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I present to you today my longest spinning project ever, as measured in years. Four years and 3 months (sheesh!), not counting the 17 months it took me to get around to measuring the skein and writing up my notes.

2016-09-19_Spinning-red-merino-Tausendschoen

The fiber is merino wool from Tausenschön, a nice vacation souvenir.

The bottom (lumpier and more uneven) skein is what took ages. It is 97 yards (50g) of 2-ply that I spun over the fold on my 18g spindle. I started it in June 2012 on a trip to Oregon. Making this has good memories because I taught my grandmother and uncle and aunt about spinning, and my uncle even had a go at it. The day after that discussion, we went to the woolen mill museum which had spinning machines and looms, so all I showed the day before had context. But I digress… spinning over the fold is what killed this project for me. It was a technique I wanted to try, but I found it fiddly and unpleasant. I worked on this off and on and finally plied the yarn on 9/18/2016 at 15:1 on my Lendrum wheel. I read in the intervening years that merino is typically considered to have too short a staple to spin over the fold, although I know some spinners do so successfully. Perhaps I should have tried with my 35g spindle instead of 18g.

The top skein is 200 yards (90g) of 2-ply that I spun worsted on my 35g Cascade Bay spindle, and that zoomed along much faster from 5/23 to 9/10/2016. At first, I didn’t want to spin with a different technique because I knew it would not be matching yarn, but the thought of 90g more to go decided that one! Plied 9/19/2016 also at 15:1 on my Lendrum wheel.

Have you had success at over the fold with merino?

 

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Whee, washed and dried — properly finished — yarn to show off! I’m happy with my Spinzilla results.

The purple is an unknown I pulled from Mr. MmmYarn’s fiber stash. It’s from Carolina Homespun and feels like it might be BFL. Here it is in its pre-spun streaky glory:

2017-09-24_Spinning_Purple-maybe-BFL_B4

I found it easy to spin thinly and got a gorgeous 3-ply out of it. I’m a little disappointed that I had 66 yards of 2-ply because it means I didn’t do even work in 2 of the plies. Granted, I did the bulk of those plies on the bus and it’s harder to draft evenly when you and your spindle are lurching all over creation as the bus stops and starts, spindle banging on your knees or the seat in front of you, and you have to keep your elbows glued to your sides. You’re supposed to set yourself a challenge during Spinzilla; I didn’t, but in retrospect, I say this counted.

2017-10-09_Spinning_4-ounces-purple-maybe-BFL-during-Spinzilla

Fiber: 4 ounces of unknown purple streaky, feels like BFL, from Carolina Homespun
Spun 9/19-10/8/2017 (2 of the plies from 10/2-10/8 during Spinzilla) on Cascade Bay spindle
Plied 10/9/2017 at 12:1 on Lendrum wheel
Finished yarn is 237 yards of 3-ply and 66 yards of 2-ply

I meant for the 10 ounces of Jacob to end up about the thickness of Cascade 220, but it had so many slubby bits that it wasn’t possible. I left the slubs in as a feature and got a beautiful, squashy, and heavier-than-worsted yarn out of my 4 bobbins:

2017-10-10_Spinning_10-ounces-of-Jacob-during-Spinzilla

Fiber: 10 ounces Jacob from Meridian Jacobs
Color: natural, a blend of dark and light wools
Spun 10/3-10/08/2017 at 15:1 on a Lendrum wheel
Finished yarn is 267 yards of 4-ply (plied at 9:1), 2.4 yards of 3-ply (at 9:1), 56 yards of 2-ply (at 15:1)

As usual, all finished yarn goes into my large sack of handspun, waiting for the day a project speaks to me.

And because you read to the end, you get to see a green-and-purple crab waving its claws in an attempt to ward off being immortalized in a portrait. I had to hang upside down over the edge of a rocky tidepool to get this shot.

2017-08-26_f_MontanaDeOro_crab-portrait

 

This will be boring for anyone who didn’t participate in Spinzilla, but I have to record it for posterity. My total yards spun for the week is 1639.29. It’s more than I thought, but when I estimate how many hours I spent on it, the number seems small.

I spun 2 plies of the purple and 4 plies of the gray Jacob during Spinzilla and plied after the event was over (soooo much easier to count yardage once it’s plied than wrestling with singles) so I can’t count the yards of plying. Here’s the non-glamour photo of the plied yarn, resting on bobbins:

2017-10-10_Spinzilla-singles-plied

Math time!

66.05 yards of 2-ply purple –> 132.1
237.25 yards of 3-ply purple, of which I can count only 2 plies, so 158.16*2 –> 316.32
56.38 yards of 2-ply Jacob –> 112.76
2.41 yards of 3-ply Jacob –> 7.23
267.72 yards of 4-ply Jacob –> 1070.88

See those rather long stretches of 2-ply? Apparently, I spin more evenly when I space it out over weeks and months instead of cramming it into a week. Or perhaps I didn’t split the fiber evenly at the outset.

Spinzilla ends tonight and, to my surprise, I spun up all the fiber I planned to for this event. I finished the 4th Jacob bobbin before heading to the farmers’ market this morning and spent the rest of the day working on the spindle off and on, with a solid 1.75 hours at the Golden Gate Park Band’s final concert of the season.

2017-10-08_Spinzilla-progress

Spinzilla is not over yet: ninety minutes remain, but I am not going to tackle plying tonight. The team captain wants yardage counts by Friday. I dislike messing about with singles on the swift or niddy-noddy so I’ll ply these, then calculate yardage for the 6 singles I spun this week. 1100 yards, maybe?

Clemes & Clemes kindly had a Spinzilla spinning area in their booth at Lambtown today. After I looked at sheep and sheepdogs, wandered the booths, observed Sheep to Shawl (in which my guild’s team placed third, a big hooray for them!) and admired the critters in the petting zoo, it was time to buckle down at the wheel. I finished one of the singles on my spindle while walking around and filled a bobbin at the booth. Not bad for a day’s production, and I half-filled the 4th and final bobbin after I got home. The purple ball in the lower right corner is the finished ply I took off the spindle today.

2017-10-07_Spinzilla-progress

I should be able to finish the wheel spinning in the morning; speaking realistically, I do not think I will finish the next ply on the spindle or that I’ll ply either project before 11:59pm tomorrow.

Gosh, I feel like such a Spinzilla slacker. Other spinners on the Ravelry board have posts such as “two bobbins today” or are already plying. I have merely 2 bobbins full with the third barely started on the wheel and not even half the purple fiber on the spindle. I even skipped vacuuming and ironing this week, spinning instead.

2017-10-06_Spinzilla-progress

Tomorrow, Lambtown!!

A large-ish small spinner in the park made an impression on me over the weekend:

2018-10-01_Urban-spider-blowing-in-the-wind

My first reaction was: seriously? Since when do we have spiders with white legs and black knees and rotund red bodies in an urban park? I mean, I sit on the lawns there! It also had the audacity to spin its web on a pole with a 4-hour parking sign, and it was not ticketed 4 hours later. Talk about parking enforcement having a lax day.

At the end of day 3, I have a half-full spindle of the purple fiber and a full bobbin (1/4 of the gray Jacob) done:

2017-10-04_Spinzilla-progress

bad cell phone photo at night does not show the colors to their advantage

Not bad considering I only spun on the wheel 10 minutes on Monday night due to work obligations and have only spun on the spindle on the bus. Twirling on in the morning…

Well, day 1 went nothing like I had planned. I drop-spindled on the bus both commutes today and got a nice cop going, but only had 10 minutes on the wheel at home (because I am still working… at 9:30pm; am able to post here while a server restarts), long enough to discover the Jacob fiber is slubby so I’ll be producing, eventually, a 4-ply art yarn with that. Progress is hardly worth documenting so I took no photo. Onward into day 2!

I suppose a proper title for this post should be “What I did on my summer vacation” because that’s what the Mmm…¬† Yarn hiatus in summer 2015 was supposed to be — a summer vacation — but I obviously let it go on more than a bit longer. I was a good yarn student in the meantime, churning out projects and yarn. An event seems like a fun way to try to find my voice here again, and the event is Spinzilla.

Spinzilla is a week-long spinning event sponsored by TNNA that starts one minute after midnight tonight, so October 2. I don’t plan to be awake for the kickoff (whirloff?), but if the nightmares that plagued me last week come to visit tonight, and it’s officially Monday, I might just scoot over to the wheel instead of attempting to read to settle my nerves.

This is what I dug up and got ready today:

2017-10-01_Preparing-for-Spinzilla

The gray is 10 ounces of Jacob from Meridian Jacobs, split into fourths, that I want to spin into a 4-ply about the same thickness as Cascade 220 on my Lendrum wheel. The purple is 2/3 of 4 ounces of unknown wool (possibly BFL) that I want to spin into a 3-ply on my Cascade Bay spindle, which I will carry around with me all this week. The first 1/3 of the purple is currently parked on the spindle, fresh singles I just finished this afternoon; that yardage obviously does not count for the Spinzilla total although I will get to count the other 2 plies and the plying if I get all that done this week (which is about as likely as a Mothra attack). I will get that singles off the spindle tonight so it’s bare for the morning.

Pluses are: I took the time to split up my fiber today, and I’ve been practicing spinning on the bus the last 2 weeks and have figured out arm placement so I’m not poking my seatmate. It’s harder when I’m wearing a skirt, no gap to drop the spindle down into, so I did laundry today to ensure a supply of trousers the next 5 days.

Time challenges are: I have to work late tomorrow night on a major software system upgrade, lunch in a restaurant Wednesday (the other days I can spin over lunch in the break room), Scrabble night also on Wednesday (although I can set the iPad on the stool next to me while I spin at the well-oiled wheel between turns), and Lambtown this weekend (I will bring the spindle so I can work while walking around, but I’ll lose on driving time and lose efficiency while being distracted by wool on the hoof and sheepdogs and shopping).

Wish me luck!

Today I accomplished two things.

1) A long walk all the way to the beach, where I watched city dogs cavort with glee in the sand and the waves. The beach had more people than usual but I wouldn’t call it exactly crowded:

2015-01-01_OceanBeach

2) Finished spinning the bundle of Corriedale I started in February 2013:

2015-01-01_Spinning_Corriedale

The singles is going to rest overnight and I’ll wind it into a plying ball tomorrow. Well, that’s the plan at least.

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