This month was a special month since it celebrated Felicia’s newest family addition, Nina Eden, as well as our official start to Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. In our neck of the woods in Southern British Columbia, the weather has been sunny and hot.
It’s been unusually warm this year and we have spent all of our time at one of the 5 parks within walking distance of our home. A wonderful aspect of spending all our time at parks is that the kids kind of just look after themselves through play and exploration. A drawback? I can’t spin on any of my wheels. While the Sidekick is incredibly portable, it’s not portable enough to take on the stroller to the park! The answer has been spindle spinning.
I spun all of this month’s singles on my TurtleMade Turkish spindles at the park. The kids thought that “Mommy doing work” at the park was pretty fun. Near our home, there is a sand park with diggers that the kids have completely fallen in love with now that they are slightly older and stronger, thus being able to work the ‘digger’ itself. We have spent countless afternoons, and many mornings, passing the time and playing at this particular park. I bring sunscreen, water and snacks, and of course, my spindle. This will most certainly not be the last spindle-spun fibre club this year … I’m seeing many more months spun in this way this summer!
Because I spun this month’s club on spindles, following Felicia’s instructions meant I improvised slightly. The results are the same, but the process to complete the yarn differed. Firstly, I striped the braid 8 times as recommended. From there, I pre-drafted each strip and broke them into smaller lengths to more easily manage the fibre, making a note of the colours to keep everything in sequence. My spindles seemed to ‘fill up’ around 30 grams, so in the end, I had three ‘turtles’ to ply for the finished yarn.
I wanted to show you the singles spun on my spindles before winding them each into a centre-pull ball to ply from. On Instagram, there are many who wind their Turkish spindles into beautiful layered turtles but due to the time constraints, I wound mine
at random while maintaining the ‘over two, under one’ sequence. A very interesting blog post about winding Turkish spindles can be found here – I encourage you to have a look!
After finishing my singles, which took 4 days to complete, I made each into a centre-pull ball on my ball winder. Instead of trying to ply from that, though, I took the 2 ends of the centre-pull ball (one from the inside, one from the outside) and wound 3 plying balls. This keeps the singles organized and under tension without creating the mess of a centre-pull ball when plying on a spindle! There are only so many things one’s hands can do all at once! To ply, I used my Snyder Spindles Steampunk, which is a lovely 35 gram spindle that holds 100 grams of fibre nicely. And it looks just plain cool loaded up with fibre!
The finished yarn is roughly 360 yards, which completely exceeded my expectations for this yarn (although plying took another 4 days so I was starting to assume more yardage). In the past, I have struggled to keep BFL from becoming ‘ropey’ and ‘wirey’, both of which come from the fibre being over-spun (too much twist). BFL is my most favourite wool to knit with but it has been my least favourite to spin until now. This BFL + Silk blend has left me loving the light, lofty and beautifully balanced yarn that came from the spindles. As well, I think I spun finer using my spindles then I would have achieved on my spinning wheel while at the same time maintaining the loftiness in the resulting yarn. There is an interesting interplay between the weight of the spindle pulling on the singles as one spins and the resulting bouncy yarn that ‘springs back’ due to crimp and elasticity of the wool after washing that I am looking forward to exploring more in the future.
While barber-poling is not my favourite result in handspun yarn and I really love the blending that a traditional 3-ply will give me, these analogous colours this month has left me wanting more! The character of the yarn in it’s balanced state (I would have liked a little bit more twist in the yarn prior to finishing) has left me dreaming about something in lace, a perfect pairing with the traditional 2-ply. Initially, I thought about sending this through my wheel to tighten up the twist for socks but the more I think about it, the more I love the idea of another Multnomah shawl … hmmm …
Have you delved into April’s club yet? How are you spinning it? Please share over on the Ravelry group or Instagram, and tag your projects with #sgyclub and #sweetgeorgiayarns.
Until next month – Happy spinning!