Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

FO: Purple Grapes Yarn

I decided to finish off the woolen (attenuated long-draw) started in class on Saturday.

Pictured above, the last of the rolags I had from class.  Shiori prepared them from dyed superwash merino top; it’s sooooooo dreamily soft.  Shiori makes exceptionally lovely, dense, and fluffy rolags.  She calls them “punags”.  (Punis are the dense preparations of cotton for spinning.)  Rolags are so fun and fast to spin, I had to force myself to stop spinning to take this picture before it was gone.

My singles wound onto three bobbins for plying.

The three-ply in progress on my spinning wheel.

This is the skeined yarn, pre-wash.  It’s a lot more twisted than I used to do.  I used to produce a more “balanced” yarn pre-wash.  I had read somewhere that this was something to aim for.  But Judith MacKenzie set me straight on that.  It’s actually better to be over-twisted, since you would lose about twenty percent of that twist in the washing/finishing stage.  Also, the way we handle yarn in knitting can also take twist out of the yarn.  I’ve experienced that before, especially when I’ve frogged a section more than once.  Lastly, it’s better to have more twist to give the yarn more strength if the end product is for weaving.

Still, I overdid the twist here, and will back down a bit in the future.  My theory is, a more “balanced” yarn plus a little extra for the handling during knitting in the pre-finished stage would be more wash-friendly in the final product.  If a lot of fulling, wuzzing, and whacking of the yarn is put into the finishing, I’m guessing that the knitted product would retain more of its pre-wash shape.  Anyway, just a theory.  I’ve only two knitted FO’s at this point, neither using my handspun.

Finished and re-skeined.  My son calls this colourway “purple grapes”.  I have to invest in a small plunger to full the yarn as Judith does.  I did the fulling by agitating the skein by hand in the hot wash, and I’m surprised this didn’t end up felted into a ball.  It’s 135 yards, 2.25 ounces, 23 wpi, superwash merino three-ply.

A closeup.

Judith says that a three-ply yarn should be our default.  Not only that, we should use three bobbins, and not Navajo ply for a better yarn.  I must say that it’s worth the extra work.  The finished yarn has a lovely, rounder shape.  Since it’s a woolen and quite springy, I think it’s better for weft than warp.  I’d spin worsted for warp.

From today’s mail:

I couldn’t resist; it was a bargain, and it came with two dozen cards.  I have an unused set of tablets and a pamplet I bought from Linda Hendrickson something like ten years ago at a Seattle Weavers’ Guild sale.  Now that I’m in the weaving groove, I believe they will see some use soon.


1 July 2008 - Posted by | FOs, Spinning | , , , ,


  1. Love that colorway! Looks absolutely scrumptious. I always admire spinners. I spin (barely!) just enough to be dangerous. 🙂

    That is also a very good book on card weaving. I love my cards, and really like how quickly things weave up. Just jump right in and enjoy! I have a very cool doodad called the Card Weaver’s Surfboard — it allows my card weaving to be portable — no being stuck tied down to a doorknob, etc. Very reasonably priced and very well made, and the people who make it are really nice to deal with.

    Am looking forward to seeing what you create.


    Comment by Jane | 2 July 2008 | Reply

  2. Elizabeth, this yarn is beautiful! Wish I could touch it. I’ve never done card weaving – it looks rather mysterious. Will be fun to see what you do with it.

    Comment by Suzan | 3 July 2008 | Reply

  3. Thank you, thank you for posting such detailed pictures of your Howell loom! I have recently acquired a table top tablet weaving loom and felt like a fish out of water trying to figure out where to start warping. (I categorize myself as a novice weaver and visual learner).

    Comment by Santje | 19 April 2013 | Reply

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