Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And Then There Were Two

A second skein of Romney is spun and plied.  It took me about two weeks to fill two bobbins at my 30 minutes a day practice.  Then I spent an afternoon plying.  Can you tell which was the first skein and which is the second? Here's a hint: the second skein is on the bottom.  If you think it looks a tad bit smaller than the first, well you are right, dear reader.  More lessons were gratefully learned with this skein and they are:
  1. There is a reason that experienced spinners emphasize filling the bobbin evenly.  They are not just being fussy.  Singles on an unevenly or untidily filled bobbin do not come off the bobbin as nicely when one is plying.  Sometimes they even break and the end buries itself in the rest of the yarn on the bobbin.  Deep in the rest of the yarn on the bobbin. 
  2. If the above occurs, do not panic.  Get out all your spinning books and read everything that you can find on this situation, plus maybe a few other diverting bits of information.  Stay focused. Try finding the end by the snagging method, brushing a toothbrush lightly across the fiber on the bobbin.  Then try (as your charming spouse suggests) a piece of duct tape, sticky side out, on the bobbin in hopes it will grab the lost end of the singles.  Both great suggestions.
  3.  If the above suggestions fail, put the bobbin down, have a glass of tea, take a walk.  Then come back to the studio and take a scissors to the bobbin, the theory being that if the end is completely lost, making another will do as well. Theories sometimes work out.
  4.  Indeed this theory does work but there is a price; some of the precious yarn will be sacrificed.  The key is to cut not deeply but well.  Proceed to clip one strand at a time beginning at the spot which has now, after considerable study of the bobbin, been determined to be the most likely vanishing point of that pesky end.  Though frustration and defeat may be gathering like dark clouds on the horizon, do not just chew through all the layers left on the bobbin. A clip here and some winding off, a tie there and then another clip if needed, and so on until finally the bobbin is once again spinning regularly and smoothly on the lazy kate.  Good luck valiant spinner.  Below is the refuse of my experiment/lesson in the importance of being bobbin wise.
I also learned with this skein that you can indeed take out ply after you have over plied, washed, and so set the annoying ply.  I had a very wiry skein on my hands and I was not happy with it compared to skein #1.   So lacking the suggested tools of something called a Woolee winder or weaving bobbins and their winder on which to rewind the skein,  I simply used the ballwinder to make a center pull ball, sat said ball on the floor next to me and, pulling from the center, ran the yarn clockwise (plied originally counter clockwise) through the wheel.  I counted three treadle pumps and let it wind on. Skein and wash again.  It is JUST RIGHT.  Not perfect mind you, but we'll save that for another skein.

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