Friday, June 29, 2012

Finished Object Friday: Starling Yarn

I don’t really consider yarn to be a “finished object”—more of a start to a project than the finish, but since I spent last night glued to the spinning wheel instead of seaming up the Jordan top, I’m sneaking yarn into FO Friday. 

It started with some pretty fiber and a plan.

Fiber:  Polwarth/Silk from Woolgatherings
Color:  Starling, dyed for Completely Twisted Spinners SAL

I admire the heck out of people that are carefree with their crafting.  I’ve known people who sit down with needles and some yarn, cast on however many stitches they feel like and let the project develop from there.  My reaction to these people:  You’re doing WHAT?!?!  But HOW? I. DON’T. UNDERSTAND. YOU.  Then I go back to the safety of my pattern and try to put the disturbing episode out of my head. 

I am a little less uptight with my spinning.  I’ve definitely been known to sit down at my wheel and just see what happens.  The problem is that when I do this, the result is usually yarn I have no freakin’ clue what to do with, and waste bothers me just about as much as the idea of aimless knitting.  You can imagine my delight that one of the main themes in both spinning classes I took in May was to have a plan for your fiber.  Plan, sample, execute.  Music to my ears--the planner in me rejoiced!  When my 8 oz of SAL fiber arrived a few weeks ago, I sat and thought and planned. 

First thing I needed to decide was what to make with the finished yarn.  Despite my lack of shawl enthusiasm as of late, I saw this fiber as a shawl.  A semi-circle shawl to be exact.  Yup, this was going to be Citron.  But a big Citron, not the little scarf/shawlette in the pictures.  I decided I wanted the colors to remain distinct instead of getting all mixey-mixey when plied, but I also was a little sick of chain plying, which is the easiest way to keep the colors separate.  In my color spinning class we had practiced how keep colors lined up in 2 ply yarns, and so I settled on giving this a try for real. 

For the first braid, I folded the length of fiber to make sure the colors lined up and split it in half—not down the middle or lengthwise, just broke the length of fiber into 2 pieces.  This meant there would be fewer color changes and the color runs would be long. I spun each chunk in the same color order and then set to plying.

Pretty, matchy bobbins!

Initially the colors lined up perfectly, but I inevitably reached places where my spinning had been inconsistent and one bobbin would have more of a certain color.  When this happened, I broke that single, and wound off the mismatched color until the bobbin was back on track.  There may have been a large handful of wasted singles before I was done.

Poor discarded scraps

All in all though, not too bad, and the result was about 390 yards of pretty fingering weight yarn, exactly as I pictured it.

I had initially planned to do the second braid the same way, but then I started thinking that the long color runs might make rather thick stripes in the beginning of a semi-circle shawl when there were only a small number of stitches per row.  I thought maybe I could make the next skein with shorter color runs and use it for the beginning of the shawl, switching to the first skein when I got to the longer rows. 

So for braid 2, I split the fiber lengthwise and then repeated the same procedure of spinning the colors in order and editing out mismatched colors when I plied. 

The finished skeins look remarkably similar but the color runs on one should be shorter.  I just finished winding up that skein (had to do it before I got them mixed up) and I'm off to hunt up needles and start on Citron.  I'm not sure whether this will work out or not but am certainly curious to find out.

Visit Tami's for more finished objects--hopefully more than just yarn!


  1. Your spinning looks amazing! I love those colors.

  2. fan-freaking-tastic. awesome spinny skillz, i could not imagine even trying that.

    Yarn is definitely worthy of an FO post - looking forward to seeing that citron!!

  3. Wow that is awesome!