81) And so to plying

The Titania batts:

Yesterday, I realised that I'd managed to fill my lovely Bosworth with Titania-singles to the point where it isn't really behaving itself any more.  (Of course, like a good blogger, I forgot to photograph it).  My original plan had been to spin all the singles, sliding the cops off onto storage devices, then to wind plying balls like I did for the last of the tussah silk and ply.  But this project has sort of migrated itself to work, where we have no spindle-kates, no handy pieces of cop-storage material, nothing.  And I wanted to spin.

So I wound a plying bracelet, reasoning, in the finest traditions of self-justification, that the whole point of this exercise is to find out how the batts work when spinning lace.  Therefore, I should get this lot plied as soon as possible, so I can knit a wee sample, yes?

And I realised that its a very long time since I spun much wool on a drop-spindle.

For the last few years, it's all been silk – except when it's been cotton.  Silk and cotton are both really, really twist-hungry, so I've learned to use a thigh roll to start the spindle.  Rolling the spindle shaft down your thigh gives a much faster spin than flicking it with your fingers.  This is definitely an advantage when trying to fill up silk or cotton singles with twist, but the downside is that wool doesn't need anything like as much twist.  Too much, and it's going to get wiry and scratchy on you – and, ultimately, break.

I can now get a spindle spinning faster than my fingers can draft wool to keep up, and as a result, I've had a *heck* of a time trying not to overspin this wool.

(Close up of the singles – see the sparkly bits??)

You can see how active the twist is, even after sitting on the spindle for a week or so, in these photos.  Every time the tension comes off the singles, they try to kink up and loop back on themselves.  Those bits in the second photo where loose singles have plied back on themselves are really quite tightly twisted, which indicates how much energy is squirreling around in there.

Looks like I'm headed for quite a high-twist laceweight here, then.

Fiber Friday!

Announcing a brand-new Yarnscape tradition, and the launch of another product line: hand-carded batts, perfect for spinners and felters!

This is just a mini shop update, with four batts in each of two ‘flavours’.  First up is Rose Rage (a gradient batt, moving  from pale to dark pink).  This one’s pure merino, no sparkle:

Then we have Titania, a blend of purples with holographic silver Angelina (moderate sparkle):

I’m selling these as one-ounce batts.  This is a bit of an experiment, because Etsy charges per item listed.  I could quarter my listing costs by advertising a single four-ounce lot, but this is more flexible, and should appeal much more to felters and other low-volume batt buyers.  I hope!

Besides, you can get a four-foot long, eight inch wide lace scarf out of less than an ounce of fibre.  I’ve done it.

All About the Labels

I finally finished dyeing and re-winding all my yarns and fibres for Textiles In Focus over the weekend, so now it’s all about the labelling:


I’m really, really pleased with how my labels have turned out.  Somehow, packaging up and labelling everything makes it feel as if it’s all coming together, and transforms all these ‘bits and pieces’ that I’ve been staring at over the last two months into ‘real products’.  It’s completely magic!

I’m not normally a ‘sparkly’ person, but I’m *so* in love with my sparkly batts:

Producing these is just so much fun!  Oh – and can you stand the cute??

These are little 3 g bundles of silk hankies.  Three grams of silk can go a seriously long way, in case you were wondering…