October 22, 2010

seventy-fourth and seventy-fifth skeins

Here are the seventy-fourth and seventy-fifth skeins that I've spun.  They are both in Ashland Bay merino wool top in the colour magenta.

One is spun somewhat erratically.  I was talking to people while demonstrating the drop spindle and I don't spin my absolute best when I'm trying to convince strangers they too can do this.  I finished up spinning the yarn at home where my hands were chilly, and that made for erratic drafting too.

The second skein is spun with large slubs put in deliberately at regular intervals.

When you start learning how to spin yarn, you make slubs involuntarily.  For quite a long time afterward you try very hard not to make any at all.

Given my dedication to gauge and consistent spinning, the slubs above are a departure for me.  There is a story behind them.

The same day that I was demonstrating handspinning with the pink wool, I also spent some time with a bit of donated blue wool, showing people how I spin and getting them to try.  After spinning in the usual way and chatting with some on-lookers, I impulsively made a large slub to provoke a reaction.

When you do the unexpected, people think more.  They have to think in order to reconcile their understanding of the world with the strange new thing that contradicts what they know.  I can't remember whether this is Bloom's theory or Piaget's or whose, but I am happy to use it during handspinning demonstrations.

In the long strand above a drop spindle, the introduction of a large slub is very obvious, more so than it would be with a flyer spinning wheel where the yarn is taken up quickly.  I got a reaction right away.  "Oh, so that's how they make yarn like that," she said, and he said, "Can you fix it?"

You can fix a slub.  Put one hand on each side about 1 1/2 inches out from the ends of the slub.  Twirl the strand so the slubby section untwists, then tug gently to thin the fiber out.  Let go so the twist runs back into the section and give the yarn a titch more spin before you resume spinning.

Anyway, for the seventy-fifth skein, I made slubs on purpose.  I've been meaning for a long time to see whether I could spin consistent slubs and what the effect would be.

The yarn will pill with hard use, so I consider it a flash-in-the-pan yarn.  I plan to make these skeins into a hat for a friend who enjoys wearing outrageously cute and stylish clothes.

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