'll be a more pastel yarn, but very pretty). I do have some undyed silk on hand, and I could ply it with that, but the yarn could end up more bouncy than I like. I'd sort of like to knit a lace scarf (or small shawl), so I need drape. I have 5 ozs of Rose Garden, so there is plenty for whatever project I decide (no matter how I ply the yarn).

Kate asked for a shot of my spinning wheel. It's an Ashford Joy and I am quite happy with it. I can spin anything I want on it (from lumpy bumpy singles, to cotton) and I love the portability. It was my second wheel- the first was an Ashford Traddy that had to be shipped from New Zealand in the late '70's (for the grand total of $125, shipping included). I used that until a few years ago when I saw, and fell in love with, the Joy.


Cara said...

Ooh, that Rose Garden is gorgeous! I hope you get the colors to do what you want. I've tried splitting the roving lengthwise, spinning each half, and plying them together. Once it actually worked! *lol* You're probably a much more consistent spinner than I am, though.

maxine said...

Is there a spinning reason that you can't keep it a single ply?

Kathleen Taylor said...

cara- I've tried the method you mentioned, and the yarn came out pretty well matched. But I started spinning without setting half of the roving strip aside, so it's too late unless I want to discount what I have done already (and I'm too lazy to do that.. ho ho).

Maxine- you can keep yarns unplied, and many spinners do it. But you have to block the yarn severely (wash and dry it stretched) so it stays straight and smooth, but the moment it gets wet (even heavy humidity will do it), the yarn will curl back on itself again. I like the look and balance of a 2-ply yarn. On the other hand, it would be good to stretch my comfort zone and try somethign different.

I'm sure that there will be pics, no matter what I decide to do.