Saturday, April 14, 2007

A Goal

I'm spinning up this experimental batch of wonderful heathered grey alpaca fiber and I've come to realize some things.
First and foremost: If my handspun yarn was homemade bread, I'd be eating bricks. Beyond that, I'm learning:
  1. The more fiber you have on hand, the more willing you are to experiment with it

  2. The more fiber you have on hand the more ruthless you can be about tossing out bits that are trash, leaving you with "cream."

  3. I want to learn to spin a loftier and softer yarn.

To the end of #3, I started doing an analysis of my favorite commercial yarns. An easy, familiar one to pick on is Knit Picks stuff.

  1. It is four ply

  2. Each skein is 50 grams (that's about 1.8 ounces)

  3. Different fiber contents yield different yardages... for example: Merino Style (100% Merino Wool) is 123 yards per skein. Gloss, made of 70% Merino and 30% Silk, on the other hand, is 220 yards per skein. While Wool of the Andes (100% Peruvian Wool) is 110 yards per skein.

Right now my handspinning is using 3 to 6 ounces for 100 yards. Talk about chunks! My skeins are like bricks! And the yarn is NOT as soft as I would like. So I have to do better.

So,I pick apart these various commercial yarns (unraveling the individual plies) and I find that each individual ply is actually pretty fine. Each ply individually is also pretty dense and it appears the fibers are carded, not combed. Each ply is a bit smaller in diameter than I can currently spin on the wheel (I'm getting better but have a way to go.

I will eventually get there because I can see that I am improving. I can spin that finely on a spindle, so I will get there on the wheel if I keep working at it.

It would be nice to get a lot more yarn out of a lot less fiber.

More so, it will be very nice to get lovely, soft, lofty yarn.

I'm glad I have a lot to practice on.

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