Monday, July 24, 2006

Single Life

Back to knitting. After deciding that I wanted to try to only spin singles from the Gratfton Fibers zinnia roving (but not quite knowing how), I posed a question to the knowledgeable folks at Knitter's Review about how to make a single usable for knitting.

I received many great suggestions, including this, the most detailed and helpful and clearly-explained (from "Momma72839"): "In finishing singles that you don't plan to ply, there are a few things you can do that will help with the balance issue. Shock the yarn when you set the twist by alternating it between hot and cold water rinses. Whapping the yarn (literally whapping the hank against a wall or table, then turning it and whapping it again) also helps. Both of these techniques "full" the yarn, making it bloom and fill out, as well as making them hold together better. They also reduce the biasing, because they make the fibers cling to themselves in their new twisted formation and reduce fibers' desire to untwist."

Gratuitous cat picture inserted here to break up text. This is Funny looking at something out the window:

I decided to go ahead and try a little sample. I had some unplied single yarn left over from the Zoo Fleece, so I wound it into a skein, subjected it to alternating hot and cold baths, and then "whapped" it repeatedly against the back porch railing. I must say that "whapping" is a very satisfying process, though my neighbors would think I had lost my mind if they had happened to look out their windows at that moment. There I was, gleefully slapping a skein of wet yarn against the back porch railing, then holding it up and peering at it critically, whapping it some more and then tenderly hanging it up on the pitchback to dry in the sun. Ooooookayyyyy......

So anyway, the yarn was indeed balanced when it dried. For you non-spinners, a single yarn unplied is WILDLY kinky (like me!! wa ha ha ha ha....not); you ply the yarn in the opposite direction it was spun and that kind of cancels out the energy of the spin. Or something science-y like that. It makes the yarn calm and not kinky. That was why I had all the questions about using a single to knit with.

Are you still with me? I knit up a little swatch in Feather and Fan and blocked it. Here it is:

It may be a mother's tender and ignoring-of-flaws love, but I very much like this little swatch's rustic quality. This was one of my first attempts at spinning after I kind of got the hang of it, so it still has a lot of thick and thin going on.

What I decided was that as long as the yarn wasn't kinking up and biasing on itself, I'm committed to my single path.

Now I must get up the nerve to start actually spinning that gorgeous stuff.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that's great that you found an easy way to make singles useful. This is not to say I never want to TRY and not overspin my singles so I can use them as is, but having a way to make them more balanced helps those of us who want to use singles without having to wait forever to be a perfect spinner!

The feather and fan scarf is gorgeous. I will keep an eye on your blog and I can't wait to see what you make of the Grafton fibers. :)

10:37 AM  
Blogger diana said...

Thank you, Tamarabean! Stay tuned - I'm getting my nerve up!

6:19 PM  
Blogger Marfa's Mewsings said...

Divine One,
Wowie zowie, honey, that scarf is gorgeous.
You continue to inspire & motivate me.
Am so glad you are blogging as I love reading about what you are doing - especially since I am unable to make it into the shop as often & thus, hear about you in person ^..^

6:58 PM  

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